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Wiyot Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Wiyot alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Wiyot orthography we have used on our site, as well as some alternate spellings that you may find in other books and websites. You may also like to visit our Algonkian homepage to see how Wiyot relates to other languages from the Algic language family.

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Wiyot Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Wiyot pronunciation:
a  a∙, a:  ə ~ ə Like the a in above.
e  æ, ä, e∙, e:  e ~ e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in Kate.
i  ī, i∙, i:  i ~ i Like the i in police.
o  ô, o∙, o:, a   ~ Like the o in lost.
u  u∙, u:  u ~ u  Like the u in flute.

Wiyot Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Wiyot pronunciation:
b  B, β, v, m  β ~ m Like the v in a Spanish word like navidad. It sounds similar to a cross between English b and v. In the beginning of a word, Wiyot speakers frequently pronounce this sound like an m instead.
c  ts  ts Like c in dancer.
ch  ts, z  tsh Like ts in tsunami, with a strong puff of air following it.
č  ch, dj  t Like ch in urchin.
čh  tc, tch, ch, ž  th Like ch in chin, with a strong puff of air following it.
d  r, ad   Like the unrolled Spanish "r" in words like "pero." A bit like the "d" in the English word "edit."
g  γ, gh  γ Like the g in the Spanish word saguaro. It sounds like the "ch" sound in German words like "ach," only voiced.
h    h Like h in English hay.
k  g  k Like the unaspirated k in skin.
kh  k, g  kh Like k in kin, with a strong puff of air following it.
kw  gw kw A k sound pronounced with rounded lips, similar to the ch in school.
kwh  kw, kw khw A k sound pronounced with rounded lips and a strong whistling puff of air at the end. If you try to strongly pronounce the nonsense syllable quoot (so that it rhymes with boot,) the qu you pronounce will sound much like Wiyot kwh.
l    l Like l in English light.
ł  L, hl  ł This sound is a lateral fricative that doesn't really exist in English. It sounds like the "ll" in the Welsh name "Llewellyn." Some English speakers can pronounce it well if they try to pronounce the "breathy l" in the word clue without the c in front of it.
m    m Like m in English moon.
n    n Like n in English night.
p  b  p Like the unaspirated p in spill.
ph  p, b  ph Like p in pill, with a strong puff of air after it.
r     Like the r in American English road.
s  z  s Like s in sun.
š  sh, c   Like sh in shy.
t  d  t Like the unaspirated t in sty.
th  t, d  th Like t in tie, with a strong puff of air after it.
w   w Like w in English way.
y    j Like y in English yes.
 h   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Wiyot Stress

Wiyot has less pronounced word stress than English does. In English, unstressed vowels are often weakened to schwas, which makes the stress sound very strong. (An example of this is the word "rebel." When "rebel" is a noun, the stress is on the first syllable and the word is pronounced REH-bəl. When "rebel" is a verb, the stress is on the second syllable and the word is pronounced rə-BELL.) But in Wiyot, all vowels are pronounced fully regardless of stress, and are never reduced to schwas. If you weaken an unstressed vowel to a schwa you will often change the meaning of the word, so be careful not to do this!

Although stress is less pronounced than it is in English, it is still present. A stressed syllable is pronounced longer in Wiyot, and also louder. This combined with the strong sounds of Wiyot can make the language sound very forceful.

Wiyot Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Wiyot words
   Wiyot picture dictionary
   Algonquian language family
   Native Americans of California

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