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Velar lateral approximant: Wikis


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IPA – number 158
IPA – text ʟ
IPA – image {{{imagesize}}}
Entity ʟ
Kirshenbaum L
About this sound Sound sample

The velar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ʟ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is L\.



Features of the velar lateral approximant:

  • Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by bringing one articulator close to another but without the vocal tract being narrowed to such an extent that a turbulent airstream is produced.
  • Its place of articulation is velar which means it is articulated with the back part of the tongue (the dorsum) against the soft palate (the velum).
  • Its phonation type is voiced, which means the vocal cords are vibrating during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth.
  • It is a lateral consonant, which means it is produced by allowing the airstream to flow over the sides of the tongue, rather than the middle of the tongue.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic egressive, which means it is articulated by pushing air out of the lungs and through the vocal tract, rather than from the glottis or the mouth.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
English[1] some dialects milk [mɪʟk] 'milk' May occur before velar and labial consonants. See English phonology
Melpa[2] [paʟa] 'fence'
Mid-Wahgi[3] aglagle [aʟaʟe] 'dizzy'

See also



  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005). Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.). Blackwell.  
  • Roca, Iggy; Johnson, Wyn (1999). A Course in Phonology. Blackwell Publishing.  


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