IPA phoneme /l/
In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /l/ (lowercase L) corresponds to the initial consonant sound in words like "look" and "last" and the final one in "school" and "girl".
When /l/ occurs at the end of a syllable or before a consonant, the tongue usually comes towards the back of the mouth, some speech pronunciation coaches call it a "dark L".
In Estuary English /l/ in final position is a vowel. For example milk is pronounced [mɪok] and middle is [ˈmɪdo].
Initial pronunciation of /l/:
- large - last - late - leave - let - life - like - little - live - long - look - lot - love
Medial pronunciation of /l/:
- As "l": also - child - clear - help - include - old - only - place - problem - world
- As "ll": actually - allow - challenge - college - dollar - follow - really - village
Final pronunciation of /l/:
- As "l": control - deal - feel - level - school - several - social - total - travel - until
- As "ll": all - call - cell - fall - full - kill - sell - skill - small - still - tell - wall - well - will
- With magic e: file - mile - module - role - rule - sale - smile - style - while - whole
- With silent e: able - available - couple - example - little - people - possible - table
Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1
Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.