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Cayuga Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Cayuga Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Cayuga pronunciation:
a  u  a Like the a in father.
a:  a·, aa  a Like the a in father, only held longer.
e    e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gate.
e:  e·, ee  e Like the a in gate, only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
i:  i·, ii  i Like the i in police, only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
o:  o·, oo  o Like the o in note, only held longer.
u    u Like the u in flute.
u:  u·, uu  u Like the u in flute, only held longer.

Cayuga Nasal Vowels

Nasal vowels don't really exist in English, but you may be familiar with them from French (or from hearing people speak English with a French accent.) They are pronounced just like oral ("regular") vowels, only using your nose as well as your mouth. To English speakers, a nasal vowel often sounds like a vowel with a half-pronounced "n" at the end of it. You can hear examples of nasal vowels at the end of the French words "bon" and "Jean," or in the middle of the word "Français."

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol:
ę  eñ, enh   ~
ę:  ę·, ęę, e:ñ, e·ñ, eenh   ~
 ų, oñ, onh, un  õ ~ ũ
:  ų:, ·, o:ñ, o·ñ, oonh  õ ~ ũ

Cayuga Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Cayuga pronunciation:
d  t  d Like d in day.
g  k  g Like g in good.
h    h Like h in English hay.
j  ts, ch  dz ~ d Like ds in Edsel, j in jar, or ch in char.
k  g  k Like the soft k in ski.
n    n Like n in night.
r    r Like r in English red.
s    s ~ Like s in sing. Before y or r it is pronounced more like the sh in show.
t  d  t Like the soft t in star.
ts  j  ts Like the ts in tsunami.
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."

Note that in this spelling system, h is always pronounced-- th is pronounced like the th in "outhouse," never the th in "think", and sh is pronounced like the sh in "mishap," not the sh in "shell."

Cayuga Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Cayuga words
   Cayuga picture dictionary
   Cayuga alphabet and spelling
   Iroquoian language family
   Eastern Woodland Native Americans
   Tribes of New York



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