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Hi,
I'd like to hear some opinions about the L in American English. The way I see it, the L's in "lee" and "bell" are different, and the L in "belly" is mixed, the first part of that L is like in "bell" and the final part is like in "lee", therefore "bell-lee".
I'll definitely appreciate your opinions, thanks Emotion: smile
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As I learned it, syllable-final /l/ is velarized, or "dark". So /l/ in "bell" and "belly" are both dark. I suppose there could be some variation, though.
Yeah, but how can you distinguish a syllable-final L from a syllable-initial L? It's simple if you take words like "lake" and "bell", but what if you take "California"? It's in mid-position, and that means it could be a syllable-initial L, "Ca-lifornia", or a syllable-final L, "Cal-ifornia". What I think is that a mid-position L is an hybrid, it's made up of two parts: it starts with a dark L ("Cal...") and goes on with a normal L ("...lifornia"), so you get "Cal-lifornia". Emotion: smile

And by the way, when you guys pronounce dark L in words like "bell", "cool", etc., does your tongue actually touch the roof of your mouth or not?
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KooyeenYeah, but how can you distinguish a syllable-final L from a syllable-initial L? It's simple if you take words like "lake" and "bell", but what if you take "California"? It's in mid-position, and that means it could be a syllable-initial L, "Ca-lifornia", or a syllable-final L, "Cal-ifornia". What I think is that a mid-position L is an hybrid, it's made up of two parts: it starts with a dark L ("Cal...") and goes on with a normal L ("...lifornia"), so you get "Cal-lifornia". Emotion: smile
The /l/ in "California" is syllable-initial, and I think that it is a light /l/ in my speech. And I'd like to revise my earlier comment: /l/ in "belly" is syllable-initial and light as well.

And by the way, when you guys pronounce dark L in words like "bell", "cool", etc., does your tongue actually touch the roof of your mouth or not?

Not.
I agree with your characterization of mid-position L as hybrid, but I can't wrap my mind around it being composed of two parts. If it helps you to pronounce it correctly by thinking of it that way, by all means do so. But it's not a double L, if that's what you're thinking. I hear and feel the L in California as being more light than dark.

For dark L (for all L's, really), the tongue touches just above the teeth -- not very far back -- about the same as where it touches for making the N. I don't know if you consider that the roof of the mouth. You can't make any kind of L if the tongue doesn't touch anything!

CJ
CalifJimI agree with your characterization of mid-position L as hybrid, but I can't wrap my mind around it being composed of two parts. If it helps you to pronounce it correctly by thinking of it that way, by all means do so. But it's not a double L, if that's what you're thinking.
Thanks.

No, it's not a double L of course. What I wanted to say is that a mid-position L starts like a final-position L, that is "uh-L".
I think "coolish" is more like "coo-uh-lish" than "coo-lish". But again I'm starting to wonder about things I shouldn't wonder about... now I'm starting having doubts about that! In other words, now I'm starting to think that maybe a mid-position L is practically the same as an initial-position L, that is that "foolish" is not like "fool-ish" but rather like "foo-lish" (no schwa befor the L).
Emotion: smile
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... that "foolish" is not like "fool-ish" but rather like "foo-lish" (no schwa befor the L)
That sounds right to me. I think you've got it. Now it's time to stop agonizing over it and just talk! Emotion: smile

CJ
CalifJimNow it's time to stop agonizing over it and just talk! Emotion: smile
Yeah, you're right. Discussing pronunciation issues in a forum or chat room is often very difficult, even if we use IPA or X-SAMPA transcriptions. So I think I'll post some audio files next time I want an opinion on some accent or feature I reconize. That way there will be no misunderstanding and everything will be much clearer.
Thank you. Emotion: smile
- the "l" in "lee" is a clear L : we find it before vowels and /j/.
- the "l" in "bell" is a dark one : we find it in all other cases (end of word, before a consonant).
However, it is said that in American english the dark L only exists.
It is the problem I raise in my "mémoire" this year : books say that L is always dark in American but in practice, not every american speaker pronounce it as well.
For example, in adverbs ending in -ly ( beautifully ), the L is not pronounced dark by an american.
Now, the question is : are there some phonological cases in which the dark L can become clear and which are they or is it only a question about geography ?

If you have some things to share with me about that, it really helps me for my "mémoire".
Cause books, again, don't talk about that.

Thanks,
Sophie
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