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Tacaneco Mayan Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tacaneco pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa  a·  a Like a only held longer.
e    e Like the Spanish e, similar to the a in English gate.
ee  e·  e Like e only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
ii  i·  i Like i only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
oo  o·  o Like o only held longer.
u  v u Like the u in flute.
uu  u·  u Like u only held longer.

Tacaneco Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tacaneco pronunciation:
ay ai  aj Like English eye.
ey ei  ej Like ey in English they.
oy oi  oj Like oy in English boy.
uy ui  uj like the uoy in English buoy.

Tacaneco Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tacaneco pronunciation:
b'  b  б Like b in boy, only implosive. To English speakers, it sounds as if Maya speakers are 'swallowing' the b sound, similar to the way b is pronounced in Vietnamese.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č'  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
j     x Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño.
k  c, qu  k Like k in key.
k'     Like k, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l Like l in light.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
p    p Like the p in pie.
q  k  q Like k only pronounced further back in the throat. This is the same sound as the q in Arabic.
q'  k',   Like q, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r     Like Spanish r, somewhat like the tt in English butter.
s    s Like the s in sun.
t    t Like the t in tell.
t'     Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
tz  ts, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
tz'  ts', ¢',  t Like tz, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w  hu, v  w Like w in way.
x  š, sh   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.
 7   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Tacanec Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Tacaneco words
   The Mayan language family
   Myths of the Mayas

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