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YAEPT: Characterising English /l/s (was: Re: Alborgian/ Borgi)

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Thursday, May 29, 2008, 4:33
Eric Christopherson wrote:
> On May 28, 2008, at 5:43 PM, Tristan McLeay wrote: > >> On 29/05/08 05:57:01, Ingmar Roerdinkholder wrote: >>> Thanks Weeping Elf! eLf with a Lateral as weLL I guess? >>> but, how are the different kinds of L called. The LL in Arabic aLLah >>> or English >>> aLL, and the L in English leap or Arabic Layl? >> The "l" in RP "all" is called a dark or velarised l or in full a >> voiced >> velarised alveolar lateral approximate. > > Approximant. </nitpicky>
Gha! I can never remember that...
> I have never really been able to perceive the difference in my own > speech or in that of most other Americans. However, there are some > people who have a very "dark"-sounding /l/, which actually sounds > like me more like a velar approximant; whether it's lateral or > central I'm not sure. Tom Brokaw is the best example I can think of, > and I think fellow newsman Robert Bezell too maybe. > > Does anyone know exactly how to characterize their /l/?
Initially and after consonants, my /l/ is a velarised lateral approximant. After vowels (including before vowels) it's usually a velarised lateral approximant, but is quite frequently merely a central velar approximant. I have trouble distinguishing the two -- nevertheless I'm well aware of when a Kiwi or Cockney is vocalising their l's; presumably they do it differently. /l/ is not permitted in the same syllable before /j/ or after [Ae] (pie), [&i] (hay), [Ii] (he), [Vu\] (hoe) or [u\:] (coo) i.e. the vowels moving towards a high-front place and [u\:]. In the case of the first two, an epenthetic schwa is added. In the case of [Ii] and [u\:], these become [I:] (i.e. the same vowel as "fear") and [u:]. Quite why [I:] is permitted but [u\:] isn't I'm sure. [Vu\] is retracted to [Ou]. Hence: pile [pAej@5], hail [h&ij@5], heel [hI:5], whole [hOu5], cool [ku:5]. Epenthesis does not apply if a vowel follows, but the quality changes i.e. [I: u: Ou] do. This of course means that the /l/ in the (foreign) standard pronunciation of "Australia" can't be either the coda of the syllable starting with [stSr&i] nor part of the onset of the next syllable [j@]. Hence, either the /l/ is deleted or the /j/ becomes syllabic and you get [@stSr&ij@] or [@stSr&i5i.@]. -- Tristan.


Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>