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Erica Rösi Pedersen
06/13/2013 09:22:00 PDT
We have created new discussions on each of the 500 words pages. This is my first posting on the L sound.

The L sound is usually not too difficult for students. A few languages have a very heavy L sound, and then the student just needs to reduce the sound—make it lighter.

The main challenge with the letter L is when it comes near R. Though there are many languages and each one is unique, so many people of different nationalities struggle with words that have both R and L. These words are very tricky because both R and L are half vowels. This means that they act as vowels when in the middle or at the end of a word, as in “ur” and “ul” with “u” being a simple schwa sound, the “u” in “up.”

So in a word like “world,” there is a slight “u” in front of the R and before the L, as in “wur-ruld.” You can see that this extra sound almost makes the R into a double R. And this one-syllable word almost sounds like it has two syllables. Notice that the O is reduced, and it becomes that soft, extra sound before the R. The same format works with similar words like “pearl” and “girl,” “pur-rul” and “gur-rul” respectively.

I have a private student right now who is reading a novel called THE PEARL by John Steinbeck. It is a short novel and a wonderful piece of classic literature that is available in many print and audio editions. By page 20, my student had mastered the word “pearl.” For anyone who struggles with the RL combination, THE PEARL is a great book to enjoy!