Electropalatographic and acoustic data reported in this study show differences in closure location and degree, dorsopalatal contact size, closure duration, relative timing of events and formant frequency between clear /l/ and dark /l/ in two dialects of Catalan (Valencian and Majorcan). The two Catalan dialects under investigation differ also regarding degree of darkness but essentially not regarding coarticulatory resistance at the word edges, i.e. the alveolar lateral is equally dark word-initially and word-finally in Majorcan, and clearer in the former position vs. than the latter in Valencian, and more resistant to vowel effects in the two positions than intervocalically in both dialects. With reference to data from the literature, it appears that languages and dialects may differ as to whether /l/ is dark or clear in all word positions or whether or not initial /l/ is clearer than final /l/, and that articulatory strengthening occurs not only word- and utterance-initially but word- and utterance-finally as well. These and other considerations confirm the hypothesis that degree of darkness in /l/ proceeds gradually rather than categorically from one language to another. © International Phonetic Association.