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Arawak Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Arawak alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Arawak 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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Arawak Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Arawak pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa  a·  a Like a only held longer.
e    e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gate.
ee  e·, e:  e Like e only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
ii  i·, i:  i Like i only held longer.
o    o ~ u Like o in note or u in flute.
oo  o·, o:  o Like o only held longer.
y  u, i i Like the u in upon, only pronounced higher in the mouth.
yy  y:, uu, ii  i Like y only held longer.

Arawak Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Arawak pronunciation:
b    b Like b in boy.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
d    d ~ d Like d in day. Before i the Arawak pronunciation sounds like the j in jeep.
f  fh  Φ This sound does not exist in English. It is pronounced by narrowing your lips and blowing through them, as if you were playing a flute.
h    h Like h in hay.
j  y  j Like y in yes).
k  c, qu  k Like the soft k sound in English ski.
kh  c, qu, k  kh Like the hard k sound in English key.
l    l Like l in light.
lh  r, r   No exact equivalent in American English. This is a retroflex r, pronounced with the tongue touching the back of the palate. You may recognize this sound if you've heard people from India speaking English. Some American English speakers pronounce this sound in the middle of the word "hurting."
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like the soft p in spin.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
s  z, c  s Like the s in sun.
t    t ~ t Like the soft t in star. Before i the Arawak pronunciation sounds like the ch in cheek.
th  t  th ~ t Like the hard t in tar. Before i the Arawak pronunciation sounds like the ch in cheek.
w  hu  w Like w in way.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Arawak Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   The Arawak Language of Guiana
   Arawak Indian words
   Arawak picture dictionary
   Arawakan language family
   Languages of the Caribbean
   The Arawaks
   Arawak mythology

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