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# Ł  ( L Stroke )

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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 (), except in where it evolved further 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 , the letter is usually written without a noticeable loop at the top. Most publicly available multilingual cursive typefaces, including commercial ones, feature an incorrect glyph for .

A rare variant of the 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.

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

In 1440, proposed a letter resembling $\ \ell$ to represent clear L. For dark L he suggested 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 , a pronunciation that is preserved in the eastern part of Poland and among the Polish minority in , , and . This pronunciation is similar to unpalatalised in native words and grammar forms.

In modern Polish, is normally pronounced (exactly as w in English as a consonant, as in will). This pronunciation first appeared among Polish lower classes in the 16th century. It was considered an uncultured accent by the upper classes (who pronounced as ) 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 verbs in the past tense 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 (Cyrillic) and Belarusian (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.

Examples
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 contexts where is not available as a glyph, 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.

In 1980-s, with western computers available in Poland which at that times lacked Polish diacritics, it was a common practice to use a pound sterling sign (£) for Ł. This practice vanished as soon as DOS-based or Mac computers came with a proper codepage.

Other languages
In Belarusian Łacinka (both in the 1929 and 1962
(2018). 9789856599463, Энцыклапедыкс.
versions), corresponds to Cyrillic , and is normally pronounced (almost exactly as in English pull).

In , is used for a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative //, like the Welsh .

is used in orthographic transcription of [[Ahtna|Ahtna language]], an Athabaskan language spoken in Alaska; it represents a [[breathy|Breathy voice]] lateral fricative.  It is also used in Tanacross, a related Athabaskan language.


In Venetian is used as substitution for 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 or . 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 IPA for some Scandinavian dialects where the pronunciation of a /ɽ/ exists, for example in Eastern Norwegian dialects, authors may employ .

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

ł
LATIN SMALL LETTER
L WITH STROKE
hex
0142
0xC5 0x82
&#x0142;
88
88
92
B3
F9
B8

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

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## Łł-handwriting.png (2018-08-05)

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