Symbol <L>

The act during spontaneous speech of lengthening a sound within a word as a means of hesitation.


Distinguishable from a filled pause - and not to be confused with a filled pause either - a lengthening occurs during a word, not a pause, such as the lengthening of the 'e' sound in the word "well" in this example: we-e-e-e-ll. In this example, the 'e' sound is vocalized as one continuous sound that simply extends for a longer period of time.

The lengthening will usually happen at the end of a word, but may occur anywhere within a word. It is only annotated in case of words not within i.e. the categorical labels for filled pauses.

For example, a speaker may say the word 'the' and rather than it being a short, curt, 'normal' sound, the speaker will continue articulating the word longer than necessary as a means of hesitating before continuing.

Plosive sounds, such as the 'k' in 'duck' may be lengthened if the closure is relatively longer than usual, or if the plosives are aspirated in a more apparent or longer way. . 

Rules for Transcribing the <L>

1. The mark is inserted right after the lengthened sound without being separated.

2. If the lexical element is being continued after the lengthening, there is also no white space between the symbol and the rest of the lexical element.

Examples 1. ..it's possible on.. <L>
2. .. F<L>riday or on Sunday ..
  3. maybe the<L> next one will work .
4. perhaps<L> we can do it tomorrow ?
  5. when will<L> he get here
Special Case


In German transcriptions<Z> (german: Zoegerung) is often used instead of <L>.