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Wichita Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Wichita pronunciation:
a    a ~ Like the o in got. Sometimes, in an unstressed syllable, it sounds more like the u in gut.
aa    a Like the o in got, only held longer.
e    ε ~ æ Like the e in bed or the a in sad.
ee    æ Like the eah in yeah, held a long time.
i    i ~ I Like the ea in heat or the i in hit.
ii    i ~ e Like the ea in heat or the a in hate.
o    o~o Like the o in show.

Wichita Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Wichita pronunciation:
c    ts ~ t Like ch in chair or ts in tsunami.
h    h Like h in heart.
k    k Like k in skate.
kw    kw~kw Like qu in queen. Sometimes it sounds more like a rounded k sound.
p    p Like p in spill.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
s    s Like s in sing.
t    t Like t in sty.
w   w Like w in way.
    A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Wichita Tone

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

There are two main Wichita tones: high and low. The tones are usually written like this:

á high tone
a low tone


At the end of a word, a high tone is pronounced like a falling tone instead (begins high and ends up low.)

Wichita Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Wichita vocabulary
   Wichita animals
   Wichita body
   Wichita colors
   Wichita numbers
   Wichita alphabet and phonology
   Caddoan linguistics
   The Plains tribes
   Languages of Texas
   Wichita legends

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