Help:IPA/Nahuatl

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Nahuatl pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-nah}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

Distinction is made between Classical Nahuatl (nci; the one used in colonial times), Huasteca Nahuatl (nhe; the most spoken variant) and Orizaba Nahuatl (nlv; the third most spoken), which are the main Nahuan languages, so this pronunciation guide is based on the phonology of the three. Neither variant is preferred at Wikipedia, except in cases where a pronunciation is clearly more relevant, such as an individual in the Aztec Empire or a place in La Huasteca.

Consonants[1]
IPA Examples English approximation
nci nhe nlv
ʔ[2] x[3] h[4] tlahtōlli, ahki nci: uh-oh

nhe: Scottish loch

nlv: ahead

h[5] ehēkatl, ihīya nci: uh-oh

nhe & nlv: ahead

j yāōtl, yōllōtl, āmēyalli yellow
k[6] h[7] k[8] tikchīwah, niknōtsas nci & nlv: scan

nhe: ahead

k[9] kōlōtl, kalli, kēski, ātōyāk scan
[10] k[11] wktli, newktli nci: squall

nhe & nlv: scan

[12] kwalli, kwi, kwetlaxtli squall
l[13] lichīniā, alaxox, pīwil clear l as in leave
ɬ[14] mātlālki, nokal, axkwallākatl Welsh llwyd
m mistli, pampa, kwamekatl man
n[15] nāntsin, nemi, kanah nose
[16] ŋ[17] inōn, tlālpan, kēnwak nci & nhe: Welsh fy nhad

nlv: sing

ŋ[18] kenke, tlanki, Tōllāntsinko sing
p[19] pitsotl, nopa, wīptla span
s sōlin, tlasalōlli, mōstla sack
ʃ xowitl, kaxitl, xāmitl, Xālīxko shoe
t[20] tīsatl, tlākatki, moīxtēnno stand
t͡ɬ[21] tlālli, tlitl, chīchīwalātl stop + Welsh llwyd (pronouncing both simultaneously will produce a clicking sound)
t͡ʃ[22] chāntli, tōchin, chokolātl choo
t͡s[23] tsahtsi, tsotso, wītsilin cats
w[24] v[25] kichīwa, mēwa, nikihtowa nci & nhe: witch

nlv: van

f[26] ihwitl, yehwān, ilwitl, nokalwan nci & nhe: witch

nlv: leaf

ʍ[27] h[28] tōnatiw, kwāwtli, mochīwkeh nci: which (as "hwich")

nhe & nlv: ahead

Marginal phonemes[29]
IPA Examples English approximation
b botōntik, bokol about
β hoeves about, but without lips completely closed
d desfilarohki today
ð presidenteh this
f fōlsahyōtl, fiolin leaf
ɡ gayetah again
ɣ nogitarrah again, but without the tongue touching the roof of the mouth
ɲ kwamoñekoh, piñatah canyon
r rechōni, wirrīni, rowenteh trilled r
ɾ haranah, pohrearoh atom (with flapping)
Vowels
IPA Examples English approximation
a astatl, kalli bra
āmatl, siwātl (long a)
e epatl, metl met
ēli, mētstli mate
i[30] itskwīntli, xilin city
īpampa, tomīn see
o[31] nokka, tolōntik go[32]
ōllama, mōlli go
Stress
ˈ Primary stress[33] Placed immediately before the stressed syllable.
Diacritics
◌ˀ wāki [ˈwaːkiˀ] Glottal stop[34]
◌̥ xālloh [ˈʃaːloo̥] Devoiced vowel[35]
◌̃ Tōllan [ˈtoːlãn̥] Nasal vowel[36]
Other representations
( ) tlahtni [t͡ɬaxto(w)aːnɪˀ] Optional sound[37]
Orthography[38]
INALI SEP ACK Jesuit
tlahtohkeh tlajtojkej tlahtohqueh tlàtòquê
teohkalli, kēmman teojkali, keman teohcalli, quēmman teòcalli, quēmman
kwawitl, mākkwawitl kuauitl, majkuauitl cuahuitl, māccuahuitl quahuitl, mācquahuitl
astēkah, ahso, san astekaj, ajso, san aztēcah, ahzo, zan aztēcâ, àço, çan
Wītsilōpōchtli, xiwwalli Uitsilopochtli, xiujpouali Huītzilōpōchtli, xiuhhualli

