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Ł or ł, described in as L with stroke, is a letter of the West Slavic (, Kashubian, and ), Łacinka (Latin Belarusian), Łatynka (Latin Ukrainian), Wymysorys, , Dene Suline, , , , and , several proposed for the Venetian language, and the ISO 11940 romanization of the . In Slavic languages, it represents the continuation of non-palatal l ( see ), except where it evolved into /w/. In most non-European languages, it represents a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative or similar sound.

Glyph shape
In normal typefaces, the letter has a stroke approximately in the middle of the vertical stem, passing it at an angle between 70° and 45°, never perpendicularly. In handwriting and typefaces that imitate it, the capital letter has a horizontal stroke through the middle and looks almost exactly the same as the pound sign, £. In the cursive lowercase letter, the stroke is also horizontal and placed on top of the letter instead of going through the middle of the stem, which would not be distinguishable from the letter t. The stroke is either straight or slightly wavy, depending on the style. Unlike l, the letter ł is usually written without a noticeable loop at the top. Most publicly available multilingual cursive typefaces, including commercial ones, feature an incorrect glyph for ł.

A rare variant of the ł glyph is a cursive double-ł ligature, used in words such as Jagiełło or Ałłach (archaic: Allah), where the strokes at the top of the letters are joined into a single stroke.

In Polish, Ł is used to distinguish historical dark () L from clear L. The Polish Ł sounds similar to the English "w".

In 1440, Jakub Parkoszowic proposed a letter resembling \ \ell to represent clear L. For dark L he suggested l with a stroke running in the opposite direction as the modern version. The latter was introduced in 1514–1515 by Stanisław Zaborowski in his Orthographia seu modus recte scribendi et legendi Polonicum idioma quam utilissimus. L with stroke originally represented a velarized alveolar lateral approximant ,Joseph Andrew Teslar & Jadwiga Teslar, A New Polish Grammar 8th Edition, Revised. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, Ltd. (1962): 4 - 5.

"ł = English l hard, dental ; ... It is true, of course, that the majority of Poles nowadays pronounce this sound with the lips, exactly like the English w. But this is a careless pronunciation leading eventually to the disappearance of a sound typically Polish (and Russian also ; it has already disappeared from the other Slavonic languages, Czech and Serbian) ... In articulating l, your tongue ... projects considerably beyond the horizontal line separating the gums from the teeth and touches the gums or the palate. To pronounce ł ... the tongue should be held flat and rigid in the bottom of the mouth with the tip just bent upwards sufficiently to touch the edge of the front upper teeth. (On no account should the tongue extend beyond the line separating the teeth from the gums.) Holding the tongue rigidly in this position, a speaker should then pronounce one of the vowels a, o or u, consciously dropping the tongue on each occasion, to obtain the hard ł quite distinct from the soft l." a pronunciation that is preserved in the eastern part of PolandOscar E. Swan, First Year Polish 2nd Edition, Revised and Expanded. Columbus: Slavica Publishers (1983): xix. "ł (so-called barrel l) is not pronounced like an l except in Eastern dialects and, increasingly infrequently, in stage pronunciation. It is most often pronounced like English w in way, how. "łeb, dała, był, piłka." and among the Polish minority in , , and . This pronunciation is similar to unpalatalised <Л> in native words and grammar forms.

In modern Polish, Ł is normally pronounced (exactly as w in English as a consonant, as in were, will, wall).B. W. Mazur, Colloquial Polish. London: Routledge (1983): 5. "The sounds below exist in English but are pronounced or rendered differently: c ... h, ch ... j ... ł as w in wet, łach ład słowo; r ... w" This pronunciation first appeared among Polish in the 16th century. It was considered an uncultured accent by the (who pronounced Ł almost exactly as: л in East Slavic languages or L in English pull) until the mid-20th century when this distinction gradually began to fade.

The shift from to in Polish has affected all instances of dark L, even word-initially or intervocalically, e.g. ładny ("pretty, nice") is pronounced , słowo ("word") is , and ciało ("body") is . Ł often alternates with clear L, such as the plural forms of and that are associated with masculine personal nouns, e.g. małymali ( → ). Alternation is also common in of nouns, e.g. from to , tłona tle ( → ).

Polish final Ł also often corresponds to Ukrainian word-final <В> (Cyrillic) and Belarusian <Ў> (Cyrillic). Thus, "he gave" is "dał" in Polish, "дав" in Ukrainian, "даў" in Belarusian (all pronounced ), but "дал" in Russian. The old pronunciation of Ł is still fully understandable but is considered theatrical in most regions.

Historic figures
  • Jan Łukasiewicz (), the inventor of
  • Lech Wa łęsa (), Polish labor leader and former president

Some examples of words with 'ł':

  • (Vistula)
  • Łódź
  • Łukasz (Lucas / Luke)
  • Micha ł (Michael)
  • z łoty (zloty / golden)

In countries where Ł is not available, basic L is used instead. Thus, the surname Małecki would be spelled Malecki in a foreign country. Similarly, the stroke is sometimes omitted on the internet, as may happen with all -enhanced letters. Leaving out the diacritic does not impede communication for native speakers, but it may be confusing for those learning Polish.

Other languages
In Belarusian Łacinka, Ł corresponds to л, and is normally pronounced (almost exactly as l in English pull), both in the 1929Б. Тарашкевіч. Беларуская граматыка для школ. – Вільня : Беларуская друкарня ім. Фр. Скарыны, 1929 ; Мн. : «Народная асвета», 1991 факсімільн.. – Выданьне пятае пераробленае і пашыранае and 1962 versions.Ян Станкевіч. Які мае быць парадак літараў беларускае абэцады 1962 // Ян Станкевіч. Збор твораў у двух тамах. Т. 2. – Мн.: Энцыклапедыкс, 2002.

The letter Ł is also used for non-Slavic languages.

In , Ł is used for a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative (), like the Welsh Ll.Campbell, George L. , Concise Compendium of the World's Languages. London: Routledge (1995): 354.

In Venetian Ł is used in substitution for L in many words in which the pronunciation of L has become different for several varieties of the language, such as becoming mute, or becoming the sound of the shorter vowel corresponding to ɰ or /ɛ/. For example: "la gondoła" can be pronounced as (in Venetian dialects) "la góndola", or "la góndoa", or "la góndoea" with such shorter /ɛ̆/.

When writing for some Scandinavian dialects where the pronunciation of a exists, for example in Eastern Norwegian dialects, authors may employ Ł.

Ł is used in orthographic transcription of , an Athabaskan language spoken in Alaska; it represents a lateral fricative. It is also used in Tanacross, a related Athabaskan language.

Computer usage
The codepoints for the letter are U+0142 for the lower case, and U+0141 for the capital. In the typesetting system Ł and ł may be typeset with the commands \L{} and \l{}, respectively. The HTML-codes are &#0321; and &#0322; for Ł and ł, respectively.

0xC5 0x82

The Ł symbol is often associated with the crypto-currency. It represents the largest and most common denomination of Litecoin.

See also

External links

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