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Caddo Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Caddo pronunciation:
a     ~ a Like the a in what or the a in father.
aa    a Like the a in father, only held longer.
i    i ~ I Like the ea in heat or the i in hit.
ii    i Like the ea in heat, only held longer.
u     ~ u Like the u in put or the u in flute.
uu    u Like the u in flute, only held longer.

Caddo Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Caddo pronunciation:
ay    aj Like English eye.
aw    aw Like ou in out.
iw    iw Like a child saying ew!
uy    uy Like the uoy in buoy.

Caddo Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Caddo pronunciation:
b    b Like b in ball.
ch    t Like ch in chair.
ch'    t' Like ch in char, but with a catch after it (like ch'ar).
d    d Like d in day.
h    h Like h in heart.
k    k Like k in skate.
k'    k' Like k in key, but with a catch after it (like k'ey).
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like p in spill.
s    s Like s in sing.
sh     Like sh in shore.
t    t Like t in sty.
t'    t' Like t in tie, but with a catch after it (like t'ie).
ts    ts Like ts in tsunami.
ts'    ts' Like ts in tsunami, but with a catch after it (like ts'unami.)
w   w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Caddo Tone

Caddo is a tone language. Some Caddo syllables are pronounced with higher pitch than others. In English, the last syllable of a question is pronounced with high pitch, so you can hear the difference between sentences like "You see a man." and "You see a man?" In Caddo, such high and low tones are used in nearly every word, giving Caddo pronunciation a lively sound. For example, a'ah means "father" in Caddo, but á'áh means an uncle.

There are three Caddo tones: high, low, and falling (starts high and becomes low.) The tones are usually written like this:

a low tone
á high tone
àa falling tone

Caddo Double Consonants

When a Caddo word is spelled with double letters, like díssikían (five) or háttih (woman), the consonant must be pronounced with double length. For an English speaker, the easiest way to pronounce a consonant with double length is to imagine a word break between the two consonants. The s sounds in "dress suit" are pronounced like the ones in díssikían, and the t sounds in "hot tub" are pronounced like the ones in háttih.

Caddo Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Caddo words
   Caddo animals
   Caddo alphabet and links
   Caddoan language family
   Southeastern tribes
   Native Americans of Texas

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