Sorry for the delayed response. Thanks David for taking time to reply.
I've uploaded the file as you requested with  /aɭ˕a/ /aɭ˕ːa/ (produced by two different speakers in quick succession) to under the filename "aXa" (it unzips into a .wav file playable by windows media player).
I tried using the "lowered" diacritic under the retroflex lateral but it was interfering with the downward retroflex hook, so I stuck it to the side (for the moment, while Arial Unicode MS ameliorates). :)
Please let me know if the description "lowered retroflex lateral" would characterise this sound. How about "voiced retroflex lateral fricative"?
Have fun,

From: [] On Behalf Of david_russell_watson
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2005 10:33 AM
Subject: [phoNet] Re: Tamil

I sent the following message over five hours ago, but it
has yet to appear and so I'm resending. I apologize if the
list should end up with duplicates.


--- In, "Rohit Dasari" <rdasari@m...> wrote:
> Um. Is this group

Alive, but, if like me, probably not sure about the exact
nature of the the Tamil sound in question.

As best as I can remember, from the last time I had one of
Bhadriraju Krishnamurti's books in hand, the sound is a
reflex of a Proto-Dravidian voiced apico-alveolar fricative
(written as an underdotted 'z'), but that is not supposed
to be its present realization. The book included varying
descriptions of the modern sound from more than one author,
and I don't remember which one, if any, that Krishnamurthi

If the sound is indeed a "semivocalic (open) counterpart
of the retroflex lateral /L/" then I suppose it could be
written with the I.P.A. as a retroflex lateral approximant
with the diacritic for lowering beneath it.

Refer to the "CONSONANTS (PULMONIC)" table at , where
the "retroflex" column intersects the "lateral approximant"
row, for the symbol for a retroflex lateral, which resembles
an 'l' with a tail descending below the line. The diacritic
for lowering can be found in the tenth row, second column
of the table of diacritics, and looks like the bottom half
of a + sign. 

However I wonder, if there's no contact of the tongue with
the roof of the mouth during this sound, whether it's proper
to refer to, or write, it as a lateral of any sort?

I second the request that a native speaker of Tamil upload
a recording of the sound, preferably at normal speed between
two 'a'-s ("aLa"), as well as drawn out ("aLLLLLLLLLLLLa").