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  1. #1
    enydia is offline Member
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    Default how to pronounce dark l?

    Hello, Teachers.

    How to pronounce dark l? I really feel very difficult to pronounce it properly. Are there any tips?
    Usually, I mistake /bil/ for /bir/ or /biə/ or some other things.

    Thank you in advance.

    Enydia
    Last edited by enydia; 03-Oct-2008 at 04:03.

  2. #2
    enydia is offline Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    I press the tip up against the alveolar ridge, but found the sound very odd and far from the standard pronunciation.
    How to improve and practice it?

  3. #3
    MaryTeacher is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    Hi-

    A "dark l" is actually an /l/ that is pronounced without using the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge.

    It is pronounced by moving the back of the tongue up toward the soft palate. If you try swallowing, and pay attention to which part of your tongue moves, that is the part you are moving in pronouncing the dark l. The tongue moves up, but doesn't completely touch. The front part of the tongue remains at the bottom of the mouth.

    For an /r/, the tongue moves up towards the end of the hard palate, and the sides of the tongue also curl a bit.

    I think the dark l is more common in North American speech than in British.

    I hope this makes sense! It's easier to draw these things sometimes than explain them in words...

    Mary

  4. #4
    enydia is offline Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaryTeacher View Post
    Hi-

    A "dark l" is actually an /l/ that is pronounced without using the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge.

    It is pronounced by moving the back of the tongue up toward the soft palate. If you try swallowing, and pay attention to which part of your tongue moves, that is the part you are moving in pronouncing the dark l. The tongue moves up, but doesn't completely touch. The front part of the tongue remains at the bottom of the mouth.

    For an /r/, the tongue moves up towards the end of the hard palate, and the sides of the tongue also curl a bit.

    I think the dark l is more common in North American speech than in British.

    I hope this makes sense! It's easier to draw these things sometimes than explain them in words...

    Mary
    Thank you very much, Teacher Mary

    I think your explanation is very reasonable. But I do find something different. Here is a piece of description from the internet:
    To pronounce the dark 'l' in girl or world, unroll the tongue and press the tip up against the alveolar ridge just behind the teeth. Leave the sides of the tongue down so that air and sound pass laterally out either side of the tongue. For a dark 'l', also raise the back of the tongue a bit so that it presses lightly up against the soft palate. For a clear 'l', leave the back of the tongue down.
    What's your opinion about such explanation?

  5. #5
    MaryTeacher is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    Hi-

    Yes, I have seen that explanation (on many reputable sites!), but I learned in my teacher training that it was in fact articulated as I described it.

    As a North American, I often pronounce "girl" or "world" without articulating the /l/ using the tongue and alveolar ridge. When I try to pronounce it using the description given in the internet excerpt I have a great deal of difficulty.

    It's possible my explanation is a regional variation on dark l, but I've heard it pronounced my way in many places.

    I'd be interested in hearing other teachers' opinions on this!

    Try pronouncing without the tongue tip and alveolar ridge and see if its easier.

    mary

  6. #6
    MaryTeacher is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    Hi again-

    The way I mentioned is a regional variation (I'm not sure exactly which regions it is specific too, though). I looked up my old notes (it has been a while!).

    The reason you may have been having trouble practicing the difference between the two sounds is that the dark /l/ occurs at the end of a syllable- it doesn't exist at the beginning, so if you are trying to make the sound in isolation it will be very hard. Try saying the letter L and pay attention to what happens. You may find that the back of your tongue is in fact moving into the correct position.

    Contrast this with pronouncing the sound /l/. You should notice a difference in your tongue position.

    I hope this helps! Thanks for asking a really good question!

    Mary

  7. #7
    enydia is offline Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaryTeacher View Post
    Hi again-

    The way I mentioned is a regional variation (I'm not sure exactly which regions it is specific too, though). I looked up my old notes (it has been a while!).

    The reason you may have been having trouble practicing the difference between the two sounds is that the dark /l/ occurs at the end of a syllable- it doesn't exist at the beginning, so if you are trying to make the sound in isolation it will be very hard. Try saying the letter L and pay attention to what happens. You may find that the back of your tongue is in fact moving into the correct position.

    Contrast this with pronouncing the sound /l/. You should notice a difference in your tongue position.

    I hope this helps! Thanks for asking a really good question!

    Mary
    Thank you for your replies.

    Do you mean the standard pronunciation require me to put the tip of tongue on the alveolar ridge?

  8. #8
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: how to pronounce dark l?

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    Thank you for your replies.

    Do you mean the standard pronunciation require me to put the tip of tongue on the alveolar ridge?
    No, but it's probably normal to rest it there at the end of the word.
    For me, it's possible to say a dark /l/ with my tongue finishing almost anywhere (alveolar, retroflex, into one side of my cheek!) That is because dark /l/ is almost like an unrounded /ʊ/. feel -> /fi:ʊ/. That's a vocalised l, which is not quite the same - probably a step beyond a dark /l/. In some dialects, this is common: milk -> /mIʊk/.

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