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Bora Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Bora pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
aa    a Like a only held longer.
e    e Like the e sound in Spanish, similar to the a in gate.
ee    e Like e only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
ii    i Like i only held longer.
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.
ii    i Like i only held longer.
o    o Like o in note.
oo    o Like o only held longer.
u     Like u in flute, only with the lips unrounded.
uu     Like u only held longer.

Bora Consonants

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Bora pronunciation:
b    b ~ p Like b in bin or the unaspirated p in pin.
c  k, qu  kh Like the c in cat. C and k in this orthography are pronounced exactly the same.
ch    t Like ch in cheese.
d    d ~ t Like d in day or the unaspirated t in stay.
ds  dz  dz Like the ds in Edsel.
g    g ~ k Like g in gate or the unaspirated k in skate.
h  ’   A pause sound, like the one in the middle of the word "uh-oh."
j  h  x Like the raspy j in Spanish jalapeño.
k  c, qu  kh Like the k in king. C and k in this orthography are pronounced exactly the same.
ll  j, dj  d Like j in jar.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
ñ    ny Like ny in canyon.
p    ph Like p in pin.
r     Like the r in Spanish pero, somewhat like the tt in American English butter.
s    s Like the s in sun.
sh     Like sh in shell.
t    th Like t in take.
ts  tz  ts Like the ts in cats.
v    β Bilabial v as in Spanish navidad. It resembles an English v sound but is pronounced between the two lips instead of with the top teeth against your lip.
w  kp, pk  kp This is a coarticulated sound does not exist in English. It is actually a k and p pronounced simultaneously.
y    y Like y in yes.

Bora Tones

Bora is a tone language. Some syllables are pronounced with higher pitch than others. In English, the last syllable of a question is pronounced with high pitch, so you can hear the difference between sentences like "You see a man." and "You see a man?" In Bora pronunciation, such high and low tones are used in nearly every word, giving the language a lively sound.

There are two tones in Bora, high tone and low tone. High tones are marked with an acute accent, like this:

a low tone
á high tone

Bora Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   The Amazonian Languages (Amazon affiliate link)
   Bora words
   Bora picture dictionary
   Bora body
   Bora-Witoto languages

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