l sound /l/
How to pronounce the l sound
There are two l sound formations (also known as allophones of the l sound) a light l, and a velar (or dark) l, represented by the IPA symbol /ɫ/. The following is a description for the light l; hereafter simply referred to as the l sound.
To create the l sound, the tip of the tongue is placed against the middle of the tooth ridge. The sound is created when air travels alongside the tip of the tongue, between the front of the tongue and the side teeth.
l sound allophones
Advanced ESL/ELL pronunciation students should be aware that there is an allophone (called either a velar l or dark l) of the l sound as described above. A velar l does not necessarily use the tip of the tongue for articulation.
Common l sound spellings
: -le spelling
When a word ends in the letters le, the letter e is usually silent. This spelling is often used for a syllabic l sound (see below).
The l sound in suffixes
: -ally suffix
The -ally is often reduced to a single syllable in fast speech /li/. Thus, the word finally /fɑɪn li/ will usually be pronounced as two syllables. If the word is being stressed within a sentence, the -ally suffix may begin with schwa /ə/ adding a syllable to the word /fɑɪn ə li/.
Non-phonetic l sound words
The syllabic l
In unstressed syllables, the l sound may become syllabic, meaning the syllable may have no discernible vowel sound. These words usually include a vowel in the spelling, even though that vowel is not pronounced (examples include the final syllable of the words circle and normal).
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Pronunciation Pages 2
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