Dental, alveolar and postalveolar lateral approximants

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For consonants followed by superscript ˡ, see Lateral release (phonetics).
Alveolar lateral approximant
l
IPA number 155
Encoding
Entity (decimal) l
Unicode (hex) U+006C
X-SAMPA l
Kirshenbaum l
Braille ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123)
Sound
Postalveolar lateral approximant
Dental lateral approximant

The alveolar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is l, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.

As a sonorant, lateral approximants are nearly always voiced. Voiceless lateral approximants, /l̥/ are common in Sino-Tibetan languages, but uncommon elsewhere. In such cases, voicing typically starts about halfway through the hold of the consonant. No language is known to contrast such a sound with a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ].

In a number of languages, including most varieties of English, the phoneme /l/ becomes velarized in certain contexts, a sound often called "dark l". Some languages, like many North American dialects of English, may not have a "clear" /l/ at all.

Features[edit]

Features of the voiced 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.
  • There are four specific variants of [l]:
    • Dental, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the upper teeth, termed respectively apical and laminal.
    • Denti-alveolar, which means it is articulated with the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, and the tip of the tongue behind upper teeth.
    • 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.
    • Postalveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • 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.

Occurrence[edit]

Languages may have clear apical or laminal alveolars (such as Bulgarian, which has both), laminal denti-alveolars (such as French), or true dentals, which are uncommon. However, a true dental generally occurs allophonically before /θ/ in languages that have it, as in English health.

Dental or denti-alveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Gulf[1]  ? [l̪eːn] 'when' Laminal denti-alveolar.
Hungarian[2] elem [ˈɛl̪ɛm] 'battery' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Hungarian phonology
Italian[3][4][5] molto [ˈmol̪ːt̪o] 'much, a lot' Laminal denti-alveolar. Allophone of /l/ before /t, d, s, z, t͡s, d͡z/.[3][4][5] See Italian phonology
Macedonian[6] лево [l̪e̞vo̞] 'left' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Macedonian phonology
Mapudungun[7] afkeṉ [l̪ɐ̝fkën̪] 'sea, lake' Interdental.[7]
Norwegian Many dialects[8] liv [l̪iːʋ] 'life' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Norwegian phonology
Swedish Central Standard[9] allt [äl̪t̪] 'everything' Laminal denti-alveolar. See Swedish phonology
Tamil[10] புலி [pul̪i] 'tiger' See Tamil phonology
Uzbek[11] [example needed] Laminal denti-alveolar. Velarized between a non-front rounded vowel and a consonant or juncture phoneme.[11]
Vietnamese Hanoi[12] lửa [l̪ɨə˧˩˧] 'fire' See Vietnamese phonology

Alveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic Standard[13] لا [laː] 'no' See Arabic phonology
Armenian Eastern[14] լուսին About this sound [lusin]  'moon'
Catalan[15][16] tela [ˈt̪ɛlə] 'fabric' Apical 'front alveolar'.[15][16] May also be velarized.[17] See Catalan phonology
English Most speakers let [lɛt] 'let' See English phonology
New York[18] Varies between apical and laminal, with the latter being predominant.[18]
Italian[3][19][20] letto [ˈlɛt̪ːo] 'bed' Apical.[4] See Italian phonology
Kashubian[21] [example needed]
Kyrgyz[22] көпөлөк [køpøˈløk] 'butterfly' Velarized in back vowel contexts
Mapudungun[7] elun [ëˈlʊn] 'to give'
Polish[23] pole About this sound [ˈpɔlɛ]  'field' Contrasts with /ɫ/ for a small number of speakers; when it does, it is always palatalized [lʲ]. See Polish phonology
Romanian[24] alună [äˈlun̪ə] 'hazelnut' Apical. See Romanian phonology
Slovak[25] mĺkvy About this sound [ˈml̩ːkʋi]  'silent' Syllabic form can be long or short
Slovene[26] letalo [lɛˈt̪àːlɔ] 'airplane'
Spanish[27] hablar [äˈβ̞läɾ] 'to speak' See Spanish phonology
Ukrainian[28] обличчя [oˈblɪt͡ʃːɐ] 'face' Contrasts with palatalized form. See Ukrainian phonology

Postalveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Igbo Standard[29] lì [l̠ì] 'bury'
Italian[4] il cervo [il̠ʲ ˈt͡ʃɛrvo] 'the deer' Palatalized laminal; allophone of /l/ before /ʃ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/.[4] See Italian phonology
Turkish[30][31] lale About this sound [l̠ʲäːˈl̠ʲɛ]  'tulip' Palatalized; contrasts with a velarized dental lateral [ɫ̪].[30][31] See Turkish phonology

