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Lambdacism is a sound change that creates a lateral consonant, or more specifically, a lateral approximant.

Lambdacism has been a frequent sound change especially in the Indo-Iranian languages, where earlier *l had merged with *r.

  • *d > *ð > *l, unconditionally (in parts of Eastern Iranian incuding Pashto; in Tavastian Finnish)
  • *ɖ⁽ʱ⁾ > *ɭ⁽ʱ⁾, between vowels (in Middle Indo-Aryan)
  • *rθ or *rð > *l (in parts of Western Iranian)
  • *ɬ > *l (in northern and eastern dialects of Khanty)

Among the Uralic languages, lambdacism frequently affects Proto-Uralic *d₁ and *d₂, although some scholars reconstruct these as lateral consonants to begin with (e.g. /ɬ/, /ɬʲ/).

Among the Turkic languages, a similar debate concerns the consonant reflected as *l in Bolgar Turkic, yet *š in Common Turkic. Some scholars reconstruct original *š and a lambdacism in Bolgar; others reconstruct an original palatalized lateral *ľ and sigmacism in Common Turkic.

See also