“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, 2013 at 9:19
  • Me too! It is a real constructive question. I learned a new thing by this. Apr 18, 2013 at 10:51
  • @J.R. I guess that the users who voted to close think this only happens in few cases.
    – apaderno
    Apr 18, 2013 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, 2013 at 19:05
  • @J.R. I find it interesting too, also because I think few English learners would know how to pronounce that.
    – apaderno
    Apr 18, 2013 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


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


  • 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/. Apr 18, 2013 at 12:34
  • @StoneyB- Agreed.
    – Jim
    Apr 18, 2013 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, 2014 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.


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