Native American Indian languages * Indian tribe * Native Indian links

  * Find Native American ancestors in your family tree

Jacalteco Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Sponsored Links

Jacalteco Vowels

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

Jacalteco Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Jacalteco pronunciation:
ay ai  aj Like English eye.
ey ei  ej Like ey in English they.
oy oi  oj Like oy in English boy.
uy ui  uj like the uoy in English buoy.

Jacalteco Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Jacalteco pronunciation:
b'  b, b:  б Like b in boy, only implosive. To English speakers, it sounds as if Maya speakers are 'swallowing' the b sound, similar to the way b is pronounced in Vietnamese.
ch  č, tc, tch  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č', tc', 'ch  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
h  j   h Like the h in hay.
j  h, x   x Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño.
k  c, qu  k Like k in key.
k'  c', q'u, qu', , 'c   Like k, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l Like l in light.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
nh  , ŋ, ng, ñ  ŋ Like ng in sing.
p  p:  p Like the p in pie.
q  k  q Like k only pronounced further back in the throat. The Jacaltec pronunciation sounds similar to the q of Arabic.
q'  k', 'k, , Q   Like q, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r     Like Spanish r, somewhat like the tt in English butter.
s  z  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.)
tx  č  tʂ A retroflex sound ch sound like the cz of Polish. To English speakers, it sometimes sounds a little like "chr."
tx'  č', c'  tʂ' Like tx, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tz  ts, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
tz'  ts', , ¢', 'tz  t Like tz, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w  v, u, hu, vu  w Like w in way.
x  š, s,  ʂ A retroflex s sound like the sz of Polish. To English speakers, it sometimes sounds a little like "shr."
xh  x, š, sh, c   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.
 7   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Jacalteco Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Jacaltec words
   Jacalteco picture dictionary
   Maya language family
   Maya legends

Sponsored Links



Back to the American Indian culture homepage
Back to Native American Indian Words
Back to Languages in Guatemala



Indian art * Indian heritage * Arizona Indian ruins * Ataniel fiction * American Indian tattoos

Would you like to help support our organization's work with the Jacalteco language?



Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 * Contacts and FAQ page