How to Pronounce the L in American English

How to Pronounce the L in American English

How to pronounce the letter L

How to pronounce the letter L

In American English the /l/ is referred to as a “liquid” sound.

That’s because when you articulate this sound the tip of your tongue touches the ridge behind your upper teeth.

The air flows through the sides of your tongue.

Clear L & Dark L

When /l/ comes after certain vowel sounds American English speakers will insert a schwa sound between the stressed vowel and the /l/.

We call this the Dark L and it may sound like an extra syllable.

Here are some examples:

The word feel sounds like fee-ᵞəl.

The word mail sounds like mai-ᵞəl.

The word smile sounds like smi-ᵞəl.

The word school sounds like schoo-ʷəl.

Here’s a Picture

Follow the link to see a drawing of the tongue position for the Clear L and the Dark L.

Understanding When to Use the 2 Sounds of  L 

In my accent reduction coaching program I teach you how and when to use the 2 sounds of the American L.

Saying this sound correctly will enable you to say words including: world, girl & early in a manner that sounds super clear!