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Yurok Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

Welcome to our Yukpa alphabet page! The following charts show the pronunciation for the Yurok 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 Yurok relates to other languages from the Algic language family.

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Yurok Vowels

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yurok pronunciation:
 a  a  a Like the a in father.
 aa  a∙, a:, a  a Like the a in father, only held longer.
 e  e  e ~ ε Like the a in gate or the e in get.
 i  i  i Like the i in police.
 ii  i∙, i:, i  i Like the i in police, only held longer.
 o  o  o Like the o in note.
 oo  o∙, o:, o  o Like the o in note, only held longer.
 u  u  u  Like the u in flute.
 uu  u∙, u:, u  u Like the u in flute, only held longer.
 r  , r, er   Like the er in water.
 rr  ∙, r:, r   Like the er in water, only held longer.

Yurok Diphthongs

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yurok pronunciation:
aw  au  aw Like ow in English cow.
ay  ai  aj Like English eye.
ew  eo  ew This sound doesn't really exist in English. It sounds a little like saying the "AO" from "AOL" quickly.
ey  ei  ej Like ay in English hay.
iw    iw Like a child saying ew!
oy    oj Like the oy in boy, especially the way it's pronounced in Australian English.
uy    uj This sound doesn't really exist in English. It sounds a little like saying the ewy from chewy quickly.
rw  w  w Like the irw in Irwin.
ry  y  j Like saying the urry in furry quickly.

Yurok Consonants and Consonant Clusters

Character
We Use:
Sometimes
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Yurok pronunciation:
ch  c, ts  t ~ ts Like chair in chair or ts in tsunami.
ch'  c',  t ~ t Like ch, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
g  γ, gh  γ Like the g in the Spanish word saguaro.
h    h Like h in English hay.
k    k ~ kh Like the unaspirated k in skin. At the end of a word the Yurok pronunciation sounds more like the aspirated k in rock.
k'     Like k, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
kw    kw~kw Similar to the qu in English queen.
k'w  w  w~w Like kw, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
l    l Like l in English light.
'l    l ~ Either like a consonant cluster of glottal stop and l, or else like a glottalized l (pronounced with a pop of air.)
hl  ł  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.
'm   m ~ Either like a consonant cluster of glottal stop and m, or else like a glottalized m (pronounced with a pop of air.)
n    n Like n in English night.
'n    n ~ Either like a consonant cluster of glottal stop and n, or else like a glottalized n (pronounced with a pop of air.)
p    p ~ ph Like the unaspirated p in spin. At the end of a word the Yurok pronunciation sounds more like the aspirated p in hop.
p'     Like p, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
r     Like the r in British English road.
'r     ~ Either like a consonant cluster of glottal stop and r, or else like a glottalized r (pronounced with a pop of air.)
s    s Like s in sun.
sh  š   Like sh in shy.
t    t ~ th Like the unaspirated t in star. At the end of a word the Yurok pronunciation sounds more like the aspirated t in hat.
t'     Like t, only glottalized (pronounced with a pop of air.)
w   w ~ γw Like w in English way. Between vowels it sounds more like the gu in the Spanish word saguaro.
'w   w ~ Either like a consonant cluster of glottal stop and w, or else like a glottalized w (pronounced with a pop of air.)
y    j Like y in English yes.
'y    j ~ Either like a consonant cluster of glottal stop and y, or else like a glottalized y (pronounced with a pop of air.)
'     A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Notice that in this Yurok spelling system, the symbol r is used both for a consonant r sound (like the one in road) and a vowel r sound (like the one in water.)

Yurok Stress

In English, the stress of a word is important. A word like "alone" will always be stressed on the same syllable (the second one.) In fact, some English words even have different meanings depending on the stress. For example, "rebel" is a noun if the first syllable is stressed, but it is a verb if the second syllable is stressed. On the other hand, vowel length is not very important in English. Different speakers will hold the "o" in "alone" for different amounts of time, depending on the sentence they are speaking and their mood when they are speaking it.

Yurok is just the opposite. A Yurok word may be pronounced with one syllable stressed in one sentence, but with a different syllable stressed in a different sentence. However, the length of a vowel is very important. A double vowel, like oo, is held twice as long as the single vowel o. Pronouncing a vowel shorter or longer can change the meaning of a Yurok word.

Yurok Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Yurok words
   Yurok animal words
   Yurok alphabet
   Algonquian languages
   Languages of California
   Yurok legends

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