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American Accent Training (a book that should help who speaks English as second language with the pronunciation of American English) says that L is pronounced differently at the end of a word. Listening to the pronunciation of words with a final L given from the OALD running on my computer, I don't see any difference.

What is exactly the difference between pronouncing the L at the beginning of a word, and at the end of a word?

The book shows the following words, for explaining the pronunciation of the final L.

A  hole  hold    hone  hoed
   call  called  con   cod

B  fill  full    fool  fail
   fell  feel    fuel  furl

Similarly, it shows the following words for explaining the pronunciation of the middle L.

belly   Benny    Betty
caller  Conner   cotter
alley   Annie's  at ease
  • 1
    In my (British) English, there's not usually anything like an L at the end of a spoken word - it's more of a W. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 7 '13 at 13:52
  • Same in my part of America -- word final L is vocalic except in careful speech -- and even elsewhere L is dark and not light. – hunter Mar 4 '14 at 9:52
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If you mean the difference between the two L’s in the word little, the first one [l] is the same as the Italian L of your acquaintance and is sometimes called a “bright L” or a “clear L”, while the second is an allophone of English sometimes referred to as a “dark L”, written [lˠ] or [ɫ].

The key difference is that the dark version is velarized, which here means that the back of your tongue flattens out and moves up a bit. The normal demo-word for this sound is FULL. If you have ever heard Catalan spoken, you will find that the Catalans often have dark L’s where a Castilian speaker would have a bright one like you do. It probably sounds a bit “swallowed” to your ear.

The exact distribution of these two allophones for phonemic /l/ varies by region, speaker, and syllable position. Some speakers have only one or the other of the two, while others have both. [reference]

Technically speaking, the dark L is:

The velarized alveolar lateral approximant, also known as dark l, is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The regular symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨lˠ⟩, though the dedicated letter ⟨ɫ⟩ is perhaps more common.

In contrast, the other L is:

The alveolar lateral approximant, also known as clear l, is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is ⟨l⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.

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