Journal of the International Phonetic Association


The Sociophonetics of /l/ in the Greek of Sphakiá 1

Peter Trudgilla1

a1 (University of Essex)

In most varieties of modern Greek, the consonant /l/ is typically a “clear” [l] in most environments, as in /ala/ [ala] αλλxs22EF ‘but’; but with positional variation involving also palatalised and/or palatal variants, as in /skili/ [skiļi] σχυλxs22EF ‘dog’. In a number of areas of northern Greece, velarised [⃒]-type pronunciations may also be found, as they may also be in those areas of Attica and Biotia where Albanian/Greek bilingualism is or has been common (see Trudgill & Tzavaras 1975 – most varieties of Albanian have a phonemic contrast between /l/ and /l/). In his book The Generative Interpretation of Dialect (1972), however, Brian Newton also points out that ‘in the Sphakiá area of Crete /l/ has a retroflex pronunciation before back vowels’. This feature is also cited by Kondosopoulos (1959, 1969, 1974) and Pangalos (1955), who also mention some other areas of Crete where a similar phenomenon occurs. (Following Kondosopoulos and Pangalos, Newton also indicates that /l/ → Ø or /l/ → /w/ in certain Cretan villages.)


1 I am very glad to acknowledge with gratitude the help I have had with this research from Irene Philippaki-Warburton, Andy Butcher, Maria Sifianou, and especially Pandelis Douroudakis.