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Karipuna Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Karipuna pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
e  i, ï, y  i This sound does not exist in English. It sounds like the i in police only pronounced further back in the mouth. If you've ever heard a Slavic language like Russian or Polish being spoken, it is the same "dark i" sound from those languages.
i    i Like the i in police.
o  u  o Like the o in note.

Karipuna Nasal Vowels

Nasal vowels don't exist in English, but you may be familiar with them from French (or from hearing people speak English with a French accent.) They are pronounced just like oral ("regular") vowels, only using your nose as well as your mouth. To English speakers, a nasal vowel often sounds like a vowel with a half-pronounced "n" at the end of it. You can hear examples of nasal vowels at the end of the French words "bon" and "Jean," or in the middle of the word "Français."

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol:
an  ã ã
en  ẽ ĩ
in  ĩ ĩ
on  õ on

Karipuna Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Karipuna pronunciation:
b  v  β ~ b Like the b in boy or the bilabial v in Spanish navidad.
c  k, qu  k As in the Spanish alphabet (from which the Karipuna alphabet was adapted), both qu and c can represent the k sound in English key.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like the p in pie.
qu  k, c  k As in the Spanish alphabet (from which the Karipuna alphabet was adapted), both qu and c can represent the k sound in English key.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
s    s Like s in sing.
sh  s, š, x   Like sh in shell.
t    t Like t in tie.
ts  tz  ts Like ts in cats.
w    w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
z  rs, shr, x  ʂ This sound does not exist in English or Spanish. It is a retroflex s sound like the sz of Polish.
 , ?   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Karipuna Tones

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

There are two tones in Karipuna, high tone and low tone. High tones are usually marked with an acute accent, like this:

a low tone
á high tone

Karipuna Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Karipuna words
   Pano-Tacanan languages
   South American tribes

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