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Kekchi Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

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

Kekchi Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: How To Pronounce It:
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.

Kekchi Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Kekchi pronunciation:
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, tx  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č'  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.)
kw  gw, qu, w  gw Like the Gw in Gwen.
ky  cy, gy, dy, y  gy ~ dy A palatalized sound like the g in Ziggy. Some speakers pronounce it like the d in giddy instead.
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.
q    q Like k only pronounced further back in the throat. This is the same sound as the q in Arabic.
q'  k', 'k,   Like q, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r     Like Spanish r, somewhat like the tt in English butter.
s  c  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.)
tz  ts, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
tz'  ts', , ¢', 'tz  t Like tz, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w  gu, gw, v, hu, vu  gw Like gw in Gwen.
x  š, sh   Like sh in shell.
y  ky, gy  j ~ kj Like y in yes. Some speakers pronounce it more like the "ky" sound in cute.
 7   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Qeqchi Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Q'eqchi' words
   Kekchi picture dictionary
   Qeqchi body
   The Qeqchi alphabet
   The Mayan family
   Maya mythology

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