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Voiced dental and alveolar lateral fricatives

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Voiced alveolar lateral fricative
IPA Number149
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɮ
Unicode (hex)U+026E
Braille⠇ (braille pattern dots-123)⠐ (braille pattern dots-5)⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346)

The voiced alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiced dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral fricatives is ⟨ɮ⟩ (sometimes referred to as lezh), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is K\.


Features of the voiced alveolar lateral fricative:


Dental or denti-alveolar[edit]

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Amis Kangko accent Interdental [ɮ̪͆]


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe къалэ [qaːɮa] 'town' Can also be pronounced as [l]
Arabic Classical Arabic الأَرضِ [lʔarɮˤi] 'the earth'
Bura[1] [example needed] Contrasts with [ɬ] and [ʎ̝̊].[1]
English South African ibandla [iˈbaːnɮa] 'meeting of a Nguni chief or community' Only found in Zulu loan words in South African English.
Kabardian блы [bɮə] 'seven' Can also be pronounced as [l]
Ket олын [ɔɮɨn] 'nose' Can also be pronounced as [l]
Moloko[2] zlan [ɮàŋ] 'start, begin' Contrasts with [ɬ], [l] and [ʒ]
Mongolian монгол [mɔɴɢɔ̆ɮ] 'Mongol' Sometimes realized as [ɬ]
Sassarese caldhu [ˈkaɮdu] 'hot'
Tera[3] dlepti [ɮè̞pti] 'planting' Contrasts with both [ɬ] and [l]
Zulu[4] ukudla [úɠù:ɮá] 'to eat' Contrasts with both [ɬ] and [l]; realized as [] after nasals

In addition, a pharyngealized voiced alveolar lateral fricative [ɮˤ] is reconstructed to be the ancient Classical Arabic pronunciation of Ḍād; the letter is now pronounced in Modern Standard Arabic as a pharyngealized voiced coronal stop, as alveolar [] or denti-alveolar [d̪ˤ].

Voiced lateral-median fricative[edit]

Voiced alveolar lateral–median fricative
Voiceless dental lateral–median fricative

The voiced alveolar non-sibilant fricative (also known as a "lisp" fricative) is a consonantal sound. Consonants is pronounced with simultaneous lateral and central airflow.



Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Arabic[5][6][7] Rijal Almaʽa ضبع [ðˡˤabʕ] 'hyena'
Mehri[8] ذوفر [ðˡˤoːfar] 'plait'

Related characters[edit]

There are several Unicode characters based on lezh (ɮ):

  • U+1079E 𐞞 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL LEZH is a superscript IPA letter[9]
  • U+1079F 𐞟 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL LEZH WITH RETROFLEX HOOK is a superscript IPA letter[9]
  • U+1DF05 𝼅 LATIN SMALL LETTER LEZH WITH RETROFLEX HOOK is an extension to IPA for disordered speech (extIPA)[9][10]


Former IPA symbol for the voiced alveolar lateral fricative

In 1938, a symbol shaped similarly to heng⟩ was approved as the official IPA symbol for the voiced alveolar lateral fricative, replacing ⟨ɮ⟩. It was suggested at the same time, however, that a compromise shaped like something between the two may also be used at the author's discretion. It was this compromise version that was included in the 1949 Principles of the International Phonetic Association and the subsequent IPA charts, until it was replaced again by ⟨ɮ⟩ at the 1989 Kiel Convention.[11] Despite the Association's prescription, ⟨ɮ⟩ is nonetheless seen in literature from the 1960s to the 1980s.[12][13][14][15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Grønnum (2005), pp. 154–155.
  2. ^ Friesen (2017), p. 49.
  3. ^ Tench (2007), p. 228.
  4. ^ Poulos (1998), p. 548.
  5. ^ Heselwood (2013) Phonetic transcription in theory and practice, p 122–123
  6. ^ Janet Watson (January 2011). "Lateral fricatives and lateral emphatics in southern Saudi Arabia and Mehri". academia.edu.
  7. ^ Watson, Janet (January 2013). "Lateral reflexes of Proto-Semitic D and Dh in Al-Rubu'ah dialect, south-west Saudi Arabic: Electropalatographic and acoustic evidence". Nicht Nur mit Engelszungen: Beiträge zur Semitischen Dialektologie: Festschrift für Werner Arnold.
  8. ^ Janet Watson (January 2011). "Lateral fricatives and lateral emphatics in southern Saudi Arabia and Mehri". academia.edu.
  9. ^ a b c Miller, Kirk; Ball, Martin (2020-07-11). "L2/20-116R: Expansion of the extIPA and VoQS" (PDF).
  10. ^ Anderson, Deborah (2020-12-07). "L2/21-021: Reference doc numbers for L2/20-266R "Consolidated code chart of proposed phonetic characters" and IPA etc. code point and name changes" (PDF).
  11. ^ Wells, John (3 November 2006). "The symbol ɮ". John Wells’s phonetic blog. Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  12. ^ Newman, Paul (1964). "A word list of Tera". Journal of West African Languages. 1 (2): 33–50.
  13. ^ Catford, J. C.; Ladefoged, Peter (1968). Working Papers in Phonetics 11: Practical Phonetic Exercises. University of California, Los Angeles.
  14. ^ Brosnahan, L. F.; Malmberg, Bertil (1970). Introduction to Phonetics. Cambridge University Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-521-21100-X.
  15. ^ Ladefoged, Peter (1971). Preliminaries to Linguistic Phonetics. University of Chicago Press. p. 54. ISBN 0-226-46787-2.
  16. ^ MacKay, Ian (1987). Phonetics: The Science of Speech Production (2nd ed.). Little, Brown and Company. p. 106. ISBN 0-316-54238-5.


External links[edit]