Introduction: It is well-known that lateral /l/ in English has both clear and dark realisations. It has been shown that the dark /l/ exhibits lower F2 acoustically and involves some raising in the velar region articulatorily. However, at the same time, it has been shown that vowels also entail different degrees of lingual contact. Therefore, it is not clear whether the velar raising observed in dark /l/ can be attributed to co-articulatory effect from the neighbouring vowels or not. The goal of the current study is to test whether there is any co-articulatory effect of vowel on the Percent Contact of a clear realisation of laterals in English.
Method: Simultaneous acoustic and EPG recordings of six speakers were collected under the ACCOR project. The targeted lateral approximant was embedded in a V1_V2 context. Three vowels, namely, /i/, /u/ and /a/, were used in both V1 and V2 slots to yield nine different vowel contexts.
Results: All six speakers formed a complete closure across the tongue in the apico-laminal region during the production of the lateral approximants. However, the location and the degree of lingual contact varied from speaker to speaker. The data also showed the effect of V1 on the degree of Percent Contact for the target lateral approximant. There was more Percent Contact when V1 was /i/ and /u/ than /a/. No effect of V2 on the Percent Contact was found, nor was there any interaction between V1 and V2.
Conclusions: The results showed that the laterals were realised as ‘clear’ variants and complete closure was formed in the anterior region, consistent with earlier findings. We also found a significant carryover effect from V1 on the degree of Percent Contact during the production of the clear /l/.