It’s not apparent, however there are literally two sorts of L in English: the darkish L and the sunshine L.
L firstly of a phrase or syllable (or earlier than a vowel) is the sunshine L, equivalent to in chortle.
L on the finish of a phrase or syllable (or after a vowel) is the darkish L, equivalent to in pillow.
This publish will clarify learn how to pronounce these two variations of the L sound, with loads of examples and audio you need to use to observe your pronunciation.
Gentle L Pronunciation
When to make use of it: At the beginning of a phrase or syllable—earlier than a vowel or the letter Y
- Put the tip of your tongue on the bony ridge behind your entrance enamel.
- Make a sound as you push along with your tongue. Should you maintain this, you’re already saying the L sound as Lllllll!
- Elevate your tongue off the ridge as you progress on to the subsequent vowel.
If you’re saying the sunshine L in on a regular basis conversations, it’ll really feel like a fast faucet along with your tongue. Keep in mind to exert sufficient stress, although, while you make the faucet! A standard mistake is tapping too flippantly—the L sound must be clearly heard.
The sunshine L additionally seems in the midst of a phrase so long as it’s earlier than a vowel.
Strive it out:
Darkish L Pronunciation
When to make use of it: On the finish of a phrase or syllable—after a vowel or the letter Y
- Since it may be difficult to pronounce the darkish L by itself, begin by saying the vowel, first. With the phrase “ball,” the vowel can be A.
- For the precise darkish L sound, transfer your tongue so the tip is reaching up and near the bony ridge behind the entrance enamel however not touching.
- On the identical time, the again of your tongue can be arching up a little bit in direction of your taste bud.
The simplest to identify placement of the darkish L is on the finish of phrases:
You’ll additionally spot it in the midst of phrases so long as it’s after a vowel:
Should you see L after a TT or DD, that’s a darkish L too! For instance:
It’s because as you transition from the T or D to L, it’s a must to make a fast uh sound, which counts as a vowel.
Strive it out:
Ideas for Saying Darkish L and Gentle L
Able to put what you’ve discovered concerning the darkish L and the sunshine L into observe? Right here’s how one can observe this pronunciation distinction:
1. Take note of your tongue
It feels form of unusual to note what your tongue is doing, but it surely actually helps with this as a result of the sunshine L and darkish L have variations of their mouth positioning.
- The sunshine L’s mouth positioning is fairly easy—simply level your tongue to the bony ridge above your enamel.
- For the darkish L, you may think about your tongue as forming a U form that’s a bit flat and it’s additional again in your mouth.
2. Consider the darkish L as being made up of two sounds
The darkish L is made up of two sounds: uh adopted by L. Should you say the darkish L in sluggish movement, the uh is produced as you elevate the again of your tongue, then the L follows while you elevate the tip.
3. Take a look at out your darkish L vs. gentle L abilities by studying out loud
As soon as you’re feeling such as you’ve gotten a grasp of learn how to pronounce the sunshine L and darkish L individually, you may degree as much as studying full-on phrases and sentences.
Seize an English e-book or article (this weblog publish works, too!) and select a paragraph. Then, begin looking for phrases with the letter L.
For every phrase, ask your self: is the L right here a lightweight L or a darkish L?
Keep in mind the primary guidelines for L sounds:
- If the L is earlier than a vowel, then it’s a lightweight L.
- If the L is after a vowel, that’s a darkish L.
4. Make the most of movies and podcasts
It’s normally simpler to consider your pronunciation while you’re studying as a result of you may decelerate. However right here’s one other problem: bump it up by imitating native audio system in movies and podcasts, like FluentU.
In FluentU’s case, clips are geared up with interactive subtitles, so you may click on a phrase to get its which means, pronunciation and instance sentences. Personalised quizzes are additionally included that allow you to observe your pronunciation.
5. Mess around with L-sound tongue twisters
Tongue twisters are phrases or sentences that even native audio system wrestle to pronounce, particularly once they must say the phrases sooner and sooner! These normally have similar-sounding phrases. For instance, one standard tongue tornado has the phrases “batter,” “bitter,” “butter” and “higher” nearly subsequent to one another.
There are many tongue twisters on the market that function the L sound, so you may have a little bit of enjoyable with them. Right here’s one from Dr. Seuss’ “Fox in Socks” that goes all in with that gentle L:
This darkish L tongue tornado is shorter, but it surely’s nonetheless a problem to say:
For a mixture of gentle L and darkish L phrases, try these two tongue twisters:
Now that you just’ve discovered all concerning the variations between the sunshine L and the darkish L, you gained’t see the L sound in English the identical manner once more.
You’ll spot 548 Ls on this publish, so working towards each kinds of L will certainly come in useful—perhaps as quickly as your subsequent English sentence!