Voiced dental and alveolar lateral fricatives

The voiced alveolar lateral fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiced dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral fricatives is ɮ (sometimes referred to as lezh), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is K\.

Voiced alveolar lateral fricative
IPA Number149
Entity (decimal)ɮ
Unicode (hex)U+026E
Audio sample
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Features of the voiced alveolar lateral fricative:

  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is an oral consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only.
  • It is a lateral consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream over the sides of the tongue, rather than down the middle.


Dental or denti-alveolar

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Amis Kangko accent Interdental [ɮ̪͆]


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Adyghe къалэ [qaːɮa]  'town' Can also be pronounced as [l]
Bura[1] Contrasts with [ɬ] and [ʎ̝̊].[1]
Kabardian блы [bɮə]  'seven' Can also be pronounced as [l]
Mongolian долоо [tɔɮɔː] 'seven' Sometimes realized as [ɬ]
Sassarese a caldhu [ˈkaɮu]  'hot'
Tera[2] dlepti [ɮè̞pti] 'planting'
Zulu[3] indlala [ínˈɮàlà] 'hunger'

In addition, a pharyngealized voiced alveolar lateral fricative [ɮˤ]  is reconstructed to be the ancient Classical Arabic pronunciation of Ḍād; the letter is now pronounced in Modern Standard Arabic as a pharyngealized voiced coronal stop, as alveolar [] or denti-alveolar [d̪ˤ].


In 1938, a symbol shaped similarly to heng was approved as the official IPA symbol for the voiced alveolar lateral fricative, replacing ɮ. It was suggested at the same time, however, that a compromise shaped like something between the two may also be used at the author's discretion. It was this compromise version that was included in the 1949 Principles of the International Phonetic Association and the subsequent IPA charts, until it was replaced again by ɮ at the 1989 Kiel Convention.[4] Despite the Association's prescription, ɮ is nonetheless seen in literature from the 1960s to the 1980s.[5][6][7][8][9]

See also


  1. Grønnum (2005), pp. 154–155.
  2. Tench (2007), p. 228.
  3. Ladefoged (2005), p. 170.
  4. Wells, John (3 November 2006). "The symbol ɮ". John Wells’s phonetic blog. Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  5. Newman, Paul (1964). "A word list of Tera". Journal of West African Languages. 1 (2): 33–50.
  6. Catford, J. C.; Ladefoged, Peter (1968). Working Papers in Phonetics 11: Practical Phonetic Exercises. University of California, Los Angeles.
  7. Brosnahan, L. F.; Malmberg, Bertil (1970). Introduction to Phonetics. Cambridge University Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-521-21100-X.
  8. Ladefoged, Peter (1971). Preliminaries to Linguistic Phonetics. University of Chicago Press. p. 54. ISBN 0-226-46787-2.
  9. MacKay, Ian (1987). Phonetics: The Science of Speech Production (2nd ed.). Little, Brown and Company. p. 106. ISBN 0-316-54238-5.


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