Лекция: Lateral consonant

Lateral/'lxtqrql/ consonant is the consonant /l/ for which the tongue tip blocks the centre of the mouth and the air goes over the sides of the tongue (laterally).



In English there is only one lateral consonant — /l/. It is formed laterally, that is instead of the air passing in its usual way down the centre of the mouth, it escapes round the closure in the centre along the sides of the tongue.

The soft palate is raised so that no air can go through the nose, it is all forced to go through the mouth. The tip and the sides of the blade of the tongue are in firm contact with the alveolar ridge, thus obstructing the centre of the mouth. The sides of the tongue are lowered, so the air passes along the sides of the tongue.

/l/ is voiced and it lengthens the preceding vowel. And at the same time it can be shortened by the following strong consonant or it can be made longer by the following weak consonant (e.g. /fLl/, /fLlt/, /fLlz/). Notice that when /l/stands after /p, t, k/, it is produced with considerable friction.

/l/ is often syllabic (e.g. /'teI-bl/, /'x-pl/, /'trx-vl/, etc.).

There are two variants of the sound /l/ in English. When /l/ stands before vowels within a word or at a word boundary, we speak about clear /l/. This sound resembles an /I/ vowel, with the front of the tongue raised (e.g. /lJf/, /'letq/, /lHs/, /'fIl It/ etc.). The second variant is called dark /l/ and can be found before consonants and in final position in the word. In its pronunciation it is quite similar to a vowel /V/, with the back of the tongue raised (e.g. /pVl/, /bIl/, /kLld/, /belt/, etc.). Syllabic /l/ is usually dark.


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