Retroflex lateral approximant

Retroflex lateral approximant
IPA number 156
Entity (decimal) ɭ
Unicode (hex) U+026D
Kirshenbaum l.
Braille ⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)⠇ (braille pattern dots-123)
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The retroflex 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 ɭ, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l`.

The retroflex lateral approximant contrasts phonemically with its voiceless counterpart /ɭ̊/ in Iaai and Toda.[1] In both of these languages it also contrasts with more anterior /, l/, which are dental in Iaai and alveolar in Toda.[1]


Features of the retroflex lateral approximant:


In the following transcriptions, diacritics may be used to distinguish between apical [ɭ̺] and laminal [ɭ̻].

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Enindhilyagwa marluwiya [maɭuwija] 'emu'
Faroese árla [ɔɻɭa] 'early' Allophone of /l/ after /ɹ/. See Faroese phonology
French Standard[2] belle jambe [bɛɭ ʒɑ̃b] 'beautiful leg' Allophone of /l/ before /f/ and /ʒ/ for some speakers.[2] See French phonology
Kannada ಎಳ್ಳು [ˈeɭɭu] 'sesame' Represented by a
Khanty Eastern dialects пуӆ [puɭ] 'bit'
Some northern dialects
Korean 하늘 [hänɯɭ] 'sky' Represented by a . May also be pronounced as /l/. Pronounced as /ɾ/ syllable-initial
Malayalam മലയാളി  [mɐl̪əjɐ̞ːɭ̺ɪ]  'Malayalam people'Represented by a . Apical. Never word-initial and long and short forms are contrastive word-medially[3]
Mapudungun[4] mara [ˈmɐ̝ɭɜ] 'hare' Possible realization of /ʐ/; may be [ʐ] or [ɻ] instead.[4]
Norwegian farlig [fɑːɭi] 'dangerous' Eastern and central dialects. See Norwegian phonology
Punjabi ਤ੍ਰੇਲ਼ [t̪ɾeɭ] 'dew' Represented by a ਲ਼. Mostly found in rural dialects
Swedish sorl  [soːɭ]  'murmur' (noun) See Swedish phonology
Tamil[5] புளி [puɭi] 'tamarind' Represented by a ள். See Tamil phonology
Telugu నీళ్ళు [niːɭːu] 'water' Represented by a

See also



  • Jiang, Haowen (April 2010), Malayalam: a Grammatical Sketch and a Text, Department of Linguistics, Rice University 
  • Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34 (1): 111–116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549 
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8. 
  • Sadowsky, Scott; Painequeo, Héctor; Salamanca, Gastón; Avelino, Heriberto (2013), "Mapudungun", Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 87–96, doi:10.1017/S0025100312000369 
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