American English: How to Make the /n/ & /l/ Sounds

How to Make the N & L Sounds

 N is a nasal sound.

The N is a nasal sound.

If you’re a Chinese speaker who is working to improve your American English pronunciation, you may have found that you’re having trouble with your /l/ & /n/ sounds.

Don’t worry!! This is a very common problem & you can fix it. ✔

The /n/ & /l/ sounds are articulated in almost the same manner.

  • The tongue touches behind the tooth ridge.
  • The tongue is a bit flatter for the /n/ sound.

The /n/ is a nasal sound

However, the /n/ sound is a nasal so you need to push the air through your nose to make this sound.

The /l/ is a liquid sound

The /l/ sound is a liquid so the air flows along side your tongue & out of your mouth.

Challenging words with /n/ & /l/

Here are a few words with the /n/ & /l/ sounds that may be problematic for you:

  • financial
  • intellectual
  • international
  • analysis
  • economical

Listen here


Challenging  sounds for Chinese speakers of English

When I work with Chinese speakers in my accent reduction coaching program I teach them how to articulate the American

  • /l/ sound
  • /n/ sound
  • /ŋ/ sound

Mastering these sounds will make your American English more clear & easy to understand!

I can show you how

If you’re a Chinese English speaker, an international professional, who’d like to speak American English with clarity and confidence, check out my training programs by following the link below.

My training programs will teach you how speak English in a way that Americans will respect and understand!

About the author

Susan Ryan is the author of the ConfidentVoice blog and an American English communication and accent reduction coach.