some speakers of my native language use this /l/ sound instead of more common [ɫ~l] colloquially it is referred to as "soft l" and is transcribed as "ლь" which is a combination of the Georgian letter "ლ" and the Cyrillic soft sign.

though usage of this sound instead of [ɫ~l] is stigmatized and seen as a speech defect.

1 Answer 1


One would need a more extensive corpus to know what this is, but it seems to be [l] in the wrong context – it should be allophonically velarized. This is a mildly famous distribution exploited in Kenstowicz & Kisseberth's phonology textbook and theoretically exploited in Hale & Reiss The phonological enterprise. The crucial question is where this version of l appears, for example "always before [i,e], optionally before [a]". More tokens are required, since the vowel also has some peculiar phonatory properties which need to be controlled.

  • by peculiar phonatory properties do you mean that it's more fronted? Aug 4 at 2:14
  • 1
    Phonatory refers to laryngeal properties: harsh whispery voice.
    – user6726
    Aug 4 at 3:56

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