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Crow Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Crow pronunciation:
a    ə Like the a in above.
aa  a:, a·  a Like the a in father, only held longer.
e    e ~ æ Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in English gate. Sometimes it is pronounced more like the a in cat.
ee  e:, e·  e Like the a in gate, only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
ii  i:, i·  i Like the i in police, only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
oo  o:, o· o Like the o in note, only held longer.
u    u Like the u in flute.
oo  u:, u· u Like the u in flute, only held longer.

Crow Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Crow pronunciation:
ia  I  iə Like the ia in Indian.
ua  U  uə Like the ui in English ruin.

Crow Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Crow pronunciation:
b  m, w  b ~ mb Like b in bill. At the beginning of some words, it is pronounced more nasally.
ch  č, c  t Like ch in chair.
d  n, r  d ~ nd Like d in day. At the beginning of some words, it is pronounced more nasally.
h    h Like h in hay.
k    k~kh~ky Like the c in core or score. Before a front vowel like i, it is palatalized.
l  r  l ~ r Like l in light or the tapped "r" sound in a Spanish word like pero.
m    m Like m in English moon.
n    n Like n in English night.
p    p ~ ph Like the p in pin or spin.
s    s Like s in sing.
sh  š   Like sh in show.
t  d  t ~ th Like the t in tar or star.
w    w Like w in English way.
x    x Guttural sound that doesn't exist in English. Like ch in German ach.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Crow Tone

Crow is a tone language. Some Crow 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 Crow, such high and low tones are used in nearly every word, giving the language a lively sound.

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

a or aa low tone
á or áá high tone
áa falling tone

Crow Double Consonants

When a Crow word is spelled with double letters, like íaxassee (snake) or búattee (coyote), 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 íaxassee, and the t sounds in "night-time" are pronounced like the ones in búattee.

Crow Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Crow vocabulary
   Crow animals
   Crow body words
   Crow colors
   Wikipedia: Crow alphabet
   Siouan language family
   Plains Indian tribes
   Montana Native Americans
   Crow legends

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