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Maleku Pronunciation and Spelling Guide (Guatuso)

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

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

Maleku Consonants

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Maleku pronunciation:
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
f    φ A bilabial fricative, like an English "f" but pronounced without touching the upper teeth to the lower lip. This is the same Japanese "f" sound from the mountain name "Fuji."
j  h  x Like the raspy j in the Spanish word jalapeño.
k  c, qu  k Like the k in kiss.
l    l Like l in light.
ll  j, y  d Like j in jar.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
ng    ŋ Like the ng in sing.
p    p Like p in pin.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
rr  r  r Like the rolling rr in Spanish perro.
s    s Like s in sun.
t    t Like the t in tell.
tl  ł  ł This sound is a lateral fricative that doesn't really exist in English. It sounds like the "ll" in the Welsh name "Llewellyn." Some English speakers can pronounce it well if they try to pronounce the "breathy l" in the word clue without the c in front of it.
w  hu  w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.

Maleku/Guatuso Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Guatuso words
   The Chibchan languages

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