Ll/ll is a digraph that occurs in several languages.


In English, ⟨ll⟩ often represents the same sound as single ⟨l⟩: /l/. The doubling is used to indicate that the preceding vowel is (historically) short, or that the "l" sound is to be extended longer than a single ⟨l.⟩ would provide (etymologically, in latinisms coming from a gemination). It is worth noting that different English language traditions use ⟨l⟩ and ⟨ll⟩ in different words: for example the past tense form of "travel" is spelt "travelled" in British English but "traveled" in American English. See also: American and British English spelling differences#Doubled consonants.


The Middle-Welsh LL ligature.[1]
Unicode: U+1EFA and U+1EFB.

In Welsh, ⟨ll⟩ stands for a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative sound (IPA: [ɬ]). This sound is very common in place names in Wales because it occurs in the word llan, for example, Llanelli, where the ⟨ll⟩ appears twice, or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, where (in the long version of the name) the ⟨ll⟩ appears five times – with two instances of llan.

In Welsh, ⟨ll⟩ is a separate digraph letter[2] from ⟨l⟩ (e.g., lwc sorts before llaw). In modern Welsh this, and other digraph letters, are written with two symbols but count as one letter. In Middle Welsh it was written with a tied ligature; this ligature is included in the Latin Extended Additional Unicode block as U+1EFA LATIN CAPITAL LETTER MIDDLE-WELSH LL and U+1EFB LATIN SMALL LETTER MIDDLE-WELSH LL.[3] This ligature is seldom used in Modern Welsh, but equivalent ligatures may be included in modern fonts, for example the three fonts commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2020.[4]

Romance languages


⟨ḷḷ⟩ used on a sign in Cercanías Asturies as part of the place name Viḷḷayana

In the standard Asturian orthography published by the Academy of the Asturian Language in 1981, ⟨ll⟩ represents the phoneme /ʎ/ (palatal lateral approximant).[5]

A variation of this digraph, ⟨l-l⟩, is used to separate a verb form that ends in -l and the enclitics lu, la, lo, los or les. This is pronounced as a geminated ⟨l⟩ /ll/. For example, val-lo ("it is worth it").[5]

Another variation of this digraph, ⟨ḷḷ⟩, is used to represent a set of dialectal phonemes used in Western Asturian that correspond to /ʎ/ in other dialects: [ɖ] (voiced retroflex plosive), [ɖʐ] (voiced retroflex affricate), [ʈʂ] (voiceless retroflex affricate) or [t͡s] (voiceless alveolar affricate). This may also be written as ⟨l.l⟩ in devices that do not support the Unicode characters U+1E36 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER L WITH DOT BELOW and U+1E37 LATIN SMALL LETTER L WITH DOT BELOW.[5]


⟨ŀl⟩ ligature as used in Catalan on a Barcelona Metro sign

In Catalan, ⟨ll⟩ represents the phoneme /ʎ/, as in llengua (language, tongue), enllaç (linkage, connection), or coltell (knife).

L with middle dot

In order to not confuse ⟨ll⟩ /ʎ/ with a geminated ⟨l⟩ /ll/, Catalan uses a middle dot (interpunct or punt volat in Catalan) in between ⟨ŀl⟩. For example exceŀlent ("excellent"). The first character in the digraph, ⟨Ŀ⟩ and ⟨ŀ⟩, is included in the Latin Extended-A Unicode block at U+013F (uppercase) and U+0140 (lowercase) respectively.

In Catalan typography, ⟨l·l⟩ is intended to fill two spaces, not three,[6] so the interpunct is placed in the narrow space between the two ⟨l⟩s: ⟨ĿL⟩ and ⟨ŀl⟩. However, it is common to write ⟨L·L⟩ and ⟨l·l⟩, occupying three spaces. ⟨L.L⟩ and ⟨l.l⟩, although sometimes seen, are incorrect.


In official Galician spelling the ⟨ll⟩ combination stands for the phoneme /ʎ/ (palatal lateral approximant, a palatal counterpart of /l/).



