Indigenous languages * Indian tribes * First Nations cultures

Babine Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Babine alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Babine-Wetsuweten 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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Babine Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Babine pronunciation:
a    a ~ æ Like the a in father. Sometimes it is pronounced more like the a in cat.
e  ë  ε ~ e Like the e in get or the a in gate.
ee  ï, i  i Like the ee in see.
i    ə ~ I Depending on dialect, like the a in about or the i in hit.
o   o ~ Like the o in note or the au in caught.
u   u Like the u in flute.

Babine Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Babine pronunciation:
b    b Like b in bill.
c  ch  k ~ t Like c in cat. In the Lake Babine dialect, this sound is pronounced like ch in chair instead.
c'     ~ t Like c, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
d    d Like d in dill.
dl    dł Somewhat like the dle in ladle.
dz  ds, j  dz Like ds in Edsel.
g    g ~ G Like g in girl. Some speakers pronounce this further back in the mouth than in English.
gh     Like the g in the Spanish word saguaro, only pronounced further back in the throat. It sounds a little like the way some French speakers pronounce their r's.
gw    gw ~ Gw Somewhat like the Gw in Gwen. Some speakers pronounce this further back in the mouth than in English.
h    h Like h in English hay.
j    d Like j in jar. This sound doesn't exist in all Babine-Witsuwit'en dialects.
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.)
kh  x  X A raspy sound like ch in German ach, only pronounced further back in the throat. It sounds a little like the way some French speakers pronounce their r's.
kw    qw Somewhat like the qu in queen, only further back in the throat.
kw'  k'w  w Like kw, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l Like l in light.
lh  ł, hl, /  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.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like p in pill. This sound doesn't exist in all Babine-Witsuwit'en dialects.
s    s Like s in sing.
t    t Like t in till.
t'     Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tl    tł Somewhat like the tle in bottle.
tl'  t  t Like tl only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
ts    ts Like ts in cats.
ts'  t  t Like ts, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w   w Like w in way.
wh  hw  hw Soft sound like blowing out a candle.
y    j Like y in yes.
z    z Like z in zoo.
 ?, h   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Babine-Witsuwit'en Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Witsuwit'en Grammar
   Babine vocabulary
   Babine First Nation
   Babine animals
   Athapascan languages
   Subarctic cultures
   British Columbia First Nations

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