Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lateral Approximant of Norwegian

The lateral approximant of Norwegian can be pronounced in different ways.  It can be pronounced as an alveolar lateral, alveolar velarized lateral and even as a retroflex flap.  In southwestern Norway, the alveolar lateral is common.  In the north and east of the country, the retroflex flap is often used.  In the southeastern part of the country, i.e., Oslo, the alveolar lateral and alveolar velarized lateral are both used.

In dialects which use both the alveolar lateral and the alveolar velarized lateral, the two are allophones. The alveolar lateral occurs after a front vowel and the alveolar velarized lateral occurs after a back vowel.  The alveolar lateral occurs in the following words:

mel flour
sill herring
jul Christmas

The vowel in jul is a high central rounded vowel, but phonologically it can be classified as a front vowel.  For this reason, it is followed by an alveolar lateral.

The alveolar velarized lateral occurs in the following words:

ball ball
halv half
tolv twelve

The alveolar velarized lateral occurs after back vowels.  However, the alveolar velarized lateral occurs in the syllable-coda.  If the lateral is in the syllable-onset, it is usually realized as an alveolar lateral.  This is the usual pronunciation of palass palace in which the lateral is in the onset of the second syllable.  Here velarization is not common.

The lateral of Norwegian has different realizations.  In the dialects of southeastern Norway, an area which includes Oslo, the alveolar lateral and the alveolar velarized lateral are common.  The two are in an allophonic relationship.  The alveolar lateral occurs after front vowels and the alveolar velarized lateral occurs after back vowels.




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