I have a friend who always pronounces the l's in walk and talk.

Is this regional? Is there anywhere that standardly pronounces the l?

  • From personal experience, I have never heard anyone pronounce either of those l’s, apart from non-native speakers. Is your friend a native speaker? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 23 '13 at 12:23
  • Just those words? What about, say, belt or milk? Personally I don't enunciate the /l/ in any of them (I just lengthen the vowel with a /w/), but I suspect that many of those that do aren't always consistent. – FumbleFingers Dec 23 '13 at 13:37
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    @FumbleFingers: walk, chalk, talk, baulk, caulk, stalk, and so forth. Most people in the U.S. pronounce the /l/ in belt and milk, some pronounce the /l/ in calm and palm, but very few if any pronounce the /l/ in words that rhyme with walk (actually, I just noticed that description's ambiguous ... I rhyme hawk with walk, and I don't think anybody pronounces an /l/ in that). – Peter Shor Dec 23 '13 at 17:05
  • @Peter: I see. When I wrote aren't always consistent that's what I meant (some people enunciate the /l/ in some words, but not in others). But seeing your hawk/walk example made me realise that I personally am not even consistent with the same word. I'd never have an /l/ in hawk, obviously (it's too much trouble for my "lazy cottonmouth" in any word of this general type). But the sound I actually make before the final /k/ seems to vary across a continuum from /r/ to /w/. – FumbleFingers Dec 23 '13 at 17:45
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    I only very rarely hear someone pronounce "walk" as "wok", and it's usually a signal that they're from Philadelphia or thereabouts. – Hot Licks Jan 22 '16 at 22:16

I can't speak for your one individual, but in general yes, it is regional. Some speakers of Southern American English will appear to pronounce the /l/ in the words "walk" and "talk". It has also been reported from speakers of African American Vernacular English, a related dialect.

SAE is spoken across the south-eastern quarter of the continental United States. AAVE is spoken in urban areas across the country, and is often found in popular media, particularly hip-hop, blues, and other American music.

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I have lived in the Southern U.S. for most of my life, and I do pronounce the /l/ in words such as walk, talk, chalk, etc. I was astounded recently when, upon looking up a pronunciation guide for "walk" in a dictionary, I saw that no /l/ sound was indicated.

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  • Welcome, Maggie, to ELU. What you have said is certainly evidence that at least one other person than mentioned in the question pronounces 'l': yourself. You might notice that so far all the responses have been 'comments' rather than 'answers'. That is a better place for your helpful comment. To send an ANSWER, you need to have done some research into what counts as correct or incorrect pronunciation or whether there is such a thing as a 'local accent' as opposed to a 'correct accent' (as spoken inside the beltway) . You could add whether the 'l' in chalk is universal where you live. – Tuffy Oct 16 '18 at 17:41
  • @Tuffy unfortunately Maggie is new so can't leave comments I believe – Unrelated Oct 17 '18 at 0:28
  • @Unrelated Oh. Thank you. I must go through the system again to understand it properly. – Tuffy Oct 17 '18 at 8:10

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