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Onondaga Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Onondaga pronunciation:
a  u   ~ a Like the a in what or the a in father.
a:  a·, aa  a Like the a in father, only held longer.
ä  æ, ae, ra  æ Like the a in cat.
ä:  ä·, æ·, ää  æ Like the a in cat, only held longer.
e    ε ~ e Like the e in get or the a in gate.
e:  e·, ee  e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gate, only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
i:  i·, ii  i Like the i in police, only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
o:  o·, oo  o Like the o in note, only held longer.

Onondaga Nasal Vowels

Nasal vowels don't really exist in English, but you may be familiar with them from French (or from hearing people speak English with a French accent.) They are pronounced just like oral ("regular") vowels, only using your nose as well as your mouth. To English speakers, a nasal vowel often sounds like a vowel with a half-pronounced "n" at the end of it. You can hear examples of nasal vowels at the end of the French words "bon" and "Jean," or in the middle of the word "Français."

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol:
ę  eñ, enh  ẽ
ę:  ę·, ęę, e:ñ, e·ñ, eenh  ẽ
ų  , oñ, onh, un  ũ
ų:  :, ·, o:ñ, o·ñ, oonh  ũ

Onondaga Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Onondaga pronunciation:
c  sh, š   Like sh in show.
d  t  d Like d in day.
g  k  g Like g in good.
h    h Like h in English hay.
j    ts ~ d Like ts in tsunami or j in jar.
k  g  k ~ kh Like the soft k in ski or the hard k in key.
n    n Like n in night.
s    s Like s in sing.
t  d  t ~ th Like the soft t in sty or the hard t in tie.
w   w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
 , ?   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Note that in this spelling system, h is always pronounced-- the Onondaga pronunciation of th sounds like the th in "outhouse," never the th in "think", and sh is pronounced like the sh in "mishap," not the sh in "shell."

Onondaga Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Onondaga Indian vocabulary
   Onondaga picture dictionary
   Onondaga body words
   Iroquoian tribes
   Woodland tribes
   Tribes in New York
   Onondaga legends

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