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Assiniboine Pronunciation and Spelling Guide (Nakota)

Welcome to our Assiniboine alphabet page! The following charts show how to pronounce the Assiniboine 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 Siouan homepage to see how Assiniboine relates to other languages from the Siouan language family.

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Assiniboine Vowels

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Assiniboine pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
e    e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in English gate.
i    i Like the i in police.
o    o Like the o in note.
u    u Like the u in flute.

Assiniboine 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."

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol:
ą  an, an, aη, aN  ã
į  in, in, iη, iN  ĩ
ų  un, on, un, uη, uN  ũ

Assiniboine Consonants

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Assiniboine pronunciation:
b    b Like b in bill.
c  č, ch, c  t Like ch in chair.
c'  c’, c’  t' Like ch in char, but with a catch after it (like ch'ar).
d    d Like d in English die.
g    g Like g in gate.
ğ  , g, gh   Like the raspy g in Spanish saguaro.
h    h Like h in hay.
 x,  x Guttural sound that doesn't exist in English. The Assiniboine pronunciation sounds like the ch in German ach.
 x', x?, '  x' Like ch in German ach, but with a catch after it.
j    d Like j in jar.
k  kh,  kh Like k in key.
k'  k’, k?  k' Like k in key, but with a catch after it (like k'ey).
m    m Like m in English moon.
n    n Like n in English night.
p  ph,  ph Like p in pin.
p'  p’, p?  p' Like p in pin, but with a catch after it (like p'in).
s    s Like s in so.
s'  s’, ş  s' Like s in so, but with a catch after it (like s'o.)
š  s, sh   Like sh in show.
š'  sh', sh?, s’  ' Like sh in show, but with a catch after it (like sh'ow.)
t  th, t‘, , tx  th Like t in tie.
t'  t’, ţ  t' Like t in tie, but with a catch after it (like t'ie).
w    w Like w in way.
y    j Like y in yes.
z    z Like z in zoo.
ž  zh, j   Like a French j. In English, you can hear this sound at the end of words like garage.
 ?   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."

Assiniboine Stress

Word stress in the Sioux languages is significant. For example, in Assiniboine, eya with the stress on the second syllable means "say," but eya with the stress on the first syllable means "take." Unfortunately for language learners, native Assiniboine speakers almost never mark where the accent falls in a word (any more than English speakers do.) In texts written by linguists, sometimes you will see a stressed syllable in an Assiniboine word marked with an acute accent, such as eyá.

Assiniboine Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Aaniiih and Nakoda Speeches (Amazon affiliate link)
   Assiniboine dictionary
   Assiniboine animals
   Assiniboine history
   Great Plains Indian languages
   Native Americans in Montana
   Assiniboine mythology

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