Making L Sound Better

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a number of clients whose L doesn’t sound right. The tongue-tip is lifting to the alveolar ridge, but the sound is muffled and just a little distorted. Do you have any suggestions?

The tongue-tip probably is elevating without the full tongue thinning enough. Try this:

  • Have the client say La-La-La with the jaw lower.  Lowering the jaw usually thins the tongue.
  • Have him say Ah first, and have him keep saying Ah while he says L. Make sure Ah is made with the jaw low and the mouth nice and round.
  • If necessary, give the client something wide on which to brace the mouth open further.  Try a toothbrush handle, the side of a tongue depressor, a large bite block, or even the child’s own finger placed between the upper and lower teeth on the side.
  • Teach him discriminate the better sound that results with the jaw lower, and teach him to achieve that sound each time.

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