Variable[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Faroese[32] linur [ˈliːnʊɹ] 'soft' Varies between dental and alveolar in initial position, whereas the postvocalic /l/ may be postalveolar, especially after back vowels.[32] See Faroese phonology
French[33] il [il] 'he' Varies between laminal denti-alveolar and apical alveolar, with the latter being predominant.[33] See French phonology
German Standard[34] Liebe [ˈliːbə] 'love' Varies between laminal denti-alveolar, laminal alveolar and apical alveolar.[34] See Standard German phonology
Portuguese Most Brazilian dialects[35][36] lero-lero [ˈlɛɾu ˈlɛɾu] 'runaround'[37] Dental to sometimes alveolar, always co-articulated in other dialects.[38] See Portuguese phonology

Velarized alveolar lateral approximant [edit]

Dark L
ɫ
IPA number 209
Encoding
Entity (decimal) l​ˠ
Unicode (hex) U+006C U+02E0
X-SAMPA 5 or l_G or l_?\
Kirshenbaum l<vzd>
Sound

The velarized alveolar lateral approximant (dark l) is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. It is an alveolar, denti-alveolar, or dental lateral approximant, with a secondary articulation of velarization or pharyngealization. The regular symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represent this sound are (for a velarized lateral) and (for a pharyngealized lateral), though the dedicated letter ɫ, which covers both velarization and pharyngealization, is perhaps more common. If the sound is dental or denti-alveolar, one could use a dental diacritic to indicate so: l̪ˠ, l̪ˤ, ɫ̪.

Velarization and pharyngealization are generally associated with more dental articulations of coronal consonants so dark l tends to be dental or denti-alveolar while clear l tends to be retracted to an alveolar position.[39]

Features[edit]

Features of the dark l:

Occurrence[edit]

Dental or denti-alveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Belarusian[40] Беларусь [bʲɛɫ̪äˈrus̪ʲ] 'Belarus' Laminal denti-alveolar. Contrasts with palatalized form. See Belarusian phonology
Catalan[17][41] altres [ˈaɫ̪t̪ɾəs̺] 'others' Laminal denti-alveolar. Allophone of /l/ before /t d/.[41] See Catalan phonology
Icelandic[42] sigldi [s̺ɪɫ̪t̪ɪ] 'sailed' Laminal denti-alveolar; rare. See Icelandic phonology
Lithuanian[43] labas [ˈɫ̪äːbɐs̪] 'hi' Laminal denti-alveolar. Contrasts with [lʲ]
Macedonian[44] лук
luk
[ɫ̪uk] 'garlic' Laminal denti-alveolar. Present only before back vowels (/a o u/) and syllable-finally. See Macedonian phonology
Norwegian Southeastern[43] tale [ˈt̪ʰɑ̈ːɫ̪ə] 'speech, to speak' Laminal denti-alveolar. Allophone of /l/ after /ɑ ɑː ɔ oː/. See Norwegian phonology
Polish Eastern dialects[23] łapa [ˈɫ̪äpä] 'paw' Laminal denti-alveolar. Corresponds to /w/ in standard Polish. See Polish phonology
Russian[45] малый [ˈmɑ̟ɫ̪ɨ̞j] 'small' Pharyngealized laminal denti-alveolar. See Russian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[46] Mallaig [ˈmäʊɫ̪ækʲ] 'Mallaig' See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Turkish[30][31] lala [ɫ̪äˈɫ̪ä] 'servant' Laminal denti-alveolar.[31] Contrasts with a palatalized postalveolar lateral [].[30][31] See Turkish phonology

Alveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Afrikaans Standard[47][48] tafel [ˈtɑːfəɫ] 'table' Velarized in all positions, especially non-prevocalically.[47][48] See Afrikaans phonology
Arabic Standard[49] الله ʼAllah [ʔɑˈɫːɑːh] 'God' Also transcribed as . Many accents and dialects lack the sound and instead pronounce [l]. See Arabic phonology
Catalan[17] Eastern dialects cel·la [ˈsɛɫːə] 'cell' Apical. Can be always dark in many dialects. See Catalan phonology
Western dialects alt [aɫ(t)] 'tall'
Dutch[50][51][52] bal [bɑɫ] 'ball' Postvocalic allophone of /l/. Pharyngealised. Can be always dark in some Netherlandic dialects. See Dutch phonology
English[53] Australian feel About this sound  [fiːɫ]  'feel' Most often apical; can be always dark in North America, Australia and New Zealand. See English phonology
Canadian
Dublin
General American
New Zealand
Received Pronunciation
South African
Scottish loch [ɫɔx] 'loch' Can be always dark except in some borrowings from Scottish Gaelic
Greek Northern dialects[54] μπάλα lla [ˈbaɫa] 'ball' Allophone of /l/ before /a o u/. See Modern Greek phonology
Romanian Bessarabian dialect[55] cal [kaɫ] 'horse' Corresponds to non-velarized l[in which environments?] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Serbo-Croatian[56] лак / lak [ɫâ̠k] 'easy' Apical; may be syllabic; contrasts with /ʎ/. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Uzbek[11] [example needed] Apical; between a non-front rounded vowel and a consonant or juncture phoneme. Non-velarized denti-alveolar elsewhere.[11]

