American English Phonetics

Another American English Faculty Project

All GA speakers velarize /l/ in the coda. Thus, velarization applies not only to unisyllabic /l/ in words like pull, help, killed, but also to ambisyllabic /l/, as in belly, silly, volley, middle, Italy. The rule can be formalized as follows:

l-VELARIZATION: /l/ is velarized when it occurs in the coda

l-VOCALIZATION: /l/ may be vocalized when unisyllabic in the coda



Although in the pronunciation of some GA speakers, /l/ always has some degree of velarization, a clearer variety is used in unisyllabic onsets, as in lean, listen, light, flee, police and lose, look, low, law.