In Spanish, ⟨ll⟩ was considered from 1754 to 2010 the fourteenth letter of the Spanish alphabet because of its representation of a palatal lateral articulation consonant phoneme (as defined by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language).[7]

Philippine languages

While Philippine languages like Tagalog and Ilocano write ⟨ly⟩ or ⟨li⟩ when spelling Spanish loanwords, ⟨ll⟩ still survives in proper nouns. However, the pronunciation of ⟨ll⟩ is simply [lj] rather than [ʎ]. Hence the surnames Llamzon, Llamas, Padilla, Bellen, Basallote and Villanueva are respectively pronounced [ljɐmˈzon]/[ljɐmˈson], [ˈljɐmas], [pɐˈdɪːlja], [bɪːlˈjɛːn], [bɐsɐlˈjotɛ] and [ˌbɪːljanuˈwɛːba]/[ˌvɪːljanuˈwɛːva].

Furthermore, in Ilocano ⟨ll⟩ represents a geminate alveolar lateral approximant /lː/, like in Italian.


In Albanian, ⟨L⟩ stands for the sound /l/, while ⟨Ll⟩ is pronounced as the velarized sound /ɫ/.


In Icelandic, the ⟨ll⟩ can represent [tɬ] (similar to a voiceless alveolar lateral affricate),[9] [ɬ] or [l] depending on which letters surround it. [tɬ] appears in fullur ("full", masculine), [ɬ] appears in fullt ("full", neuter), and [l] appears in fulls ("full", neuter genitive). The geographical name Eyjafjallajökull includes the [tɬ] sound twice.

Broken L

In Old Icelandic, the broken L ligature appears in some instances, such as vꜹꝇum (field) and oꝇo (all).[10] It takes the form of a lowercase ⟨l⟩ with the top half shifted to the left, connected to the lower half with a thin horizontal stroke. This ligature is encoded in the Latin Extended-D Unicode block at U+A746 (uppercase) and U+A747 (lowercase), displaying as and respectively.

Inuit-Yupik languages

⟨LL⟩ appearing in Greenlandic text. The text reads Kalaallit nunaata aallartitaqarfia.

In Central Alaskan Yupʼik and the Greenlandic language, ⟨ll⟩ stands for /ɬː/.

Other languages

In the Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization of Mandarin Chinese, final ⟨-ll⟩ indicates a falling tone on a syllable ending in /ɻ/, which is otherwise spelled ⟨-l⟩.

In Haida (Bringhurst orthography), ⟨ll⟩ is glottalized /ˀl/.

See also


  1. ^ Rhys, John (December 2003). Example of a book using the "ll" ligature. Adegi Graphics LLC. ISBN 9781402153075. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Alphabets". Archived from the original on 2020-09-17. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  3. ^ Everson, Michael & al. "Proposal to add medievalist characters to the UCS Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine". 30 Jan 2006. Accessed 29 January 2013.
  4. ^ Wong, Henry (March 20, 2020). "A typeface has been designed for the Welsh language". designweek.co.uk. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Normes ortográfiques" (PDF) (in Asturian). Academy of the Asturian Language. 2012. Retrieved 2024-01-27.
  6. ^ Pompeu, Fabra (September 1984). "Conversa 323, del 22.01.1923, i Conversa 391, del 13.06.1923". In Joaquim Rafel i Fontanals (ed.). Converses Filològiques Volum II (PDF) (in Catalan). Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain: Fundació Enciclopèdia Catalana. ISBN 84-350-5111-0. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  7. ^ Real Academia Española y Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, Ortografía de la lengua española (2010), tapa rústica, primera edición impresa en México, Editorial Planeta Mexicana, S.A. de C.V., bajo el sello editorial ESPASA M.R., México D.F., marzo de 2011, páginas 64 y 65.
  8. ^ X Congreso (Madrid, 1994), official website.
  9. ^ "Language Log". Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  10. ^ Bulenda, Attila Márk. Icelandic or Norwegian Scribe? An Empirical Study of AM 310 4to, AM 655 XII-XIII 4to and AM 655 XIV 4to (PDF) (MA). Háskóli Íslands. p. 19. Retrieved May 3, 2020.