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English Pronunciation Pod 86

Saturday May 21st 2010
Final /l/ -
How to pronounce words that end in /l/ correctly:
Make your pronunciation clear by learning the right way to pronounce /l/ at the end of words.


In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce the consonant /l/ at the end of words- as in the words "call","style" and "people".

Many students of English often mispronounce /l/ when it comes at the end of the words, pronouncing it like /w/.

This can be confusing to your listener.

If you want to speak English with a standard American accent or British accent, it's important to learn how to pronounce
this sound at the end of words.

The focus of this week's podcast is:

  • Learning how to pronounce the consonant sound /l/ when it comes at the end of words.
  • Practicing this sound in some key American words.

How to Pronounce /l/ :


Extend your tongue forward so that the tongue tip presses against the gum ridge (bump of the roof of your mouth.)
Do not press against the teeth. Press a little further back against the ridge exhale and vocalize.

The air should flow along the sides of your tongue. You can check the airi flow by putting your tongue in the postion for /l/ holding it there and inhaling-
breathe in. You should feel cool air flowing along the sides of your tongue.
It sounds like this /... /

Exercise: Please listen and repeat the following words paying careful attention to the position of your tongue:

cell... deal... fill... pal... call.... bowl ... style

Avoid this mistake :

One of the most common mistakes I see students make is that when they pronounce final /l/, /l/ at the end of the words,
their lips move forward as well.This creates a sound more like /w/ because /w/ is produced by moving
your lips forward or back. So for example, cell sounds like /sɛw/ or "people" sounds like /pipəw/.

If your first languge is Portuguese, French, Chinese, Korean or Japanese, you may especially be making this mistake. It's an important mistake to correct because pronouncing /l/ like /w/ is confusing to your listener and can get in the way of clear communication.

How to correct the mistake :

In order to correct this mistake, I encourage you to use a small mirror while pronouncing words that end in /l/.

Watch your lips carefully as you pronounce them. Are they moving forward? They should not be.
You want your tongue to move forward for /l/ but your lips to remain at rest.
Keeping your lips at rest will prevent you from creating /w/ instead of an /l/ sound.

Even though your lips want to follow the forward movement of your tongue, you need to "keep them put."
You want to build the coordination of moving your tongue for /l/ but not your lips.
The tongue muscles are working but the lip muscles are relaxing.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words paying careful attention to your lips. Use a mirror , Go slowly.

cell... deal... fill... pal... call.... bowl ...style

Exercise: Now let's try some more difficult words that I often hear my private students mispronounce:
You'll notice that nost of these words end in /bəl/ or /pəl/.

able... cable... double... people...

Mastering final /l/ takes time and practice.

But the key to mastering this sound is slow repetitive practice on a daily basis. You have to repeat and repeat until you develop what's known
as muscle memory- the ability to do something automatically, without thinking.
Accent reduction is a lot like physical activities such as sports, dancing or playing an instrument. You have to first do it slowly and correctly
in order to do it quickly and correctly.

In other words, you need training!

The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:

If you want more practice exercises and are interested in learning all of the the sounds of English,
I recommend that you try my full English pronunciation course in mp3-Best Accent Training mp3s!

No matter what your first language is, Best Accent Training has the lessons you need
for speaking English clearly and correctly.

All the sounds of English in one course!

Best Accent Training mp3s contains all the sounds of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
    You'll get all the vowels of English, all the consonants, syllable stress lessons, intonation lessons and connected speech.

Best of all, Best Accent Training is a fast and easy download that you can put on your mp3 player and take with you wherever you go!

I specifically designed it for that purpose.

Please donate to English pronunciation Pod! Thank you for your donations! Your support helps make English Pronunciation Pod free
and accessible to anybody who wants to improve their accent!

Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at:   contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!


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After practicing with Best Accent Training daily,
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- Domingo Ponce Rodriguez- - Marketing Manager USA (Spain)

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