Voiceless dental and alveolar lateral fricatives
Some scholars also posit the voiceless alveolar lateral approximant
distinct from the fricative. The approximant may be represented in the IPA as ⟨l̥⟩. The distinction is not recognized by the International Phonetic Association
- 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.
Rare among European languages outside the Caucasus
, it is found notably in Welsh
, in which it is written ⟨ll
Several Welsh names beginning with this sound (e.g. Llwyd [ɬʊɨd]
, Llywelyn [ɬəˈwɛlɨn]
) have been borrowed into English, where they either retain the Welsh ⟨ll⟩ spelling but are pronounced with an /l
/ (Lloyd, Llewellyn), or are substituted with ⟨fl⟩ (pronounced /fl/) (Floyd, Fluellen).
The phoneme /ɬ/ was also found in the most ancient Hebrew
speech of the Ancient Israelites
. Biblical Hebrew
orthography, however, did not directly indicate the phoneme /ɬ/ since this and several other phonemes of Ancient Hebrew did not have a grapheme of their own. The phoneme /ɬ/, however, is clearly attested by later developments: /ɬ/ was written with ⟨ש
⟩, but this letter was also used for the sound /ʃ/; later /ɬ/ merged with /s/, a sound which was previously written only with ⟨ס
⟩. As a result, three etymologically distinct modern Hebrew phonemes can be distinguished: /s/ written ⟨ס
⟩, /ʃ/ written ⟨ש
⟩ (with later niqqud
pointing שׂ), and /s/ which evolved from /ɬ/ and is written ⟨ש
⟩ (with later niqqud
pointing שׁ). The specific pronunciation of ⟨ש
⟩ as /s/ evolved from [ɬ] is known based on comparative evidence, since /ɬ/ is the corresponding Proto-Semitic
phoneme and /ɬ/ is still attested in Modern South Arabian
as well as early borrowings from Ancient Hebrew (e.g. balsam
< Greek balsamon
< Hebrew baśam
). The phoneme /ɬ/ began merging with /s/ in Late Biblical Hebrew, as indicated by interchange of orthographic ⟨ש
⟩ and ⟨ס
⟩, possibly under the influence of Aramaic
, and this became the rule in Mishnaic Hebrew
In all Jewish reading traditions /ɬ/ and /s/ have merged completely; however in Samaritan Hebrew
/ɬ/ has instead merged with /ʃ/.
The [ɬ] sound is also found in two of the constructed languages
invented by J. R. R. Tolkien
(inspired by Welsh) and Quenya
(inspired by Finnish, Ancient Greek, and Latin).
In Sindarin it is written as ⟨lh⟩ initially and ⟨ll⟩ medially and finally; in Quenya it only appears initially and is written ⟨hl⟩.
Dental or denti-alveolar
Latin Capital Letter L with Belt
Since the IPA letter "ɬ" has been adopted into the standard orthographies for many native North American languages, a capital letter L with belt "Ɬ" was requested by academics and added to the Unicode Standard
version 7.0 in 2014 at U+A7AD.
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Last edited on 29 April 2021, at 08:26
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