The consonant /l/ may be at the beginning of a word, in the middle of a word, or at the end of the word. If /l/ is at the end of the word or in a final consonant cluster, it has a slightly different sound and will be longer than other consonants. To pronounce /l/ at the end of a word, add a slight uh (/ə/) sound before /l/ and drop the pitch of your voice in the middle of the vowel. Enunciate the final consonant clearly.
- "l" - mail, lose
- "ll" - mall, yellow
- "le" - sale, file
- meal (ME-al)
- fuel (FU-el)
- tile (TI-le)
- world (WOR-ld)
The sound /l/ can be in these consonant clusters.
Beginning of a Syllable
/gl/ ("gl") - glass
/bl/ ("bl") - blue
/pl/ ("pl") - please
/sl/ ("sl") - slow
/spl/ ("spl") - split
/fl/ ("fl") - fly
End of a Syllable
/lbz/ (“lbs”) - bulbs
/lp/ ("lp") - pulp
/lps/ ("lps")- helps
/lpt/ ("lped") - yelped
/lt/ ("lt")- built
/lts/ ("lts")- melts
/ld/ ("ld")- gold
/ldz/ (“lds”) - builds
/lz/ (“ls”) - nails
/ls/ (“lse”) - false
/lv/ (“lve”) - involve
/lvd/ (“lved”) - solved
/lf/ ("lf")- elf
/ltʃ/ (“lch”) - mulch
/ltʃt/ (“lched”) - filched
/ldʒ/ (“lge”) - bulge
/ldʒd/ (“lged”) - indulged
/lʃ/ (“lsh”) - Welsh
/lm/ ("lm")- palm
/lmz/ (“lms”) - helms
/lmd/ ("lmed")- filmed
The sound /l/ appears in several suffixes
- “-ly” turns an adjective into an adverb
- “-ful” turns a noun into an adjective
- “-able” turns a noun or verb into an adjective
- “-al” often indicates an adjective
Listen to the examples:
- “-ly” : warmly, quickly, kindly
- “-ful”: beautiful, wonderful, thoughtful
- “-able”: movable, comfortable, variable
- “-al”: actual, manual, gradual
The consonants /l/ and /r/ are both voiced, liquid consonants. However, /l/ is pronounced with the the tip of the tongue touching the gum ridge, while /r/ is pronounced with the tongue near (but not touching!) the roof of your mouth.
You can hear the difference between /l/ and /r/ in these words.
2. A. climb, B. crime
3. A. feel, B. fear
4. A. balls, B. bars
5. A. halt, B. heart
6. A. peeling, B. peering
Now, practice /l/ in sentences. Say the words first, then the sentences.
I don't really like blueberries.
2. popular - class - school - biology
The most popular class in my school was biology.
3. always - clothes - laundromat
I always wash my clothes at the laundromat.
4. usually - call - people - cellphone
I usually call people on my cellphone.
5. close - all - family
Are you close to all of your family?
6. trouble - solving - problem
I'm having trouble solving this problem.
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