Voiced palatal lateral approximant

Voiced palatal lateral approximant
ʎ
IPA Number157
Audio sample
Encoding
Entity (decimal)ʎ
Unicode (hex)U+028E
X-SAMPAL
Braille⠦ (braille pattern dots-236)⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456)
Voiced alveolo-palatal lateral approximant
l̠ʲ
ʎ̟
ȴ

The voiced palatal lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ʎ⟩, a rotated lowercase letter ⟨y⟩ (not to be confused with lowercase lambda, ⟨λ⟩), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is L.

Many languages that were previously thought to have a palatal lateral approximant actually have a lateral approximant that is, broadly, alveolo-palatal; that is to say, it is articulated at a place in-between the alveolar ridge and the hard palate (excluded), and it may be variously described as alveolo-palatal, lamino-postalveolar,[1] or postalveolo-prepalatal.[2] None of the 13 languages investigated by Recasens (2013), many of them Romance, has a 'true' palatal.[3] That is likely the case for several other languages listed here. Some languages, like Portuguese and Catalan, have a lateral approximant that varies between alveolar and alveolo-palatal.[4]

There is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolo-palatal lateral approximant. If precision is desired, it may be transcribed ⟨l̠ʲ⟩ or ⟨ʎ̟⟩; they are essentially equivalent because the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. There is also a non-IPA letter ⟨ȴ⟩ ("l", plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ⟨ɕ, ʑ⟩), used especially in Sinological circles.

The voiced palatal lateral approximant contrasts phonemically with its voiceless counterpart /ʎ̥/ in the Xumi language spoken in China.[5][6]

  1. ^ Recasens (2013:2), citing Ladefoged (1997:602)
  2. ^ Recasens et al. (1993), p. 222.
  3. ^ Recasens (2013), p. 11.
  4. ^ Recasens (2013), pp. 10–13.
  5. ^ Chirkova & Chen (2013), pp. 365, 367–368.
  6. ^ Chirkova, Chen & Kocjančič Antolík (2013), pp. 382–383.

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