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Consonants can be geminated, including /l/ (spelled as ll, but not pronounced as in Spanish) (Andrews 2003, p. 33).
  2. ^ /h/ is always pronounced as [ʔ] in Classical Nahuatl.
  3. ^ /h/ is pronounced as [x] in Huasteca Nahuatl only when it comes before another consonant.
  4. ^ /h/ is always pronounced as [h] in Orizaba Nahuatl.
  5. ^ /h/ is pronounced as [h] in Huasteca Nahuatl only when it comes before a vowel.
  6. ^ /k/ is always pronounced as [k] in Classical Nahuatl.
  7. ^ /k/ is pronounced as [h] in Huasteca Nahuatl only when it comes before another /k/ or it represents a third person singular specific object prefix and is followed by a consonant.
  8. ^ /k/ is pronounced as [k] in Orizaba Nahuatl. There may be variation with [kʼ]~[kʰ].
  9. ^ /k/ is pronounced as [k] in Huasteca Nahuatl when it comes before a vowel.
  10. ^ /kʷ/ is always pronounced as [kʷ] in Classical Nahuatl.
  11. ^ /kʷ/ is pronounced as [k] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl before another consonant. In Huasteca, when it comes before a /k/, it is pronounced as [h].
  12. ^ /kʷ/ is pronounced as [kʷ] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl before a vowel. There may be variation with [kꟹ]~[gʷ]. In some towns of Huasteca it is pronounced as [ɓ].
  13. ^ /l/ is always pronounced as [l] when it comes before a vowel, /m/ or /n/. When there's a double L, it is geminated.
  14. ^ /l/ is always pronounced as [ɬ] when it comes before a consonant (that is neither /m/ or /n/) or is at the end of a word.
  15. ^ /n/ is always pronounced as [n] when it comes before a vowel or another consonant (that is neither /j/ or /w/).
  16. ^ /n/ is always pronounced as [n̥] in Classical and Huasteca Nahuatl at the end of a word. This is why /n/ is considered the weakest consonant in Nahuatl.
  17. ^ /n/ is pronounced as [ŋ] in Orizaba Nahuatl at the end of a word.
  18. ^ /n/ is always pronounced as [ŋ] when it comes before a /k/.
  19. ^ /p/ is pronounced as [p]. In Orizaba Nahuatl there may be variation with [pʼ]~[pʰ].
  20. ^ /t/ is pronounced as [t]. In Orizaba Nahuatl there may be variation with [tʼ]~[tʰ]. In Huasteca Nahuatl there are some cases where it is pronounced as [h] only when it comes before another /t/.
  21. ^ /t͡ɬ/ is pronounced as [t͡ɬ]. In some towns of Huasteca it is pronounced as [t].
  22. ^ /t͡ʃ/ is pronounced as [t͡ʃ]. It may become [ʃ] before another consonant (this depends on the variant, region and speaker).
  23. ^ /t͡s/ is pronounced as [t͡s]. It may become [s] before another consonant (this depends on the variant, region and speaker).
  24. ^ /w/ is always pronounced as [w] in Classical and Huasteca Nahuatl before a vowel.
  25. ^ /w/ is pronounced as [v] in Orizaba Nahuatl before a vowel but never after /h/ or /l/. There may be variation with [w]~[β].
  26. ^ /w/ is pronounced as [f] in Orizaba Nahuatl after /h/ or /l/. There may be variation with [w]~[ɸ].
  27. ^ /w/ is always pronounced as [ʍ] in Classical Nahuatl.
  28. ^ /w/ is always pronounced as [h] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl when it is before another consonant or at the end of a word.
  29. ^ These are phonemes that are not common or can only be found in loanwords.
  30. ^ /i/ is generally pronounced as [i], but at the end of many words it is pronounced as [ɪ]. This is why /i/ is considered the weakest vowel in Nahuatl.
  31. ^ /o/ is generally pronounced as [o], but in some regions it is pronounced as [u]. This happens because native speakers of Nahuatl hear these two vowels as a single sound.
  32. ^ The Nahuatl /o/ is different from every English vowel, but the nearest equivalents are the vowel of coat (for most English dialects) and the vowel of saw.
  33. ^ Primary stress nearly always occurs on the penultimate (second to last) syllable. The only exceptions are vocative forms, in which case the final syllable is stressed, and words composed of two monosyllables. In Orizaba Nahuatl there are many words that stress the antepenultimate syllable, when the root of the nouns is two syllables or more and ends in a consonant.
  34. ^ All ending vowels are pronounced with a glottal stop. This is not to be confused with the midword glottal stop found in Classical, which is written with h.
  35. ^ This only occurs with final -h if it is the plural suffix of verbs in present tense, the plural suffix of nouns, the plural suffix of the preterite tense and of agentive nouns, the ending of the preterite nucleus of class 3 verbs (including agentive nouns), and the end of Spanish loanwords that end in a vowel.
  36. ^ Nasalization only occurs when a word ends with -n. Usually, this is ignored because it is implicitly understood that with the final -n the vowel is pronounced this way.
  37. ^ This occurs mainly with words ending in -iā / -iya and -oā / -owa, where the phonemes /j/ and /w/ may disappear (this depends on the variant, region and speaker).
  38. ^ Andrews 2003, p. 655-658

Sources[edit]

  • Andrews, J. Richard (2003). Introduction to classical Nahuatl (rev. ed.). Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 24–38. ISBN 0-8061-3452-6.
  • Karttunen, Frances (1992). An analytical dictionary of Nahuatl. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2421-0.
  • Launey, Michel (2011). Mackay, Christopher (ed.). An Introduction to Classical Nahuatl. Cambridge University Press. pp. 4–5.
  • Lockhart, James (2001). Nahuatl as written: lessons in older written Nahuatl, with copious examples and texts (Orig. print ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press [u.a.] ISBN 0-8047-4282-0.
  • Sullivan, John (2016). Tlahtolxitlauhcayotl: Chicontepec, Veracruz (PDF) (in Nāhuatl) (Orig. print ed.). Warsaw: University of Warsaw. ISBN 978-83-63636-51-7.