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Hopi Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Hopi pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa  a·  a Like a only held longer.
e    ε Like the e in bet.
ee  e·  ε Like e only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
ii  i·  i Like i only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
oo  o·  o Like o only held longer.
ö    œ This vowel sound does not exist in English. It sounds like German ö or French eu. If you've ever tried to pronounce the German name "Goerthe," this is the same vowel sound as that. The closest English equivalent is the u in purple.
öö  ö·  œ Like ö only held longer.
u   ~ i Like the u in flute, only unrounded. Sometimes it sounds more like the u in put.
uu  u·   ~ i Like u only held longer.

Hopi Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Hopi pronunciation:
aw au  aw Like ow in English cow.
ay ai  aj Like English eye.
ew  eu  εw ~ ew This sound doesn't really exist in English. If you mimic an exaggerated stereotype of a "Southern belle" saying "how," you will be close to it. Some Hopi speakers pronounce it more like the "AO" in "AOL."
ey    ej Like the ay in hay.
iw    iw Like a child saying ew!
iy    ij Like ee in see.
ow    ow Like the ow in show.
oy    oj Like the oy in boy.
öw    œw No English equivalent. Like Hopi ö with a w-glide at the end.
öy    œj No English equivalent. Like Hopi ö with a y-glide at the end.
uw    uw Like the oo in too.
uy    j No English equivalent. Like Hopi u with a y-glide at the end.

Hopi Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Hopi pronunciation:
h    h Like h in hay.
k    k Like the soft k in sky.
kw  qu kw ~ kw Like qu in English square.
l    l Like l in light.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
ng    ŋ Like ng in sing.
ngw   ŋw ~ ŋw No English equivalent. Like ng and w pronounced together.
ngy    ŋj No English equivalent. Like gn in French Avignon.
p    p Like the soft p in spy.
q    q Like k, only pronounced further back on the palate..
qw   qw ~ qw Like qu, only pronounced further back on the palate.
r     No English equivalent. Like the rz sound in Polish. To English speakers, it sounds like a cross between the ge in garage and the "swallowed r" common to English speakers from India.
s    s Like s in see.
t    t Like the soft t in star.
ts  ch  ts Like ts in cats.
v  b  β ~ Φ Bilabial v as in Spanish navidad. At the end of a word or before some consonants, it is pronounced voicelessly, so that it sounds like an f sound made between both lips.
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."

Hopi Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Hopi Indian vocabulary
   Hopi picture dictionary
   Hopi colors
   Hopi alphabet
   Utoaztecan language family
   Southwest Indian tribes
   Native Americans of Arizona
   Hopi legends

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