From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


In the charts below, each of the Kaqchikel phonemes is represented by the character or set of characters that denote it in the standard orthography developed by the Guatemalan Academy of Mayan Languages (ALMG) and sanctioned by the Guatemalan government. Where different, the corresponding symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet appears in brackets.


Kaqchikel dialects differ somewhat in their vowels. Each dialect has a set of five tense vowels and either one, two, four, or five lax vowels.[1] The chart below shows the maximal, ten-vowel system, as in the dialect of Sololá.

Tense Lax
i ï [ɪ] close front unrounded vowels
e ë [ɛ] mid front unrounded vowels
a ä [ɨ] central unrounded vowels
u ü [ʊ] close back rounded vowels
o ö [ɔ] mid back rounded vowels


Like other Mayan languages, Kaqchikel does not distinguish voiced and voiceless stops and affricates but instead distinguishes plain and glottalized stops and affricates. The plain stops and affricates (technically "pulmonic egressive") are usually voiceless and are aspirated at the ends of words and unaspirated elsewhere. The glottalized stops and affricates are usually ejective in the case of t' , k' , ch' , and tz' and implosive in the case of b' and q' .[2]

  Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
  plain glottalized plain glottalized plain glottalized plain glottalized plain glottalized plain
Stops p b'  [ɓ] t t'  [t']   k k' q q'  [ʠ]  '   [ʔ]
Affricates   ts  [ʦ] ts'  [ʦ’] ch  [ʧ] ch'  [ʧ’]      
Fricatives   s x  [ʃ]   j  [X]  
Nasals m n        
Liquids   l   r        
Glides     y  [j] w    
  1. ^ Patal Majzul et al., 2000
  2. ^ Patal Majzul et al., 2000