“Reckon old Dill’ll be coming home tomorrow.” (Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird)

How do you pronounce ‘ll after ll? (Would you let me get the IPA (phonetic alphabet))

  • 4
    I'm surprised this has a close vote already. This particular instance is from a classic in American literature, but the answer could be useful to anyone else who wants to use this same construction in the future ("There goes Jack; watch, Jill'll come tumbling down at any moment.") – J.R. Apr 18 '13 at 9:19
  • Me too! It is a real constructive question. I learned a new thing by this. – Persian Cat Apr 18 '13 at 10:51
  • @J.R. I guess that the users who voted to close think this only happens in few cases. – kiamlaluno Apr 18 '13 at 13:42
  • @kiamlaluno: It wouldn't necessarily be restricted to names of people, either. I heard a financial analyst on the radio today; he said, "I think Apple'll be up next quarter, but Dell'll be down." (Mind you, I wouldn't write it that way, unless the analyst had enunciated it that way, but it's still an interesting question, I think.) – J.R. Apr 18 '13 at 19:05
  • @J.R. I find it interesting too, also because I think few English learners would know how to pronounce that. – kiamlaluno Apr 18 '13 at 19:08

Since it's a contraction of Dill will it's "Dill-ull" (ull as in full) and run together with no pause.


| improve this answer | |
  • 7
    This is the “correct” way to say it. But in fact, in my part of the country (which is Harper Lee’s), the /l/ in “Dill” would be reduced to a ʊ-glide unless followed by a syllable beginning with a vowel; so we’d actually say /'dɪʷl/. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 18 '13 at 12:34
  • @StoneyB- Agreed. – Jim Apr 18 '13 at 14:45
  • @StoneyB: I think for the quoted example I'd be more inclined to pronounce it as something closer to "Dill luh", though with other words I might alter the consonant of the main word and keep the ending of "will". – supercat Oct 2 '14 at 16:04

Wiktionary says 'll is pronounced /əl/, [əl], [l̩], [ɫ̩], [ʊ], [ɯ], i.e. phonemically it's /əl/ and phonetically it's one of [əl], [l̩], [ɫ̩], [ʊ], [ɯ] (possibly an incomplete list) depending on your variety of English.

To me, [ɫ̩] is a cross between [l] and [w], so a "w" coloured "l". [w] is a semivowel and is related to [u], which [ʊ] and [ɯ] are similar to. So all the sounds are similar, the main difference being vowel vs. schwa with consonant vs. syllabic consonant.

So Dill'll is pronounced /'dɪləl/, with the exact pronunciation depending on your variety of English.

| improve this answer | |
  • You're right. (I think I disagree with Jim. I don't pronounce Dill'll as /'dɪlʊl/, rather, I pronounce it as /'dɪləl/). 👍👍👍 /'dɪlʊl/ sounds rather awkward. – Decapitated Soul Mar 29 at 6:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.