Voiceless velar lateral approximant
The voiceless velar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound, used in a very small number of spoken languages in the world. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʟ̥⟩ (since 1989) and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is
Features of the voiceless velar lateral approximant:
- Its manner of articulation is approximant, which means it is produced by narrowing the vocal tract at the place of articulation, but not enough to produce a turbulent airstream.
- Its place of articulation is velar, which means it is articulated with the back of the tongue (the dorsum) at the soft palate.
- Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords. In some languages the vocal cords are actively separated, so it is always voiceless; in others the cords are lax, so that it may take on the voicing of adjacent sounds.
- It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
- It is a lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.
- The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.
References Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough nor with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no turbulence. This class of sounds includes lateral approximants like [l] (as in less), non-lateral approximants like [ɹ] (as in rest), and semivowels like [j] and [w] (as in yes and west, respectively).
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