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Pech (Paya) Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Pech pronunciation:
a    a ~ ə Like the a in father. Sometimes the Pech pronunciation sounds more like the a in about.
aa    a Like a only held longer.
e    e ~ ε Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gate. Sometimes the Pech pronunciation sounds more like the e in get.
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. Sometimes the Pech pronunciation sounds more like the aw in hawk.
oo    o Like o only held longer.
u    u Like the u in flute.
uu    u Like u only held longer.

Pech Nasal Vowels

Nasal vowels don't 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:
ã  a ã
ãã  a ã
 e
ẽẽ  e
ĩ  i ĩ
ĩĩ  i ĩ
õ  o õ
õõ  o õ
ũ  u ũ
ũũ  u ũ

Pech Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Pech pronunciation:
b    b Like b in boy.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
h  j  h Like h in hay.
k  c, qu  k Like the k in kiss.
kw  qu  kw Similar to the qu in queen.
l    l Like l in light.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
ñ    ñ Like ny in canyon.
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.
sh  x   Like sh in shell.
t    t Like the t in tell.
w  hu  w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
 h, ?   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Pech Tones

Pech is a tone language. Some syllables are pronounced with higher pitch than others. In English, the last syllable of a question is pronounced with high pitch, so you can hear the difference between sentences like "You see a man." and "You see a man?" In Pech pronunciation, such high and low tones are used in nearly every word, giving the language a lively sound.

There are two tones in Pech, high tone and low tone. High tones are marked with an acute accent, like this:

a low tone
á high tone

Pech/Paya Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Pech words
   Macro-Chibchan

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