Native language * Native American nations * Native American websites

  * Find Native American ancestors in your family tree

Lacandon Maya Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Sponsored Links

Lacandon Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Lacandon pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa  a·, a:  a Like a only held longer.
ä  i, , ë  ə Like the a in about.
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.

Lacandon Diphthongs

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

Lacandon Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Lacandon pronunciation:
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.
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 Like h in hay. Sometimes it is pronounced more raspily, like the 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.
p    p Like the p in pie.
p'  pp   Like p, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
s  ç, 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.)
ts  tz, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
ts'  tz', , ¢', 'tz  t Like ts, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w  u, hu, v  w Like w in way.
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."

Lacandon Tone

Lacandon Maya is a tone language. Some Maya 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 Lacandon pronunciation, such high and low tones are used in many words, giving the language a musical sound. For example, eek' means "star" in Maya, but éek' means "dirty."

There are two Lacandon Maya tones: high and low. Some writers, especially linguists, use an acute accent (like á) to represent a high tone and a grave accent (like à) to represent a low tone. Many Maya people do not represent tones in their writing at all, so that the words for "star" and "dirty" are spelled the same way (just as "wind" as in "wind a clock" and "wind" as in "blowing in the wind" are pronounced differently but spelled the same in English.) But most writers leave low tones blank and use the acute accent (like á) to represent high tones. This is the method we have used on our site.

Lacandon Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Lacandón words
   Lacandon picture dictionary
   Lacandon colors
   The Lacandon alphabet
   The Mayan languages
   Mayan stories

Sponsored Links



Back to Native American Indian Cultures
Back to Native American Indian Words
Back to Indigenous People of Mexico



American Indian craft * Indian culture heritage * Guana * Croatan Roanoke * Tribal Indian tattoo

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?



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