American Indian language * American Indian tribes * American Indian heritage

  * Find Native American ancestors in your family tree

Sharanahua Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Sponsored Links

Sharanahua Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Sharanahua pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
i    i Like the i in police.
o  u  o ~ u Like the o in note or the u in flute.
u  i, ï, e, y  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.

Sharanahua 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:
an  ã ã
in  ĩ ĩ
on  õ õ
un  ũ ĩ

Sharanahua Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Sharanahua pronunciation:
c  k, qu  k As in the Spanish alphabet (from which the Sharanahua alphabet was adapted), both qu and c can represent the k sound in English key.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
f  v, b, p  φ ~ β A bilabial fricative, like an English "f" or "v" sound but pronounced without touching the upper teeth to the lower lip. The Spanish "v" and the Japanese "f" sound like this Sharanahua sound.
hu  w  w Like w in way.
j  h  h Like h in hand.
m  mb  m ~ mb Like m in moon. Sometimes it sounds more like the mb in ember.
n    n ~ nd Like n in night. Sometimes it sounds more like the nd in under.
p    p Like the p in pie.
qu  k, c  k As in the Spanish alphabet (from which the Sharanahua alphabet was adapted), both qu and c can represent the k sound in English key.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
s    s Like s in sing.
sh  x, shr  ʂ This sound does not exist in English or Spanish. It is a retroflex sh sound like the sz of Polish.
t    t Like t in tie.
ts  tz  ts Like ts in cats.
y    j Like y in yes.

Sharanahua Tones

Sharanahua 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 Sharanahua, such high and low tones are used in many words, giving the language a lively sound.

There are two tones in Sharanahua, high tone and low tone. The tone of a word is not normally marked in written Sharanahua, just as stress is not marked in English words. You just have to learn the correct tone of a word when you learn that word. If you get it wrong, it will usually just make your accent sound bad. There are only a few cases where changing the tone of a word will change its meaning.

Sharanahua Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Sharanahua words
   Panoan languages
   Indian tribes of Peru

Sponsored Links



Back to Native American Culture
Back to Native Americans for kids
Back to the Languages of South America



Indian houses * Uto-Aztecan languages * Apache culture * Cherokee removal * Loom beadwork patterns

Would you like to help support our organization's work with the Sharanahua language?



Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2015 * Contacts and FAQ page