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  1. #1
    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    If it is a semivowel, then "s" behind "rule" would be pronounced as /s/ rather than /z/ when "l" is considered as a consonant. I am not sure.

    Perhaps some native English speakers don't care about whether "rules" is pronounced as /ru:ls/ or /ru:lz/, especially when they have regional accents.

    ==================
    (1) Well done! You are cool.
    (2) Are you willing to abide by the rules?

  2. #2
    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    If it is a semivowel, then "s" behind "rule" would be pronounced as /s/ rather than /z/ when "l" is considered as a consonant.
    I am not really sure what you mean by that.

    The plural ending -s is pronounced /z/ after vowels and voiced consonants*
    It is pronounced /s/ after unvoiced consonants*

    * except after /z/,/s/, /ʒ/, /ʃ /, /d͡ʒ/, and /t͡ʃ/, when it is pronounced /ɪz/
    .
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    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    By the way, /l/ is a consonant.

    The only 'semi-vowels', more usually known these days as 'approximants', in English are /j/, /w/, and, in some dialects, /r/.
    Last edited by Piscean; 09-Sep-2020 at 07:27.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    OK. I rechecked out my paper-version grammar book and found "l" is a voiced consonant.

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    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    It is normally voiced, though it is devoiced when in follows /p/ or /k/ n a stressed syllable.
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  6. #6
    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    It is normally voiced, though it is devoiced when in follows /p/ or /k/ n a stressed syllable.
    "It follows..."? Like "Please", "spleen", "Kleenex"?

  7. #7
    Kenneth's softneʔtɪʔkʼ is offline Newbie
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    Red face Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodTaste View Post
    OK. I rechecked out my paper-version grammar book and found "l" is a voiced consonant.
    I was wondering why you came up with such a question about 'semi-vowel vs consonant'.
    I'm more interested in finding the reason behind it.

    And yes, in technical terms, /l/ in English is a voiced alveolar lateral approximant, as in live, life, let, laugh, lack, look, lock. In this case, it is nicknamed 'clear l'.

    In word-final positions or after a vowel, /l/ is so 'velarised' that the root of the tongue retracts and raises to the soft palate (aka velum), in which you would pronounce this 'dark l' in such words as cool, rule, cold, aisle, smell.


    In some environments, /l/ tends to devoice and sounds like this kind of /l/ after /s/, as we have slow, sled, sleek, slam. This is also true when /l/ is preceded by other voiceless fricatives such as /f/ and /θ/.

    Following voiceless plosives such as /k/ and /p/, this voiced approximant transforms to a voiceless fricative, when it falls on a stressed syllable. Falling on an unstressed syllable, 'clear l' is partially devoiced, similar to the case in which /l/ comes after a voiceless fricative.

    I hope it could help with anything.


    ===Supplementary Information on Phonetic Symbols===

    Allophonic members of /l/ as illustrated above:

    The voiced alveolar lateral approximant is the typical [l]
    Phoneme /l/ with velarisation or velarised /l/ or 'dark l' is denoted by [ɫ], called the small letter L with tilde.
    Partially devoiced /l/ makes [l̥] - with a small circle under it
    Fully deviced /l/ turns out to be voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ], the symbol name of which is the small letter L with belt.

    Another useful symbol is the syllabric /l/ expressed as [ɫ̩] in narrow phonetic transcription.
    Last edited by Kenneth's softneʔtɪʔkʼ; 26-Oct-2020 at 02:03. Reason: Adding extra phonetic symbols

  8. #8
    Piscean is online now VIP Member
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    Re: Is "l" a semivowel or a consonant?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth's softneʔtɪʔkʼ View Post
    And yes, in technical terms, /l/ in English is a voiced alveolar lateral approximant, as in live, life, let, laugh, lack, look, lock. In this case, it is nicknamed 'clear l'.
    It isn't 'nicknamed' clear l. That's what it's called.

    Following voiceless plosives such as /k/ and /p/, this voiced approximant transforms to a voiceless fricative, when it falls on a stressed syllable.
    Do you mean that /l/ in 'clan' is a voiceless fricative? That's a novel idea.
    What do you mean by 'when it falls on a stressed syllable'.
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