Adult can't pronounce /L/

I need help.

I moved to Canada when I was 3 and have lived here since. I can speak, read, and write English well, but I have trouble pronouncing /L/. This has been an issue for me since I can remember and it's always been the reason for anxiety and embarrassment when being in social settings. I'm in my mid 20s now and over the years this issue has been constantly at the back of my mind, but I lived with it as I thought this is something that is a birth defect. When I was in elementary school I remember seeing a speech therapist. I remember she helped and I did get better at pronouncing /L/.

It's not all words with L. It depends on where in the word the letter is. For example, the word 'Line' would sound like 'Rhine' or 'Glass' will sound like 'Grass', or 'Like" comes out as "rhike'. If the letter L is in the middle or end then sometimes it comes out correct. Like 'cruel', or 'world', or 'purple', but 'email' will sound like 'emailrh'.

I can say 'R' words, but they aren't the clearest, but 100x better than 'L'

I'm looking for advice on what to do. Is this a medical issue? Is this something I can fix with therapy? Or should I just expect to live the rest of my life? I know if I can fix this then my quality of life will go up exponentially.

Any advice is welcome and appreciated.

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Mar 02, 2021
by: Anonymous

I feel you.
i got a presentation.
And i also can’t say the ‘L’.

Feb 07, 2020
Recommend Therapy
by: Bridget


I'm sorry to hear that this has been such a problem for you and that it is affecting your quality of life. I HIGH recommend seeking out speech therapy. An evaluation will be able to discern if your errors are functional or structural. However, since you can say /l/ in certain word placements, it is most likely functional.

Here are some home practice ideas that might be able to help as you set up your evaluation.

How To Say L.

L Practice Materials.

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Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech-language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference. Follow Bridget at Facebook and Pinterest for more fun!

Author of  child language development eBook series