How to pronounce the letter L

L

Correctly pronouncing /l/ is very difficult for many non-native speakers. /l/ is commonly confused with/r/ or /w/. If you don’t have /l/ in your language, you will have to retrain your muscle memory.  You must focus on proper placement for your tongue, lips, jaw and air flow.

Making /l/

  • /l/ is made differently depending on where it is in the word.
  • Don’t move your jaw or lips when making /l/. Move only your tongue. Your tongue will have different places of articulation for Light L and Dark L.

Light L

  • The /l/ at the beginning of a word. This is the easiest to pronounce.
  • Light L is produced before a vowel.   late, like, lamp, look
  • The tip of tongue touches alveolar ridge.
  • Light L is a flick of the tongue against the alveolar ridge.  It has a la-la-la-la sound
  • The back of the tongue remains low.

Dark L

  • The /l/ at the end of the word. This is difficult to pronounce.
  • Dark L is produced after a vowel (or schwa).  call, school, tell, people
  • The tip of tongue touches alveolar ridge, and stays there. It is not a flick, like Light L.
  • Dark L has a “uh-l” sound.
  • The back of the tongue is raised toward the soft palate.

Practice both Light and Dark L

Bring your focus to the difference in tongue placement.

Practice /l/ in the initial position.

  1. later
  2. love
  3. long
  4. leave
  5. left
  6. location
  7. lasagna
  8. lamp
  9. lawyer
  10. listening

Practice /l/ in the final position.

  1. people
  2. call
  3. feel
  4. individual
  5. pool
  6. email
  7. unusual
  8. virtual
  9. until
  10. tell

Interested in reducing your accent? Contact us for a free assessment!

This entry was posted in Asian culture, accent reduction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to pronounce the letter L

  1. Slightly press the tip of your tongue on the top portion of your mouth. The position of the mouth is similar to the D and T sound, but is much softer.

    • admin says:

      L is made with the tip of the tongue. T and D are made with the blade of the tongue, slightly behind the tip. Place of articulation for all 3 sounds is the alveolar ridge. “softness” is not a consideration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Blue Captcha Image
Refresh

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>