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Tojolabal Maya Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

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

Tojolabal Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tojolabal pronunciation:
ay ai  aj Like English eye.
ey ei  ej Like ey in English they.
oy oi  oj Like oy in English boy.

Tojolabal Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tojolabal pronunciation:
b    b ~ б Like b in boy. Many Maya speakers pronounce this sound implosively, as if they were 'swallowing' the b sound, similar to the way b is pronounced in Vietnamese. At the end of a word this sound often is not pronounced at all.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č', chh, 'ch  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
h  j  h Like h in hay.
j  h   x Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño.
k  c, qu  k Like k in key.
k'  c', q'u, qu', , 'c   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.
p'  pp   Like p, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
s    s Like the s in sun.
t    t Like the t in tell.
t'  tt   Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
ts  tz, ¢  ts Like ts in cats.
ts'  tz', , ¢', 'tz  t Like ts, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w  u, hu  w Like w in way.
x  š, sh   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Tojolabal Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Tojolabal words
   Tojolabal picture dictionary
   The Mayan languages
   Mexico indigenous languages

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