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Yaminawa Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yaminawa pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
e  i, ï, y  i This sound does not exist in English. It sounds like the i in police only pronounced further back in the mouth. If you've ever heard a Slavic language like Russian or Polish being spoken, it is the same "dark i" sound from those languages.
i    i Like the i in police.
o  o  o Like the o in note.

Yaminawa Nasal Vowels

Nasal vowels don't exist in English, but you may be familiar with them from French (or from hearing people speak English with a French accent.) They are pronounced just like oral ("regular") vowels, only using your nose as well as your mouth. To English speakers, a nasal vowel often sounds like a vowel with a half-pronounced "n" at the end of it. You can hear examples of nasal vowels at the end of the French words "bon" and "Jean," or in the middle of the word "Français."

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol:
an  ã ã
en  ẽ ĩ
in  ĩ ĩ
on  õ õ

Yaminawa Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yaminawa pronunciation:
b    b Like b in boy.
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
d    d Like d in day.
f    φ ~ β A bilabial fricative, like an English "f" or "v" sound but pronounced without touching the upper teeth to the lower lip. The Spanish "v" and the Japanese "f" sound like this Yaminawa sound.
k  c, qu  k Like k sound in English key.
m  mb  m ~ mb Like m in moon. Sometimes it sounds more like the mb in ember.
n    n ~ nd Like n in night. Sometimes it sounds more like the nd in under.
p    p Like the p in pie.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
s    s Like s in sun.
sh  š, x   Like sh in shell.
t    t Like t in tie.
ts  tz  ts Like ts in cats.
x  shr  ʂ This sound does not exist in English or Spanish. It is a retroflex s sound like the sz of Polish.
w    w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.

Yaminawa Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Yaminahua words
   Yaminawa picture dictionary
   The Pano-Tacanan languages

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