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There are four attested or claimed lateral flaps in the world's languages:
- The alveolar lateral flap [ɺ] is quite common.
- A retroflex lateral flap [ɭ̆] is found throughout South Asia, from Pashtun to Oriya, in the Iwaidjan languages of Australia, and sporadically elsewhere.
- A palatal lateral flap [ʎ̆] has been described from Iwaidja, but may be a palatalized alveolar flap.
- A velar lateral flap [ʟ̆] occurs allophonically in Melpa and a few other languages of New Guinea.
Features of lateral flap:
- Its manner of articulation is tap or flap, which means it is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator (usually the tongue) is thrown against another.
- 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.
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