Lateral consonant

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A lateral is a consonant in which the airstream proceeds along the sides of the tongue, but it is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth. Lateral consonant_sentence_0

An example of a lateral consonant is the English L, as in Larry. Lateral consonant_sentence_1

For the most common laterals, the tip of the tongue makes contact with the upper teeth (see dental consonant) or the upper gum (see alveolar consonant), but there are many other possible places for laterals to be made. Lateral consonant_sentence_2

The most common laterals are approximants and belong to the class of liquids, but lateral fricatives and affricates are also common in some parts of the world. Lateral consonant_sentence_3

Some languages, such as the Iwaidja and Ilgar languages of Australia, have lateral flaps, and others, such as the Xhosa and Zulu languages of Africa, have lateral clicks. Lateral consonant_sentence_4

When pronouncing the labiodental fricatives [f] and [v], the lip blocks the airflow in the centre of the vocal tract, so the airstream proceeds along the sides instead. Lateral consonant_sentence_5

Nevertheless, they are not considered lateral consonants because the airflow never goes over the side of the tongue. Lateral consonant_sentence_6

No known language makes a distinction between lateral and non-lateral labiodentals. Lateral consonant_sentence_7

Plosives are never lateral, but they may have lateral release. Lateral consonant_sentence_8

Nasals are never lateral either, but some languages have lateral nasal clicks. Lateral consonant_sentence_9

For consonants articulated in the throat (laryngeals), the lateral distinction is not made by any language, although pharyngeal and epiglottal laterals are reportedly possible. Lateral consonant_sentence_10

Examples Lateral consonant_section_0

English has one lateral phoneme: the lateral approximant /l/, which in many accents has two allophones. Lateral consonant_sentence_11

One, found before vowels as in lady or fly, is called clear l, pronounced as the alveolar lateral approximant [l] with a "neutral" position of the body of the tongue. Lateral consonant_sentence_12

The other variant, so-called dark l, found before consonants or word-finally, as in bold or tell, is pronounced as the velarized alveolar lateral approximant [ɫ] with the tongue assuming a spoon-like shape with its back part raised, which gives the sound a [w]- or [ʟ]-like resonance. Lateral consonant_sentence_13

In some languages, like Albanian, those two sounds are different phonemes. Lateral consonant_sentence_14

East Slavic languages contrast [ɫ] and [lʲ] but do not have [l]. Lateral consonant_sentence_15

In many British accents (e.g. Cockney), dark [ɫ] may undergo vocalization through the reduction and loss of contact between the tip of the tongue and the alveolar ridge, becoming a rounded back vowel or glide. Lateral consonant_sentence_16

This process turns tell into something like [tɛɰ], as must have happened with talk [tɔːk] or walk [wɔːk] at some stage. Lateral consonant_sentence_17

A similar process happened during the development of many other languages, including Brazilian Portuguese, Old French, and Polish, in all three of these resulting in voiced velar approximant [ɰ] or voiced labio-velar approximant [w], whence Modern French sauce as compared with Spanish salsa, or Polish Wisła (pronounced [viswa]) as compared with English Vistula. Lateral consonant_sentence_18

In central and Venice dialects of Venetian, intervocalic /l/ has turned into a semivocalic [e̯], so that the written word ła bała is pronounced [abae̯a]. Lateral consonant_sentence_19

The orthography uses the letter ł to represent this phoneme (it specifically represents not the [e̯] sound but the phoneme that is, in some dialects, [e̯] and, in others, [l]). Lateral consonant_sentence_20

Many aboriginal Australian languages have a series of three or four lateral approximants, as do various dialects of Irish. Lateral consonant_sentence_21

Rarer lateral consonants include the retroflex laterals that can be found in many languages of India and in some Swedish dialects, and the voiceless alveolar lateral fricative /ɬ/, found in many Native North American languages, Welsh and Zulu. Lateral consonant_sentence_22

In Adyghe and some Athabaskan languages like Hän, both voiceless and voiced alveolar lateral fricatives occur, but there is no approximant. Lateral consonant_sentence_23

Many of these languages also have lateral affricates. Lateral consonant_sentence_24

Some languages have palatal or velar voiceless lateral fricatives or affricates, such as Dahalo and Zulu, but the IPA has no symbols for such sounds. Lateral consonant_sentence_25

However, appropriate symbols are easy to make by adding a lateral-fricative belt to the symbol for the corresponding lateral approximant (see below). Lateral consonant_sentence_26

Also, a devoicing diacritic may be added to the approximant. Lateral consonant_sentence_27

