How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

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xBlackWolfx
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How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by xBlackWolfx » 16 Aug 2010 04:31

It's a sound I came across in a conlang called 'Kotava'. It exists in Spanish along with alot of other European natlangs (in Spanish it's represented with ll, in the IPA its ʎ).

When you're learning Spanish, you're normally just told to pronounce it as an English y (or j in the IPA). But Kotava actually contains both sounds and differentiates between them!

When i try to pronounce something that's actually distinct from j, i end up with something that sounds far more like ɲ, which ironnically also exists i the language.

I try to prounce a 'palatal lateral' by raising the middle of my tongue to my hard palate, but that tends to come out sounding like a nasal rather than an approximant. I'm having a hard time though learning to differentiate it from j. The sound file on wikipedia has very littel difference between the two. This is rather odd since I'm used to pronouncing laterals, but the ones i can pronounce are all alveolars and retroflexes, not palatals.

Can anyone help? I'm tempted to just resort to pronouncing it as a palatalized l.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Ossicone » 16 Aug 2010 04:43

Sorry mate, I can't hear a damn difference between them.
(And I speak Spanish and English.)

Is there a real language that differentiates them?

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by sangi39 » 16 Aug 2010 04:57

Well apparently the two are still distinguished in some regional varients of Spanish, Catalan and Galician although, as you and Ossicone pointed out they have basically merged into /j/ in other dialects. Hungarian used to contrast them but doesn't anymore but Italian, Scots Gaelic and Quechua do.

Apparently, lateral consonants become increasingly difficult to form properly the further back along the tongue they're pronounced due to decreasing flexibility so I think it could be suggested that the palatal lateral merging with /j/ might be a particularly common sound change. The (presumably) independent change in Hungarian and Spanish indicates that it's at least not an isolated incident restricted to the Iberian Peninsula.
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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Wanderer » 16 Aug 2010 12:20

I thought it wasn't too hard, though if I don't pronounce it carefully I often say [lʲ]. If a make an 'l' but make sure my tongue doesn't touch anything in the alveolar region, I pronounce a [ʎ].

The [ʟ] gives me much more trouble.....

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by masako » 16 Aug 2010 15:37

The subtlety between some phonemes is something that I tend to think of as greatly exaggerated.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Raydred » 20 Aug 2010 03:22

I can clearly tell the difference. My native language has the [ʎ] and to some extent you can consider it to have [j].

There's a certain thing in the sound of all consonants that make contact with the palate which helps telling the difference between [ʎ] and [j]([ʎ] makes contact, [j] doesn't. Consonants like [ʎ] sound more "spittish"(comes from spit) and also more "babyish".
And also I can detect the [j] because of how similiar it is to and I can detect that feeling.

One thing I found out, that was slowing me down while learning IPA was not relaxing and tensing up all my vocal system, relaxing really helps.
To start learning it... Can you do a [c]? Do one and try to keep the center of your tongue stil touching the palate, still doing that let some air out. You supposedly now you should still having your tongue against your palate but the lateral side of tongue will be slightly dropped down letting air pass through.
That exact position is the [ʎ] position. Now to say [ʎa]:
Get in that position, use your voice and drop from that position to an a.


Also [lʲ] and [ʎ] are extremly similiar as for how they sound. I can't tell the difference between them and I can make both.

PS: Wikipedia sound samples are good for having an idea about it but they're full of errors. If I remember correctly in the sound sample of [ʎ] he said something like [ʎja] which is different.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by xBlackWolfx » 20 Aug 2010 04:42

i gave up on trying to translate that book, nothing makes sense to me it's like she's just throwing random words together, half of which have nothing to do with languages.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by loftyD » 24 Aug 2010 21:10

my spanish assistant pronounced it like an English "j" but with the tongue behind the top two teeth. Hope that helps.
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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by imploder » 25 Aug 2010 00:06

[ʎ] is not my favorite sound to have as a phoneme, I think I often mispronounce it as [ʝ] or [ɟ]. The correct way is to say [j] and ...well... make it lateral :-)

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by imploder » 25 Aug 2010 00:09

Ossicone wrote:Is there a real language that differentiates them?
Slovak, for example.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Raydred » 25 Aug 2010 03:03

imploder wrote:he correct way is to say [j] and ...well... make it lateral :-)
I disagree.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Raydred » 25 Aug 2010 03:04

Raydred wrote:
imploder wrote:he correct way is to say [j] and ...well... make it lateral :-)
I disagree.
imploder wrote:
Ossicone wrote:Is there a real language that differentiates them?
Slovak, for example.
There's no reason not to. To my ear which is used to both those sounds it's very, easy to distinguish them.

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Arzemju » 25 Aug 2010 03:13

Raydred wrote:
Raydred wrote:
imploder wrote:he correct way is to say [j] and ...well... make it lateral :-)
I disagree.
imploder wrote:
Ossicone wrote:Is there a real language that differentiates them?
Slovak, for example.
There's no reason not to. To my ear which is used to both those sounds it's very, easy to distinguish them.
It's very easy to distinguish them if you pay attention, but I don't think it's a real mistake to make it similar to /j/
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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by Alces » 04 Sep 2010 18:49

The way I learnt it was to pronounce /lj/, and pronounce it very quickly, until the /l/ assimilates to the /j/. (I haven't actually learnt a language with /L/, but what I get from this sounds like all the recordings I've heard of it.)

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Re: How to pronounce the palatal lateral approximant?

Post by goneriku » 07 Sep 2010 07:27

/L/ has always been pretty easy for me to pronounce. I can see how one can confuse /L lj/, but /j/? The difference is fairly obvious, as someone else said earlier /j/ lacks the lateral component- just focus on that and keep practicing. You'll get it eventually.
I'd like to hear a Spanish speaker that still distinguishes /L j/.
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