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Yaqui Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yaqui pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa  a·  a Like a only held longer.
e    e Like the e sound in Spanish. In English, it is midway between the vowel sounds in met and mate.
ee  e·  e Like e only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
ii  i·  i Like i only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
oo  o·  o Like o only held longer.
u    u Like the u in flute.
uu  u·  u Like u only held longer.

Yaqui Consonants

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yaqui pronunciation:
bw  bu, b  bw Like English b only with the lips rounded--similar to the b in boo.
ch  č, c  t Like ch in chair.
h    h Like h in hay.
k    k Like the soft k in sky.
kt  tk   A little like the ct in act, but in Yaqui pronunciation, the k and t sounds are double-articulated--pronounced simultaneously. This is very difficult for English speakers to pronounce correctly. Try arranging the back of your tongue as if you are about to say a k and the front of your tongue as if you are about to say a t, then pronouncing both at the same time.
l    l Like l in light.
m    m ~ Like m in moon. At the end of a sentence or phrase, it is pronounced more breathily.
n    n ~ Like n in night. At the end of a sentence or phrase, it is pronounced more breathily.
p    p Like the soft p in spy.
r     Like r in ring.
s    s Like s in see.
t    t Like the soft t in star.
v  b  v ~ β Like v in vine, or the v in Spanish navidad.
w  gu, g w ~ gw Like w in way, or the gu in Spanish guapo.
y    j Like y in yes.
 ?, h   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Yaqui Stress

Yaqui 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 Yaqui pronunciation, all vowels are pronounced fully regardless of stress. If you weaken an unstressed vowel to a schwa you may 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. Generally speaking, the stress is on the first long vowel of a Yaqui word, or in a word with no long vowels, on the first syllable of the word.

Yaqui Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Yaqui words
   Yaqui picture dictionary
   Yaqui alphabet and sounds
   Uto-Aztecan family
   Native Americans of the Southwest
   Languages of Arizona
   Yaqui legends

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