Voiced dental, alveolar and postalveolar lateral approximants

The voiced alveolar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is l, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.

Voiced alveolar lateral approximant
l
IPA Number155
Encoding
Entity (decimal)l
Unicode (hex)U+006C
X-SAMPAl
Braille
Audio sample
noicon
Voiced postalveolar lateral approximant
Audio sample
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Voiced dental lateral approximant
Audio sample
noicon

As a sonorant, lateral approximants are nearly always voiced. Voiceless lateral approximants, /l̥/ are common in Sino-Tibetan languages, but uncommon elsewhere. In such cases, voicing typically starts about halfway through the hold of the consonant. No language is known to contrast such a sound with a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ].

In a number of languages, including most varieties of English, the phoneme /l/ becomes velarized ("dark l") in certain contexts. By contrast, the non-velarized form is the "clear l" (also known as: "light l"), which occurs before and between vowels in certain English standards.[1] Some languages have only clear l.[2] Others may not have a clear l at all, or have them only before front vowels (especially [i]).