Lose your accent! English “L”

Place your tongue correctly for the different English L's
Place your tongue correctly for the different English L’s

You can sound like a native.

English has different ways of pronouncing “L”, especially in the US. Generally at the beginning of syllables the tip of the tongue goes up, what we call a “light L.” At the end of syllables, the tip of the tongue stays down, as well as the middle of the tongue, what we call a “dark L.”

This video demonstrates the different pronunciation of dark and light “L” in different contexts, using multiple examples.

Even though speaking with a foreign accent seems like a normal state, you can learn how to make the sounds that sound easy in the mouths of natives. This video series increases your awareness of all the parts of your mouth you use for speaking. A language never felt so good!

Dr. Thomas Coates blew my mind. He taught me how my tongue, lips, jaw, and teeth create language. Like a Chinese calligrapher learns how each finger holds a brush, like a yogi breathes with specific depth and stretch of her diaphragm, I took the first steps towards mastering language: losing my accent.


Photo credit: M Glasgow via Foter.com / CC BY


3 thoughts on “Lose your accent! English “L”

  1. Rachel

    In Australian English – at least South Australian, but I’m reasonably certain in all varieties – we don’t pronounce the L at the end of the syllable very well. It usually comes out as something more like a W. There’s a joke that you can pick South Australians by asking them what comes out of cows – if it’s “miwk”, you’re from South Australia. (You can also meet people called Wiw or Wiwyam travelling on the raiw-ro’) But I’m pretty sure most other states say that, too.

    Gaelic has “slender” (light) L and “broad” (dark) L, depending on which vowels are around it. We don’t have dark L at all in Australian English so it’s something we’re often drilled on at Sgoil Naiseanta. So words like “latha” (day) and “falbh” (go) are key to finding out who has good pronunciation. I didn’t learn to pronounce them properly until about two years ago because a lot of people around me don’t make the distinction if they’re not native speakers. I think the broad Gaelic L is a little “darker” than the one you’re using – the sound feels like it’s coming right from the back of my throat and the underneath of the tongue is pressed right up against my teeth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t some Gaelic influence in our dialect. My kids make fun of me because I say “both” as if it had a dark “L” in the middle. My tongue completely flattens when I say it.


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