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K'ekchi' phonetics

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This is a child node of Portal:kek

Sounds found (mostly) in English[edit]

  • A
    • As the 'a' in 'all'.
  • B
    • When not at the end of a word, a sharp 'b' as the 'b' in 'bell'.
    • When at the end of a word, a sharp 'p' as the 'p' in 'lap' but with no 'pah' following. The lips should remain closed with this sound.
  • C
    • As the 'c' in 'cat'
  • E
    • A soft 'e' as the 'e' in 'end'.
  • H
    • As the 'h' in 'hope'.
  • I
    • As the 'ee' in 'beep'.
  • J
    • As the 'h' in the German word 'herr' (mister), but with a tiny bit more glottal.
  • L
    • When not at the end of a word, as the 'l' in 'let'.
    • When at the end of a word, as the 'l' in 'let' followed by voiceless air pushing around the tongue while still holding the shape of the mouth forming the 'l' sound.
  • M
    • As the 'm' in 'mote'.
  • N
    • As the 'n' in 'net'
    • When preceding a c type sound, as the 'en' in 'English'.
  • O
    • As the 'o' in 'mote'.
  • Q
    • Same as 'c'.
  • S
    • As the 's' in 'saw'.
  • T
    • As the 't' in 'top'.
  • U
    • As the 'oo' in 'boot'.
  • X
    • As the 'sh' in 'shop'.
  • Y
    • Must be followed by a value sound. An example would be 'ya' and would be said as the 'tya' in 'Satyagraha'.
  • TZ
    • As the 'ts' in 'cats'.

Long Vowels[edit]

Vowels can be elongated with an underscore: a, e, i, o, u. Simply say the appropriate vowel sound for twice the duration. Some spellings prefer to type the vowel twice which has the same affect. Therefore "ch'ol" would have the same pronunciation as "ch'ool".

Sounds unique to K'ekchi'[edit]

Note that the ' acts as a glottal.

  • Vowels followed by a glottal are simple. English does this in common speech as the 'ough' stops glottaly in 'thoughtless'. Notice that the 't' was not pronounced, but rather the 'ough' stopped and then was followed by 'less'. An example is K'ekchi' is "ca'al".
  • B'
    • Pronounce 'b' forcefully with a glottal.
  • C'
    • As the 'c' in 'cat' except forcefully with a glottal.
  • K
    • The tongue is positioned as the 'g' in 'ghost'. but pronounced sharply as a 'c' would be. This should allow more air through, making an 'airy' 'c'.
  • K'
    • Positioned exactly as the 'k' is said, but a glottal pressure on the tongue and then said produces a 'click' in the throat.
  • Q'
    • Same as c'.
  • R
    • Similar to the trilled 'r' in Spanish, but without rolling the tongue. Also, More air is passed as if it were 'hr'.
  • T'
    • Same as 't' but with a glottal pressure which makes a sharper 't' sound.
  • W/CU/GU
    • 'cua' in some areas is pronounced as the 'qua' in 'quaff'. In other areas the 'c' has a feint 'g' sound and would be closely said as the 'gua' in 'Guam'. And yet in some areas the 'c' would be completely omitted and would be more like the 'wa' in 'wand'. When the 'cu(vowel)' sound is found within a word and not at the start of the word, the 'cu' is almost never pronounced with the 'c', but rather with a 'w' or a feint 'g' sound. There are 3 different accepted spellings of this sound as noted in the bullet of this item.

Extra Details[edit]

It is interesting to note that K'ekchi has no equivalent 'f' sound. When native K'ekchi' speakers try to use foreign words with the 'f' sound, they often replace it with a 'p' sound.