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Pipil Pronunciation and Spelling Guide

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

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Pipil pronunciation:
a    a Like the a in father.
a:  aa  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.
e:  ee  e Like e only held longer.
i    i Like the i in police.
i:  ii  i Like i only held longer.
o    o Like the o in note.
o:  oo  o Like o only held longer.
u   u Like the u in flute.
u:  uu  u Like u only held longer.

Pipil Consonants

We Use:
Also Used:
IPA symbol: Pipil pronunciation:
ch  č  t Like ch in chair.
h    h Like h in hay.
k    k ~ g Like the soft k in skate. Sometimes, especially between vowels, the Pipil pronunciation sounds more like the g in gate.
kw  qu kw Like qu in English square.
l    l Like l in light.
m    m Like m in moon.
n    n Like n in night.
ng    ŋ Like ng in sing.
p    p Like the soft p in spy.
r     Like Spanish r, a little like the tt in English butter.
s    s Like s in see.
t    t Like the soft t in star.
tl  hl, ł  ł This sound is a lateral fricative that doesn't really exist in English. The Pipil pronunciation 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. Not all dialects of Pipil have this sound.
ts  tz, c  ts Like ts in cats.
w   w ~ Like w in way. At the end of a word or before a consonant, Pipil w is usually pronounced voicelessly, like the sound made when blowing out a candle.
x  sh, š   Like sh in shell.
y    j Like y in yes.

Nawat/Pipil Indian Pronunciation and Vocabulary Resources

   Nawat words
   Pipil picture dictionary
   Nawat colors
   The Nawat/Pipil alphabet
   The Uto-Aztecan language family
   Aztecan legends

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