Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, velarization is transcribed by one of three diacritics:
#A tilde or swung dash through the letter covers both velarization and pharyngealization, as in IPA| [ɫ] (the velarized equivalent of IPA| [l] )
#A superscript gamma <IPA|ˠ> after the letter standing for the velarized consonant, as in IPA| [tˠ] (the velarized equivalent of IPA| [t] )
#A superscript double-u <IPA|ʷ> indicates either simultaneous velarization and labialization, as in IPA| [sʷ] , or labialization of a velar consonant, as in IPA| [kʷ] .Although electropalatographic studies have shown that there is a continuum of possible degrees of velarization, [Harvcoltxt|Recasens & Espinosa|2005|p=2 citing Harvcoltxt|Recasens, Fontdevila & Pallarès|1995] the IPA offers no way to indicate degrees of velarization, for this difference has not been found to be contrastive in any language.

The velarized alveolar lateral approximant (or "dark l") of many accents of English is an example of a velarized consonant.

In many languages, including Irish and Russian, velarized consonants contrast phonemically with palatalized consonants. The palatalized/velarized contrast is known by other names, especially in language pedagogy: in Irish language teaching, the terms slender (for palatalized) and broad (for velarized) are often used, while in Russian language teaching, the terms soft (for palatalized) and hard (for velarized) are usual. The terms light (for palatalized) and dark (for velarized) are also widespread. For many languages, velarization is generally associated with more dental articulations of coronal consonants so that dark l tends to be dental or dentoalveolar while clear l tends to be retracted to an alveolar position. [Harvcoltxt|Recasens & Espinosa|2005|p=4]

In some accents of English, such as Received Pronunciation, the phoneme IPA|/l/ has "dark" and "light" allophones: the "dark" allophone appears in syllable coda position (e.g. in "full"), while the "light" allophone ("light" meaning "non-velarized" rather than "palatalized" here) appears in syllable onset position (e.g. in "lawn"). Other accents of English, such as Scottish English and Australian English, have "dark L" in all positions, while Hiberno-English has "clear L" in all positions.



*Harvard reference
last = Recasens
first = Daniel
last2 =Fontdevila
first2 = J
last2 =Pallarès
first2 = Maria Dolores.
year= 1995
title= Velarization degree and coarticulatory resistance for /l/ in Catalan and German
journal= Journal of Phonetics
Volume= 23

*Harvard reference
last = Recasens
first = Daniel
last2 =Espinosa
first2 = Aina
year= 2005
title= Articulatory, positional and coarticulatory characteristics for clear /l/ and dark /l/: evidence from two Catalan dialects
journal= Journal of the International Phonetic Association
Volume= 35
issue= 1

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Pharyngealization — is a secondary articulation of consonants or vowels by which the pharynx or epiglottis is constricted during the articulation of the sound. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, pharyngealization can be indicated by one of two methods: #A tilde …   Wikipedia

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