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 Template:IPA 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 town in La Huasteca.

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

nhe & nlv: ahead

j yāōtl, yōllōtl, āmēyalli yellow
k[4] h[5] k[6] tikchīwah, niknōtsas nci & nlv: scan

nhe: ahead

k[7] kōlōtl, kalli, kēski, ātōyāk scan
[8] k[9] kwtli, nekwtli nci: squall

nhe & nlv: scan

[10] kwalli, mokwi, kwetlaxtli squall
l[11] lichīnia, alaxox, pīwilia clear l as in leave
ɬ[12] mātlālki, nokal, axkwallākatl Welsh llwyd
m mistli, kōmitl, kwamekatl man
n[13] nāntsin, nemi, kanah nose
[14] ŋ[15] inōn, tlālpan, Āmatitlan nci: Welsh fy nhad

nlv: sing

ŋ[16] kenke, tlanki, Tōllāntsinko sing
p[17] pitsotl, nopa, wīptla span
sōlin, tlasalōlli, mōstla sack
ʃ xowitl, kaxitl, xāmitl, Xālīxko shoe
t[18] tīsatl, tlākatki, moīxtēnno stand
t͡ɬ[19] tlālli, tlitl, chīchīwalātl stop + Welsh llwyd (pronouncing both simultaneously will produce a clicking sound)
t͡ʃ[20] chāntli, tōchin, chokolātl choo
t͡s[21] tsahtsi, tsotso, wītsilin cats
w[22] β[23] kichīwa, mēwa, kitlapōwia nci & nhe: witch

nlv: van

ɸ[24] ihwitl, yehwān, ilwitl, nokalwan nci & nhe: witch

nlv: leaf

ʍ[25] h[26] tōnatiw, kwāwtli, mochīwkeh nci: which (as "hwich")

nhe & nlv: ahead

Marginal phonemes[27]
IPA Examples English approximation
b botōntik, bokōl about
β ēbofotōn, hoēbes about, but without lips completely closed
d desfilāroa, dīskoh today
ð presidēnteh this
f fōlsahyōtl, fiolin, fiērohtik, kafēn leaf
ɡ gayētah, teposgarrōteh again
ɣ kastigāroa, kigānchohwia again, but without the tongue touching the roof of the mouth
ɲ kwamonyēkoh, pinyātah canyon
r wirrīni, rerrechoka trilled r
ɾ rowēnteh, pohrroh atom (with flapping)
Vowels
IPA Examples English approximation
a astatl, kalli bra
āmatl, siwātl (long a)
ɛ[28] epatl, metl length
ɛː ēli, mētstli mate
i[29] itskwīntli, xilin city
īpanpa, tomīn see
o[30] nokka, tolōntik go[31]
ōllama, mōlli go
Stress
ˈ Primary stress[32] Placed immediately before the stressed syllable.
Diacritics
◌ˀ wāki [ˈwaːkɪˀ] Glottal stop[33]
◌̥ xālloh [ˈʃaːlːoo̥] Devoiced vowel[34]
◌̃ Tōllān [ˈtoːlːãː] Nasal vowel[35]
Other representations
( ) tlahtni [t͡ɬahtu(w)aːnɪˀ] Optional sound[36]
Orthography[37]
INALI SEP ACK Jesuit
tlahtohkeh tlajtojkej tlahtohqueh tlàtòquê
teōkalli, kēman teokali, keman teōcalli, quēmman teōcalli, quēnman
nekwtsin, mākkwawitl neuktsin, majkuauitl neuctzin, māccuahuitl neuctzin, mācquahuitl
astēkah, ahso, sintli astekaj, ajso, sintli aztēcah, ahzo, cintli aztēcâ, àço, cintli
Wītsilōpōchtli, xiwwalli Uitsilopochtli, xiujpouali Huītzilōpōchtli, xiuhhualli

