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Achi Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Achi alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Achi orthography we have used on our site, as well as some alternate spellings that you may find in other books and websites.


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Achi Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Achi pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
e    e Like the Spanish e, similar to the a in English gate.
i    i Like the i in police.
o    o Like the o in note.
u  v u Like the u in flute.

Achi Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Achi pronunciation:
ay ai  aj Like English eye.
ey ei  ej Like ey in English they.
oy oi  oj Like oy in English boy.
uy ui  uj like the uoy in English buoy.

Achi Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Achi pronunciation:
b'  b  б Like b in boy, only implosive. To English speakers, it sounds as if Maya speakers are 'swallowing' the b sound, similar to the way b is pronounced in Vietnamese.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č', chh, 'ch  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
h  j   h Like the h in hay.
j  h, x   x Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño.
k  c, qu  k Like k in key.
k'  c', q'u, qu', , 'c   Like k, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l ~ Like l in light. In some dialects this sound is flapped, like the ll in English bellow only pronounced more quickly (so that the tongue only flaps once against the top of the mouth.)
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like the p in pie.
q  k  q Like k only pronounced further back in the throat. This is the same sound as the q in Arabic.
q'  k', , 'k   Like q, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r     Like Spanish r, somewhat like the tt in English butter.
s    s Like the s in sun.
t    t Like the t in tell.
t'  tt   Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tz  ts, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
tz'  ts', , ¢', 'tz  t Like tz, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w    w Like w in way.
x  š, sh   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.
 7   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Achi Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Spanish-Achi Dictionary
   Achi words
   Achi picture dictionary
   Maya Achi alphabet
   Mayan language family
   Languages in Guatemala

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