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Mopan Maya Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Mopan Vowels

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

Mopan Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Mopan pronunciation:
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.

Mopan Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Mopan 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. 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.)
d    d Like d in day.
j  h  x ~ h Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño. Sometimes it is pronounced more like the h in hay.
k  c, qu  k ~ q Like k in key. Sometimes it is pronounced further back in the throat, like Arabic q.
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.
nh  ŋ, ng  ŋ Like ng in sing.
p    p Like the p in pie.
p'  pp   Like p, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
s    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  u, v, hu, vu  w Like w in way.
x  š, sh, c   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Mopan Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Mopan vocabulary
   Mopan animals
   Mayan language
   Mayan myths



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