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Huasteco Maya Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Huasteco pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa  a, a·, a:, ā  a Like a only held longer.
e    e Like the Spanish e, similar to the a in English gate.
ee  e, e·, e:, ē  e Like e only held longer.
i  y  i Like the i in police.
ii  i, i·, i:, ī  i Like i only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
oo  o, o·, o:, ō  o Like o only held longer.
u  v u Like the u in flute.
uu  u, u·, u:, ū  u Like u only held longer.

Huasteco Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Huasteco pronunciation:
ay ai  aj Like English eye.
ey ei  ej Like ey in English they.
oy oi  oj Like oy in English boy.

Huasteco Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Huasteco pronunciation:
b  b'  b ~ б Like b in boy. Many Maya speakers pronounce this sound implosively, as if they were 'swallowing' the b sound, similar to the way b is pronounced in Vietnamese. At the end of a word this sound often is not pronounced at all.
c  k, qu  k As in the Spanish alphabet (from which the Huastec alphabet was adapted), both qu and c can represent the k sound in English key.
c'  q'u, k, qu',   Like c, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
ch  č, tch  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č', 'ch  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
cu  qu, kw  kw Like qu in queen.
hu  u, w, gu, v, vu  w Like w in way.
j  h  h ~ x Like h in hay. Sometimes it is pronounced more raspily, like the the j in Spanish jalapeño.
l    l Like l in light.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like the p in pie.
p'  pp   Like p, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
qu  k, c  k As in the Spanish alphabet (from which the Huasteco alphabet was adapted), both qu and c can represent the k sound in English key.
q'u  k', qu', c',   Like qu, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r  rr   Like Spanish r, somewhat like the tt in English butter.
s    s Like the s in sun.
t    t Like the t in tell.
t'  tt   Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
ts  tz, tx, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
ts'  tz', , ¢', 'tz  t Like ts, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
x  š, sh   Like sh in shell.
y  i  j Like y in yes.
z  th, s, d, θ  θ Like the th in think.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Huasteco Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Huastec words
   Huasteco picture dictionary
   Huastec colors
   Huastec alphabet and pronunciation
   Maya language family
   Mexico indigenous groups

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