Variable [edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Portuguese European[57] mil [miɫ̪] 'thousand' When [lˠ ~ lʶ ~ lˤ ~ lˀ],[58] most often dental. Coda is now vocalized to [ ~ ʊ̯] in most of Brazil (as in rural parts of Alto Minho and Madeira).[59] Stigmatized realizations such as [ɾ ~ ɽ ~ ɻ], the /ʁ/ range, [j] and even [∅] (zero) are some other coda allophones typical of Brazil.[60] Can be always dental and always dark (especially before back/rounded and close/unrounded vowels) in most dialects. See Portuguese phonology
Most dialects[61] Lituânia About this sound [ɫ̪it̪uˈɐ̃ɲ̟ɐ]  'Lithuania'
Older and conservative Brazilian[62][63][64][65] álcool [ˈäɫ̪ko̞ɫ̪] 'alcohol, ethanol'

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Qafisheh (1977), pp. 2, 14.
  2. ^ Siptár & Törkenczy (2000:75–76)
  3. ^ a b c Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)
  4. ^ a b c d e Canepari (1992:89)
  5. ^ a b Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005:133)
  6. ^ Lunt (1952:1)
  7. ^ a b c Sadowsky et al. (2013:88–89)
  8. ^ Vanvik (1979:36)
  9. ^ Engstrand (2004:167)
  10. ^ Keane (2004:111)
  11. ^ a b c d Sjoberg (1963:13)
  12. ^ Thompson (1959:458–461)
  13. ^ Thelwall (1990:38)
  14. ^ Dum-Tragut (2009:20)
  15. ^ a b Wheeler (2005:10–11)
  16. ^ a b "Voiced Alveolar Lateral - Central | Els Sons del Català". 
    "Voiced Alveolar Lateral - Nord Occidental | Els Sons del Català". 
  17. ^ a b c Recasens & Espinosa (2005:1 and 20)
  18. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 515.
  19. ^ Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005:132)
  20. ^ Canepari (1992:88–89)
  21. ^ http://www.rastko.net/rastko-ka/content/view/227/26/
  22. ^ Kara (2003:11)
  23. ^ a b Rocławski (1976:130)
  24. ^ Chițoran (2001:10)
  25. ^ Hanulíková & Hamann (2010:374)
  26. ^ Pretnar & Tokarz (1980:21)
  27. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:255)
  28. ^ Danyenko & Vakulenko (1995:10)
  29. ^ Ikekeonwu (1999:108)
  30. ^ a b c d Zimmer & Orgun (1999:154–155)
  31. ^ a b c d e Göksel & Kerslake (2005:8)
  32. ^ a b Árnason (2011), p. 115.
  33. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 192.
  34. ^ a b Mangold (2005), p. 49.
  35. ^ Depalatalization and consequential iotization in the speech of Fortaleza. Page 2. (Portuguese)
  36. ^ Barbosa & Albano (2004:229)
  37. ^ Runaround generator
  38. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:92)
  39. ^ a b Recasens & Espinosa (2005:4)
  40. ^ Padluzhny (1989:50–51)
  41. ^ a b Rafel (1999:14)
  42. ^ Scholten (2000:22)
  43. ^ a b Mathiassen (1996:23)
  44. ^ Lunt (1952:11–12)
  45. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:168)
  46. ^ Ó Dochartaigh (1997)
  47. ^ a b Donaldson (1993), p. 17.
  48. ^ a b Lass (1987), p. 117.
  49. ^ Watson (2002:16)
  50. ^ Verhoeven (2005:245)
  51. ^ Booij, Geert. 1999. The Phonology of Dutch. P.8
  52. ^ http://npu.edu.ua/!e-book/book/djvu/A/iif_kgpm_Collins_Phonetics_of_English_and_Dutch_pdf.pdf
  53. ^ Roca & Johnson (1999:73)
  54. ^ Northern Greek Dialects Portal for the Greek Language
  55. ^ Pop (1938), p. 30.
  56. ^ Gick et al. (2006:?)
  57. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995:93)
  58. ^ "Um caso de português tonal no Brasil?" – Centro de Comunicação e Expressão – Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Portuguese). Page 52.
  59. ^ MELO, Gladstone Chaves de. "A língua do Brasil". 4. Ed. Melhorada e aum., Rio de Janeiro: Padrão, 1981
  60. ^ Português do sul do Brasil – variação fonológica Leda Bisol and Gisela Collischonn. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, 2009. Pages 153–156.
  61. ^ (Italian) Accenti romanze: Portogallo e Brasile (portoghese) – The influence of foreign accents on Italian language acquisition
  62. ^ (Portuguese) The process of Norm change for the good pronunciation of the Portuguese language in chant and dramatics in Brazil during 1938, 1858 and 2007 Page 36.
  63. ^ TEYSSIER, Paul. "História da Língua Portuguesa", Lisboa: Livraria Sá da Costa, pp. 81-83.
  64. ^ Bisol (2005:211)
  65. ^ "Um caso de português tonal no Brasil?" – Centro de Comunicação e Expressão – Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Portuguese). Page 49.

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