Nearly all languages with such lateral obstruents also have the approximant. Lateral consonant_sentence_28

However, there are a number of exceptions, many of them located in the Pacific Northwest area of the United States. Lateral consonant_sentence_29

For example, Tlingit has /tɬ, tɬʰ, tɬʼ, ɬ, ɬʼ/ but no /l/. Lateral consonant_sentence_30

Other examples from the same area include Nuu-chah-nulth and Kutenai, and elsewhere, Chukchi and Kabardian. Lateral consonant_sentence_31

Standard Tibetan has a voiceless lateral approximant, usually romanized as lh, as in the name Lhasa. Lateral consonant_sentence_32

A uvular lateral approximant has been reported to occur in some speakers of American English. Lateral consonant_sentence_33

Pashto has a retroflex lateral flap that becomes voiced retroflex approximant when it is at the end of a syllable and a word. Lateral consonant_sentence_34

There are a large number of lateral click consonants; 17 occur in !Xóõ. Lateral consonant_sentence_35

Lateral trills are also possible, but they do not occur in any known language. Lateral consonant_sentence_36

They may be pronounced by initiating [ɬ] or [ɮ] with an especially forceful airflow. Lateral consonant_sentence_37

There is no symbol for them in the IPA. Lateral consonant_sentence_38

They are sometimes used to imitate bird calls, and they are a component of Donald Duck talk. Lateral consonant_sentence_39

List of laterals Lateral consonant_section_1

Approximants Lateral consonant_section_2

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_0

Fricatives Lateral consonant_section_3

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_1

Only the alveolar lateral fricatives have dedicated letters in the IPA. Lateral consonant_sentence_40

However, others appear in the extIPA. Lateral consonant_sentence_41

Affricates Lateral consonant_section_4

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_2

Flaps Lateral consonant_section_5

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_3

Ejective Lateral consonant_section_6

Fricatives Lateral consonant_section_7

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_4

  • Alveolar lateral ejective fricative [ɬ’] (in Adyghe, Kabardian, Tlingit)Lateral consonant_item_4_35
  • Retroflex lateral ejective fricative [ꞎ’]Lateral consonant_item_4_36
  • Palatal lateral ejective fricative [ʎ̥˔’] (or [’])Lateral consonant_item_4_37
  • Velar lateral ejective fricative [ʟ̝̊’] (or [’])Lateral consonant_item_4_38

Only the Alveolar lateral ejective fricative [ɬ’] have been attested in natural languages. Lateral consonant_sentence_42

Affricates Lateral consonant_section_8

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_5

Clicks Lateral consonant_section_9

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_6

Ambiguous centrality Lateral consonant_section_10

The IPA requires sounds to be defined as to centrality, as either central or lateral. Lateral consonant_sentence_43

However, languages may be ambiguous as to some consonants' laterality. Lateral consonant_sentence_44

A well-known example is the liquid consonant in Japanese, represented in common transliteration systems as ⟨r⟩, which can be recognized as a (post)alveolar tap, alveolar lateral flap, (post)alveolar lateral approximant, (post)alveolar approximant, voiced retroflex stop, and various less common forms. Lateral consonant_sentence_45

Lateralized consonants Lateral consonant_section_11

A superscript ⟨ˡ⟩ is defined as lateral release. Lateral consonant_sentence_46

Consonants may also be pronounced with simultaneous lateral and central airflow. Lateral consonant_sentence_47

This is well-known from speech pathology with a lateral lisp. Lateral consonant_sentence_48

However, it also occurs in nondisordered speech in some southern Arabic dialects and possibly some Modern South Arabian languages, which have pharyngealized nonsibilant /ʪ̪ˤ/ and /ʫ̪ˤ/ (simultaneous [θ͜ɬˤ] and [ð͡ɮˤ]) and possibly a sibilant /ʪ/ (simultaneous [s͜ɬ]). Lateral consonant_sentence_49

Examples are /θˡˤaim/ 'pain' in the dialect of Al-Rubu'ah and /ðˡˤahr/ 'back' and /ðˡˤabʕ/ 'hyena' in Rijal Almaʽa. Lateral consonant_sentence_50

(Here the ⟨ˡ⟩ indicates simultaneous laterality rather than lateral release.) Lateral consonant_sentence_51

Old Arabic has been analyzed as having the emphatic central–lateral fricatives [θ͜ɬˤ], [ð͡ɮˤ] and [ʃ͡ɬˤ]. Lateral consonant_sentence_52

See also Lateral consonant_section_12

Lateral consonant_unordered_list_7


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateral consonant.