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Montagnais Innu Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Montagnais alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Montagnais orthography we have used on our site, as well as some alternate spellings that you may find in other books and websites. You may also like to visit our Algonquian languages homepage to see how Montagnais relates to other languages from the Algonquian family.

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Montagnais Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Montagnais pronunciation:
a     Like the a in what.
â  a, aa, ā  a Like the a in father.
e  ê, ee  e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gaze.
i    I Like the i in pit.
î  i, ii, ī  i Like the ee in seed.
u  o ~o~u~w Like the u in put. Sometimes it sounds more like the o in note or the u in flute. Before a vowel, u is also used to represent the w sound in way (a spelling convention that comes from French.)
û  u, o, ô, uu, oo, ū o ~ u Like the o in rode or the u in rude.
u  u   At the end of some words, u is not pronounced by Montagnais speakers. In some Montagnais orthographies, these "silent u's" are written in superscript.

Montagnais Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Montagnais pronunciation:
au  aw, āw  ~aw Like the ow in cow.
ai  ay  aj Like English eye.
eu  ew  ew This sound doesn't really exist in English. It sounds a little like saying the "AO" from "AOL" quickly.
ei  ey  ej Like the ay in hay.
iu  īw  iw Like a child saying ew!

Montagnais Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Montagnais pronunciation:
h    h Like h in English hay.
k  g  k Like the soft k in skate.
ku  kw kw Like qu in English square.
ku  ku, kw kw Only appearing at the end of a word, this sound is pronounced like a k with a puff of air after it.
l    l Like l in English light. This sound doesn't exist in some dialects of Innu, where it is pronounced and spelled as an n instead.
m    m Like m in English moon.
n  ñ  n Like n in English night.
p  p  p Like the soft p in spill.
s  ss  s Like s in see.
sh  š   Like sh in shy.
t  d  t Like the soft t in sty.
tsh  ts, ch, č, c t ~ ts Like the soft ch in mischief. Some speakers pronounce it more like the ts in tsunami.
u  w w Usually u represents a vowel sound, but before another vowel, it signifies the w sound in way (a spelling convention that comes from French.)

Montagnais Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Montagnais Indian words
   Montagnais picture dictionary
   Innu alphabet and spelling
   History of the Montagnais alphabet
   Subarctic culture
   Native American Indians of Quebec
   Innu stories

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