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The voiceless alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar fricatives is ⟨ɬ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ⟨K⟩. The letter ⟨ɬ⟩ is called "belted l" and should not be confused with "l with tilde", ⟨ɫ⟩, which transcribes a different sound, the velarized alveolar lateral approximant. It should also be distinguished from a voiceless alveolar lateral approximant, although the fricative is sometimes incorrectly described as a "voiceless l", a description fitting only of the approximant.
Features of the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative:
- Its manner of articulation is fricative, which means it is produced by constricting air flow through a narrow channel at the place of articulation, causing turbulence.
- Its place of articulation is alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, 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.
Although the sound is rare among European languages outside the Caucasus (being found notably in Welsh, where it is written ⟨ll⟩), it is fairly common among Native American languages such as Navajo and Caucasian languages such as Avar. It is also found in African languages like Zulu, Asian languages like Chukchi and Taishanese, and several Formosan languages and a number of dialects in Taiwan. Both of J.R.R. Tolkien's Welsh-inspired artificial languages, Sindarin and early Quenya, have this sound as well.
Semitic languages 
The sound is conjectured as a phoneme for Proto-Semitic, usually transcribed as ś; it has evolved into Arabic [ʃ], Hebrew, [s]:
Amongst Semitic languages, the sound still exists in contemporary Soqotri and Mehri. In Ge'ez, it is written with the letter Śawt.
See also 
- ^ Ladefoged, Peter (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 203. ISBN 0-631-19815-6.
- ^ Laver, John (1994). Principles of Phonetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 257–258. ISBN 0-521-45655-X.
- ^ Howe, Darin (2003). Segmental Phonology. University of Calgary. p. 22.
External links