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Thread: Dark L

  1. #1
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    Default Dark L

    Hi, I registered today as a member.
    I've been lerning English pronunciation for a long time.
    I guess I know all of them about the individual sounds, and stress pattern and so on.
    But I still meet some difficult sounds sometimes.

    sound like, trouble, middle
    Does the tongue touch the tooth ridge at the end of the word?

    Here are other questions.
    kindness, softness, Is she
    Do you omit the sound of d, t, s?
    And sounds like kinnness, soffnes, IIshe?

    The more I study, the more I confuse...
    I sometimes the best way I just listen carefully how people talk..

  2. #2
    Ouisch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dark L

    sound like, trouble, middle
    Does the tongue touch the tooth ridge at the end of the word?


    The tongue touches the area on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. It sounds like "trub-bull" and "mid-dull."

    kindness, softness, Is she
    Do you omit the sound of d, t, s?
    And sounds like kinnness, soffnes, IIshe?


    No. The "d" in "kindness" is pronounced, as is the "t" in softness. "Is she" sounds like "Izz she," with a bit of a "z" sound.

    Keep practicing and you'll do well! You should have heard me when I was learning French, trying to imitate the (to me) odd sounds of their pronunciation. We all start from ground zero when learning a new language.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dark L

    ps (but Edit isn't working, so it's a new post)

    I missed the "is she" question. In fluent (but not terribly fast) speech, the /z/ of "is" assimilates to the /ʃ/ of "she" to become /ʒ/ (as in measure). Similar assimilation, but without voicing, frequently happens in words like "horse-shoe".

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    Default Re: Dark L

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I've found a useful site where you can actually hear these sounds:

    Nasal and lateral plosion

    b
    ps

    This used to be an over-long screed about how to articulate these. You may have seen this before I deleted it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dark L

    Incidentally - he says after finally reading the subject of this thread - I wouldn't have called any of these a 'dark l'. In lateral plosion, the tongue-tip is quite far forward, allowing air to be released down the tongue's sides (further back). The word 'leek' has a 'clear l' and the word 'keel' has a 'dark l' - in the 'dark l' the body of the tongue is squashed back. With the tongue in this position, lateral plosion can't happen - the sides of the tongue are squashed up against the sides of the mouth, with nowhere to go to let the air past. So the "l" at the end of "little" is neither dark nor clear.

    b

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    Default Re: Dark L

    If you have trouble pronouncing dark /l/, no examiner should mind, nor would you sound strange, if you pronounce them all clear. It's not so unusual among native speakers, maybe a bit upper class.

    I would say the /d/ in "kindness" and /t/ in "softness" are nearly always omitted in normal speech.

  7. #7
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    Default Dark L

    I'm whitesnow!
    Thank you for all the replies!

    I guess in a way everyone speak not the same way.
    I also think to say which is clear and dark a difficult point.

    About kindness, and softness.
    I read about this way in a very famous book which is well know as a teaching American English.
    This could be both say, some people read this way, but the others still pronunce small d, t sound.

  8. #8
    alienvoord is offline Member
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    Default Re: Dark L

    I thought "dark L" was a velarized lateral. I don't see why you can't have lateral plosion with dark L.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dark L

    Quote Originally Posted by alienvoord View Post
    I thought "dark L" was a velarized lateral. I don't see why you can't have lateral plosion with dark L.
    It is. But for the reasons I gave (about the position of the tongue), I don't think it's possible. For lateral plosion to work, there has to be room for the sides of the tongue to make and break a closure with the sides of the buccal cavity. If the tongue is squashed against the sides already, it's making a closure OK but it can't release it (at least - it would be impossible in the one buccal cavity of which I have intimate knowledge ). Your mileage may vary.

    b

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    alienvoord is offline Member
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    Default Re: Dark L

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    It is. But for the reasons I gave (about the position of the tongue), I don't think it's possible. For lateral plosion to work, there has to be room for the sides of the tongue to make and break a closure with the sides of the buccal cavity. If the tongue is squashed against the sides already, it's making a closure OK but it can't release it (at least - it would be impossible in the one buccal cavity of which I have intimate knowledge ). Your mileage may vary.
    b
    My phonetics textbook says that the /l/ at the end of words like "little" is velarized. I don't see why velarization would prevent the lateral being released.

    Maybe I don't understand what lateral plosion is?

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