The diffusion of the sodium salt of monocarboxylic fatty acids, from formate to stearate, has been studied as a function of water content and pH in lecithin--water lamellar phases. Evolution of the diffusion coefficients with increasing chain length reflects the different localizations of fatty acids in the system. From formate to butyrate, which are mainly restricted to the hydrophilic layer of the phase, diffusion rates decrease rapidly. From butyrate to stearate, fatty acids (anchored at the hydrophilic--lipophilic interface) undergo lateral diffusion and then the decrease of D with increasing chain length is much slower. The diffusion of stereate is already comparable to the diffusion of the lecithin molecule itself. The diffusion rates strongly depend upon phase hydration and pH: it is shown that both parameters control the fatty acid ionization. The variations in diffusion rates observed may be ascribed to the fact that, depending upon their state of ionization, fatty acids assume a different localization and therefore experience different interactions in the lamellar system.