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Ahtna Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Ahtna Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Ahtna pronunciation:
a     ~ a Like the a in what. Sometimes it sounds more like the a in father.
aa  aw, au   Like the aw in saw.
ae  ee  æ Like the a in bad.
e    ε Like the e in get.
i    I ~ i Like the i in sick. At the end of a word, sometimes it sounds more like the ee in seek.
ii    i Like the ee in see.
o   o Like the o in note.
oo  o o Like o only held longer.
u   Like the u in put.
uu   u Like the ue in blue.

Ahtna Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Ahtna pronunciation:
b    b ~ p Like b in bill or the soft p in spill.
c  k  kh Like k in kill.
c'     Like c, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
d    d ~ t Like d in dill or the soft t in still.
dl    dł Somewhat like the dle in ladle.
dz  ds, j  dz ~ d Like ds in Edsel or j in jar.
g    g ~ k Like g in gill or the soft k in skill.
gg    G Like g only pronounced further back in the throat.
gh    γ Like the g in the Spanish word saguaro. It sounds like the "ch" sound in German words like "ach," only voiced.
h    h Like h in English hay.
hw    hw Soft sound like blowing out a candle.
k  q  q Like k in kill, only pronounced further back in the throat. This is the same sound as the q sound from Arabic.
k'     Like k, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l Like l in light.
ł  hl, lh, /  ł This sound is a lateral fricative that doesn't really exist in English. It sounds like the "ll" in the Welsh name "Llewellyn." Some English speakers can pronounce it well if they try to pronounce the "breathy l" in the word clue without the c in front of it.
m    m Like m in moon. This sound doesn't exist in most Ahtna dialects.
n    n Like n in night.
n'     Like n only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
ng    ng Like ng in sing.
p    ph Like p in pill.
s    s Like s in sing.
sh  š   Like sh in shy.
t    th Like t in till.
t'     Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tl    tł~kł Somewhat like the tle in bottle. Sometimes it is pronounced more like the kle in ankle.
tl'  t  t Like tl only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
ts  č, c, ch  ts ~ t Like ch in chair or ts in tsunami.
ts'  t  t ~ t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w   w Like w in way.
x    x ~ kx Like ch in German ach. At the end of a word it is pronounced more like a raspy k.
y    j Like y in yes.
z  zh  z~ Like z in zoo. Sometimes it is pronounced more like the ge in garage.
 ?, h   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Ahtna Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Ahtna Indian words
   Ahtna picture dictionary
   Athabaskan languages
   Subarctic culture area
   Native Americans of Alaska
   Ahtna stories



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