Jc Modesto CA king azteca

I jakarri Jones am the Aztec King King Lion

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Consonants can be geminated, including [lː] (spelled as ll, but not pronounced as in Spanish) (Andrews 2003, p. 33).
  2. ^ ⟨h⟩ is always pronounced [ʔ] in Classical Nahuatl in the middle of a word.
  3. ^ ⟨h⟩ is pronounced [h] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl in the middle of a word and [ç] when it comes before ⟨y⟩.
  4. ^ ⟨k⟩ is always pronounced [k] in Classical Nahuatl.
  5. ^ ⟨k⟩ is pronounced [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. Second ⟨k⟩ may be pronounced as [h] too.
  6. ^ ⟨k⟩ is pronounced [k] in Orizaba Nahuatl. There may be variation with [kʼ]~[kʰ].
  7. ^ ⟨k⟩ is pronounced [k] in Huasteca Nahuatl when it comes before a vowel.
  8. ^ ⟨kw⟩ is always pronounced [kʷ] in Classical Nahuatl.
  9. ^ ⟨kw⟩ is pronounced [k] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl before another consonant. In Huasteca, when it comes before a ⟨k⟩, it is pronounced [h].
  10. ^ ⟨kw⟩ is pronounced [kʷ] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl before a vowel. There may be variation with [kꟹ]~[gʷ]. In some towns of La Huasteca it is pronounced [ɓ].
  11. ^ ⟨l⟩ is always pronounced [l] when it comes before a vowel, ⟨m⟩ or ⟨n⟩. When there's a double L, it is geminated.
  12. ^ ⟨l⟩ is always pronounced [ɬ] when it comes before a consonant (that is neither ⟨m⟩ or ⟨n⟩) or is at the end of a word.
  13. ^ ⟨n⟩ is always pronounced [n] when it comes before a vowel, and pronounced [m] when it comes before ⟨m⟩ or ⟨p⟩. In Huasteca Nahuatl, when it comes before ⟨y⟩, it is pronounced [j].
  14. ^ ⟨n⟩ is always pronounced [n̥] in Classical Nahuatl at the end of a word. This is why ⟨n⟩ is considered the weakest consonant in Nahuatl.
  15. ^ ⟨n⟩ is pronounced [ŋ] in Orizaba Nahuatl at the end of a word.
  16. ^ ⟨n⟩ is always pronounced [ŋ] when it comes before a ⟨k⟩.
  17. ^ ⟨p⟩ is pronounced [p]. In Orizaba Nahuatl there may be variation with [pʼ]~[pʰ].
  18. ^ ⟨t⟩ is pronounced [t]. In Orizaba Nahuatl there may be variation with [tʼ]~[tʰ]. In Huasteca Nahuatl there are some cases where it is pronounced [h] only when it comes before another ⟨t⟩.
  19. ^ ⟨tl⟩ is pronounced [t͡ɬ]. In some towns of La Huasteca it is pronounced [t].
  20. ^ ⟨ch⟩ is pronounced [t͡ʃ]. It may become [ʃ] before another consonant (this depends on the variant, region and speaker).
  21. ^ ⟨ts⟩ is pronounced [t͡s]. It may become [s] before another consonant (this depends on the variant, region and speaker).
  22. ^ ⟨w⟩ is always pronounced [w] in Classical and Huasteca Nahuatl before a vowel. In some towns of La Huasteca it is pronounced as in Orizaba.
  23. ^ ⟨w⟩ is pronounced [β] in Orizaba Nahuatl before a vowel but never after ⟨h⟩ or ⟨l⟩. There may be variation with [w]~[v].
  24. ^ ⟨w⟩ is pronounced [ɸ] in Orizaba Nahuatl after ⟨h⟩ or ⟨l⟩. There may be variation with [w]~[f].
  25. ^ ⟨w⟩ is always pronounced [ʍ] in Classical Nahuatl when it is before another consonant or at the end of a word.
  26. ^ ⟨w⟩ is always pronounced [h] in Huasteca and Orizaba Nahuatl when it is before another consonant or at the end of a word.
  27. ^ These are phonemes that are not common or can only be found in loanwords.
  28. ^ ⟨e⟩ is generally pronounced [ɛ], but before any semiconsonant it is pronounced [e].
  29. ^ ⟨i⟩ is generally pronounced [i], but at the end of a word it is pronounced [ɪ]. This is why ⟨i⟩ is considered the weakest vowel in Nahuatl.
  30. ^ ⟨o⟩ is generally pronounced [o], but in some regions it is pronounced [u]. This happens because native speakers of Nahuatl hear these two vowels as a single sound. In Huasteca Nahuatl, when it comes before a ⟨w⟩, it is generally pronounced [u].
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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⟩.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ Nasalization only occurs when a word ends with ⟨n⟩ in Huasteca Nahuatl.
  36. ^ This occurs mainly with words ending in -ia / -iya and -oa / -owa, where phonemes [j] and [w] may disappear (this depends on the variant, region and speaker).
  37. ^ 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.
  • Tuggy, David H. (2004). Lecciones para un curso del náhuatl moderno (in Spanish) (3rd ed.). Mexico: SIL International.

See also[edit]