Voiceless alveolar lateral approximant

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Voiceless alveolar lateral approximant
IPA number 155 402A


Features of the voiceless alveolar lateral approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
  • Its place of articulation is alveolar, post-alveolar or dental, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, behind the alveolar ridge or behind upper front teeth, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Moksha калхне [ˈkal̥nʲæ] 'these fishes' Contrasts with /l/: калня [ˈkalnʲæ] 'little fish'. It has the palatalized counterpart /l̥ʲ/: кальхне [ˈkal̥ʲnʲæ] "these willows", but кальня [ˈkalʲnʲæ] "little rod"
Tibetan ལྷ [l̥a] 'deity' Contrasts voiceless and voiced lateral approximants
Ukrainian[1] смисл [s̪mɨs̪l̥] 'sense' Word-final allophone of /l/ after voiceless consonants.[1] See Ukrainian phonology

See also[edit]