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Tzeltal Maya Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tzeltal 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.

Tzeltal Diphthongs

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

Tzeltal Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Tzeltal pronunciation:
b    b Like b in boy.
ch  č, tc  t Like ch in chair.
ch'  č', chh, 'ch, tc'  t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
j  h, x, H, gh   x ~ h Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño. Sometimes it is pronounced more like the h in hay.
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  z  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  hu, v, u  w Like w in way.
x  š, sh, c   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Tzeltal Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Tzeltal vocabulary
   Tzeltal animals
   Tzeltal colors
   Ancient Mayan languages
   Mexico Natives

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