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Kanjobal Mayan Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Kanjobal Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Kanjobal 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.

Kanjobal Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Kanjobal 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.

Kanjobal Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Kanjobal 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  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č', tc'  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
h  j, H   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',   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  ñ, ng, ŋ  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. This is the same sound as the q in Arabic.
q'  , k', Q   Like q, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r     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'     Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tx  č, tʂ  tʂ A retroflex sound ch sound like the cz of Polish. To English speakers, it sometimes sounds a little like "chr."
tx'  č'  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    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   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."

Qanjobal Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Q'anjob'al words
   Kanjobal picture dictionary
   The Mayan language family
   Mayan mythology



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