Lateral release (phonetics)
Template:Infobox IPA In phonetics, a lateral release is the release of a plosive consonant into a lateral consonant. Such sounds are transcribed in the IPA with a superscript Template:Angle bracket, for example as Template:IPA in English spotless Template:IPA. In English words such as middle in which, historically, the tongue made separate contacts with the alveolar ridge for the Template:IPA and Template:IPA, Template:IPA, many speakers today make only one tongue contact. That is, the Template:IPA is laterally released directly into the Template:IPA: Template:IPA. While this is a minor phonetic detail in English (in fact, it is commonly transcribed as having no audible release: Template:IPA, Template:IPA), it may be more important in other languages.
In most languages (as in English), laterally-released plosives are straightforwardly analyzed as biphonemic clusters whose second element is Template:IPA. In the Hmong language, however, it is sometimes claimed that laterally-released consonants are unitary phonemes. According to Peter Ladefoged and Ian Maddieson, the choice between one or another analysis is purely based on phonological convenience—there is no actual acoustic or articulatory difference between one language's "laterally-released plosive" and another language's biphonemic cluster.
- Ladefoged, Peter and Ian Maddieson. The Sounds of the World's Languages. Wiley-Blackwell, 1996.