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L l
("See below)
""Writing cursive forms of L
Writing system "Latin script
Type "Alphabetic and "Logographic
Language of origin "Latin language
Phonetic usage ["l]
Unicode value U+004C, U+006C
Alphabetical position 12
Time period ~-700 to present
Descendants  • "ɮ
 • " "
 • " "
 • "£
 • "
 • "
 • "
 • "
Sisters "Л

Variations ("See below)
Other letters commonly used with "l(x), "lj, "ll, "ly

L ("named el "/ɛl/)[1] is the twelfth "letter of the "modern English alphabet and the "ISO basic Latin alphabet, used in words such as lagoon, lantern, and less.



Egyptian "hieroglyph Phoenician
Etruscan L Greek
""PhoenicianL-01.svg ""EtruscanL-01.svg ""Lambda uc lc.svg

Lamedh may have come from a pictogram of an ox goad or cattle prod. Some have suggested a shepherd's staff.[2]

Use in writing systems[edit]

Phonetic and phonemic transcription[edit]

In phonetic and phonemic transcription, the "International Phonetic Alphabet uses ⟨l⟩ to represent the "lateral alveolar approximant.


In "English orthography, ⟨l⟩ usually represents the phoneme "/l/, which can have several sound values, depending on whether it occurs before or after a vowel. The "alveolar lateral approximant (the sound represented in "IPA by lowercase [l]) occurs before a vowel, as in lip or blend, while the "velarized alveolar lateral approximant (IPA [ɫ]) occurs in bell and milk. This velarization does not occur in many European languages that use ⟨l⟩; it is also a factor making the pronunciation of ⟨l⟩ difficult for users of languages that lack ⟨l⟩ or have different values for it, such as "Japanese or some southern dialects of "Chinese. A medical condition or speech impediment restricting the pronunciation of ⟨l⟩ is known as "lambdacism.

In English orthography, ⟨l⟩ is often silent in such words as walk or could (though its presence can modify the preceding vowel letter's sound), and it is usually silent in such words as palm and psalm; however, there is some regional variation.

Other languages[edit]

⟨l⟩ usually represents the sound [l] or some other "lateral consonant.

Common digraphs include ⟨ll⟩, which has a value identical to ⟨l⟩ in English, but has the separate value "voiceless alveolar lateral fricative (IPA [ɬ]) in "Welsh, where it can appear in an initial position. In Spanish, ⟨ll⟩ represents [ʎ], [j], [ʝ], [ɟʝ], or [ʃ], depending on dialect.

A "palatal lateral approximant or palatal ⟨l⟩ (IPA [ʎ]) occurs in many languages, and is represented by ⟨gli⟩ in "Italian, ⟨ll⟩ in "Spanish and "Catalan, ⟨lh⟩ in "Portuguese, and ⟨ļ⟩ in "Latvian.

Other uses[edit]

The capital letter L is used as the currency sign for the "Albanian lek and the "Honduran lempira. It was often used, especially in handwriting, as the currency sign for the "Italian lira. It is also infrequently used as a substitute for the "pound sign (£), which is based on it.

The "Roman numeral Ⅼ represents the number "50.[3]

Forms and variants[edit]

In some fonts, the lowercase letter ⟨l⟩ may be difficult to distinguish from the "digit one, ⟨1⟩, or an uppercase letter ⟨"I⟩. In recent times, many new fonts have curved the lowercase form to the right, and it is increasingly common, especially on European road signs and advertisements. A more modern version based on the handwritten "letter-like ⟨ℓ⟩ is sometimes used in mathematics and elsewhere. In Japan, for example, this is the symbol for the "liter. Its "LaTeX command is \ell, its codepoint is U+2113, and its numeric character reference is "ℓ".

Related characters[edit]

Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet[edit]

Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations[edit]

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets[edit]

Computing codes[edit]

Character L l
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
"Unicode 76 U+004C 108 U+006C
"UTF-8 76 4C 108 6C
"Numeric character reference L L l l
"EBCDIC family 211 D3 147 93
"ASCII 1 76 4C 108 6C
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations[edit]

"NATO phonetic "Morse code
Lima ·–··
""ICS Lima.svg ""Semaphore Lima.svg ""Sign language L.svg ""⠇
"Signal flag "Flag semaphore "American manual alphabet ("ASL "fingerspelling) "Braille


  1. ^ "L" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989) Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. (1993); "el", "ells", op. cit.
  2. ^ "Ancient Hebrew Research Center". Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Gordon, Arthur E. (1983). Illustrated Introduction to Latin Epigraphy. University of California Press. p. 44. "ISBN "9780520038981. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Ruppel, Klaas; Aalto, Tero; Everson, Michael (2009-01-27). "L2/09-028: Proposal to encode additional characters for the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet" (PDF). 
  6. ^ Cook, Richard; Everson, Michael (2001-09-20). "L2/01-347: Proposal to add six phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Everson, Michael (2006-08-06). "L2/06-266: Proposal to add Latin letters and a Greek symbol to the UCS" (PDF). 
  8. ^ Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Everson, Michael; Baker, Peter; Emiliano, António; Grammel, Florian; Haugen, Odd Einar; Luft, Diana; Pedro, Susana; Schumacher, Gerd; Stötzner, Andreas (2006-01-30). "L2/06-027: Proposal to add Medievalist characters to the UCS" (PDF). 
  10. ^ Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "L2/11-202: Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF). 
  11. ^ Everson, Michael; Baker, Peter; Emiliano, António; Grammel, Florian; Haugen, Odd Einar; Luft, Diana; Pedro, Susana; Schumacher, Gerd; Stötzner, Andreas (2006-01-30). "L2/06-027: Proposal to add Medievalist characters to the UCS" (PDF). 

External links[edit]

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