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  • Journal of the International Phonetic Association, Volume 15, Issue 2
  • July 1989, pp. 18-22

The Sociophonetics of /l/ in the Greek of Sphakiá 1

  • Peter Trudgill (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2009

In most varieties of modern Greek, the consonant /l/ is typically a “clear” [l] in most environments, as in /ala/ [ala] αλλ⋯ ‘but’; but with positional variation involving also palatalised and/or palatal variants, as in /skili/ [skiļi] σχυλ⋯ ‘dog’. In a number of areas of northern Greece, velarised [⃒]-type pronunciations may also be found, as they may also be in those areas of Attica and Biotia where Albanian/Greek bilingualism is or has been common (see Trudgill & Tzavaras 1975 – most varieties of Albanian have a phonemic contrast between /l/ and /l/). In his book The Generative Interpretation of Dialect (1972), however, Brian Newton also points out that ‘in the Sphakiá area of Crete /l/ has a retroflex pronunciation before back vowels’. This feature is also cited by Kondosopoulos (1959, 1969, 1974) and Pangalos (1955), who also mention some other areas of Crete where a similar phenomenon occurs. (Following Kondosopoulos and Pangalos, Newton also indicates that /l/ → Ø or /l/ → /w/ in certain Cretan villages.)

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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
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