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Northern Paiute Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Pacahuara alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Northern Paiute spellings 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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Paiute Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Paiute pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa    a Like a only held longer.
e  i  i Like the ee in meet.
ee  ii  i Like e only held longer.
i  ai, ae, ay  aj Like the i in bite.
o    o~~o~ Like the o in note or the au in caught, depending on dialect. There is no spelling difference between a long o or a short o, probably because long o occurs very rarely. In our wordlists, the only example of a long o sound is the o in togu (dog).
oe  oi  oj Like the oy in boy.
oo    u Like oo in boot.
ooo    u Like oo only held longer.
ow  au  au Like the ow in cow.
u  i, u  i This sound does not exist in English. It sounds like the i in police only pronounced further back in the mouth. If you've ever heard a Slavic language like Russian or Polish being spoken, it is the same "dark i" sound from those languages.
uu    i Like u only held longer.

Paiute Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Paiute pronunciation:
b  p  p Like the soft p in spin.
bb    b Like b in bin. Not all dialects of Northern Paiute have this sound.
d  t   Like the soft t in still.
dd    d Like d in dill. Not all dialects of Northern Paiute have this sound.
dds  dz, ds  dz Like the ds in Edsel. Not all dialects of Northern Paiute have this sound.
g  k  k Like the soft k in skill.
gg    g Like the g in gill. Not all dialects of Northern Paiute have this sound.
gw  kw  kw Like the soft qu in square.
ggw  gw  gw Like the gw in Gwen. Not all dialects of Northern Paiute have this sound.
h    h Like h in hay.
k    k Like the soft k in skate.
kw   khw Like qu in queen.
m    m Like m in moon.
mm  hm   A voiceless M sound that doesn't exist in English. To English speakers, it sounds a little like pronouncing an m and h simultaneously.
n    n Like n in night.
nn  hn   A voiceless N sound that doesn't exist in English. To English speakers, it sounds a little like pronouncing an n and h simultaneously.
ng    ŋ Like ng in sing.
nng  hng, ngh   A voiceless NG sound that doesn't exist in English. To English speakers, it sounds a little like pronouncing an ng and h simultaneously.
p    ph Like the p in pin.
s    s Like s in see.
s  s   Like sh in shell.
t    t Like the t in still.
ts    ths Like the ts in tsunami.
tz    ts Like ts only softer; more like the ts in mists.
w  u w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
z  ts  z Like z in zoo. Not all Paiute dialects have this sound.
 , ?   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Paiute Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Paiute words
   Uto-Aztecan languages
   Indian tribes of Utah

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