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Sekani Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Sekani pronunciation:
a  aa, o  a Like the a in father.
e    e Like Spanish e, similar to the a in English gate.
i  ı  I Like the i in sick.
o  ō o Like the o in note.
oo  u, uu, ū u Like the u in flute.
u  , a, û   Like the u in but.

Sekani 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:
a  ą  ã
e  ę  ẽ
o    õ

Sekani Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Sekani pronunciation:
b    b Like b in bill.
ch  č, c, tc  t Like ch in chair.
ch'    t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
d    d Like d in day.
dl    dł Somewhat like the dle in ladle.
dz  ds  dz Like ds in Edsel.
g    g Like g in gate.
gh  g, γ  γ Like the g in the Spanish word saguaro. It sounds like the "ch" sound in German words like "ach," only voiced.
h    h Like h in English hay.
j  dzh, dj  d Like the j in jar.
k    kh Like k in kill.
k'     Like k, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
kh  x  x Like the ch in German ach.
kw    kw Like qu in queen.
kw'  k'w  w Like kw, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l Like l in light.
lh  ł  ł This sound is a lateral fricative that doesn't really exist in English. It sounds like the "ll" in the Welsh name "Llewellyn." Some English speakers can pronounce it well if they try to pronounce the "breathy l" in the word clue without the c in front of it.
m    m Like m in moon. This sound doesn't exist in most Sekani dialects.
n    n Like n in night.
s    s Like s in sing.
sh  š, c   Like sh in shy.
t    th Like t in till.
t'     Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tl    tł Somewhat like the tle in bottle.
ts    ts Like ts in tsunami.
ts'  t  t Like ts, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w   w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
z  z  z Like z in zoo.
 ʔ, ?   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Sekani Tone

Sekani is a tone language. Some Sekani 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 Sekani, such high and low tones are used in nearly every word, giving the language a lively sound.

There are two main Sekani tones: high and low. Most Sekani speakers do not mark tone when they write their language. They remember the tonality of a word naturally, just as English speakers remember how to pronounce the stress on each word without having to mark it. However, some writers, especially linguists, mark a high tone with an acute accent, like this:

á high tone
a low tone

Sekani Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Sekani words
   Sekani picture dictionary
   Athabascan Indians
   Western Subarctic languages
   Languages of British Columbia
   Sekani legends

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