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Barred lambda

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Capital letter barred lambda
Small letter barred lambda
Cased forms of the barred lambda. The capital is not supported by Unicode.

The barred lambda, ƛ (U+019B ƛ LATIN SMALL LETTER LAMBDA WITH STROKE), is a modified letter of the Greek alphabet. It is used in Americanist phonetic notation, where it is also known as running man,[1] to transcribe [t͡ɬ]. In physics, it is used to represent the angular wavelength, i.e. the wavelength (λ) divided by 2π (τ), which corresponds to the length taken up by one radian of the wave.

It was first used in a phonetics context in American Anthropologist in 1934:

λ for [dl] has been used in Eskimo by Jenness ... ƛ for [] is an innovation formed from λ as ł from l.[2]

It is also used for the affricate [t͡ɬ] in transcribing the Sahaptin language, e.g., iƛúpna ‘he jumped’, and it is commonly used for the same purpose in several languages of the Caucasus. In addition, its counterpart with a combining comma above right (U+0315), ƛ̕, is used for many of the Salish languages, such as Klallam, for an ejective lateral affricate.


  1. ^ [1] (strictly speaking, this refers to the glottalized version, [t͡ɬʼ])
  2. ^ Herzog, George; Newman, Stanley S.; Sapir, Edward; Swadesh, Mary Haas; Swadesh, Morris; Voegelin, Charles F. (Oct–Dec 1934). "Some orthographic recommendations". American Anthropologist. 36 (4): 629–631. doi:10.1525/aa.1934.36.4.02a00300.