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Articulate: L-L-L-Like It Or Love It

Oh /l/, how is it that a letter with such anemic frequency (~4%) in the language can trip us up so thoroughly.

I suspect it is your tendency to bring the tip of the tongue up to the front of the mouth but not always to a specific place that is at issue. You do like to move around, don’t you? Shifting in color depending on what vowels you are hanging with or whether you are early or late. Moving from the alveolar ridge to the teeth following rules most people don’t know. It isn’t fair /l/, not fair at all.

Okay, so perhaps I took that little rhetoric too far but you get the idea. The letter /l/ is tricky and not just for speakers with a different language of origin. The best way to help your voice continue to have presence despite the /l/s in your phrase is to let them “hum” a bit.

That is to notice the way the initial formation of the sound vibrates as the tip of your tongue touches whichever surface is appropriate to that /l/ variant. It is in essence what we do almost every time we say ‘like’ and ‘love’ as if we want to savor these words more.

With just a little practice your /l/ can add to the vibrancy of your voice rather than inhibiting your flow.

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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