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Gwich'in Sound Chart


Consonants:

 

‘           daa’aii             axe                              No equivalent in English.  Contains a                                                                         sharp, abrupt stop.

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b          bèebii              baby                            Same as in English, baby        

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ch        chee                river bottom                Same as in English, chair

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ch’       ch’ii                 mosquitoes                  No equivalent in English.  Similar to a

            ahch’ii            pigeon hawk                ch with a sharp, abrupt stop.

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d          dinjii                man                             Same as in English; door, doctor, desk.

            lidii                  tea

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dh        dhivii               weasel                         Same as in English;  this, than, that.

            tsèedhòh         money

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dl         dlak                 squirrel                        Same as in English;     sadly.

            dlok                 laughter

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dr         drin                  day                              Same as in English; dream.    

            vidrìt                his/her leg bone         

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dz         dzan                 muskrat                       Same as in English;     adze

            daadzaii           common loon

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ddh      ddhah              mountain                     No English equivalent.  Similar to d

            gwiddhàk         crumbs                        plus a th in this.

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dzh       dzhii                 bird                              Similar to gee with the g more drawn out     

             dzhirh              mittens                       

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f           frii ban             frying pan                    Same as f in English; frying pan

            ligàfii                coffee

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g          geh                  rabbit                          Same as English give, trigger.

            gugeh              snow goose

 

gh        vaghaii            his/her sister-in law    No English Equivalent.  Similar to flat r

            aghan              war                              in French rouge.

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gw       gwaakàl           the ground is bare       Same as in the English name: Gwendolyn

            gwatat             amongst it

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ghw     ooghwàn         it’s growling                Similar to roy in French royal.
            åuu ghwàii       rough ice                    

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h          han                  river                            Same as in Enlish hat, has.

            ahtàl                grouse            

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j           jak                   berry                           Same as in English just.

            Jaå                   fish hook                     

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k          kant’ik             moccasin uppers         Same as in English kite.

            kaiik’it community     

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k’         k’oh                 clouds                          Similar to k with a sharp, abrupt stop or

            aak’ii               cow, buffalo                a breath after the letter.

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kh        kheh                Canada goose              Similar to German ch in Bach.

            giikhii              preacher,minister      

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kw        kwan’               fire                              Same as English quest, queen.

            Akwàt              two-year-old beaver

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l           lidii                  tea                               Same as English low, mellow.

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ł           łuk                  fish                              Similar to l with air coming out of both

            ihłak               one                              sides of the tongue.

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m         màamaa          mom, mother              Same as m in English mouse, milk.

            amàa’              breast

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n          niinjii               lynx                              Same as n in English need.

            ninleetth’àk     your ring                     

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nd        ndak                further back                Same as in English nd in end , sand.

            nduh ts’aii       across side

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nj         njuu                 island                           Same as nj in Punjab.

            dinjik               moose

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r           teenjir             half                              Same as in English read, ran.

            åeth tr’ir          sandbar(GG)

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s           soogaii sugar                                      Same as in English.

            lisel                  salt

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sh         sheejii              my older sister            Same as in English.

            shat                 a scar              

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sr         srii                   knife                            Equivalent to shr in shrew, shroud.

            gwahsri’          meadow         

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t           tah                   socks                            Same as in English      .

            vit                    lake trout        

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t’          niveh t’ah'ii     soldier                         Similar to English t with a sharp, abrupt

            vint’ii               behind her/him           stop or a sharp breath.

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th         thaå                 pants                           Same as English thin, thick.

            thoh                 belt                            

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tå         daatåeh           soap (GG)                    Similar to cl in clean, clear without                

            tåee                 ointment (GG)             movement of the vocal chords.

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tå         tå’yah              rope                             Similar to tå with a sharp, abrupt stop.

            tå’oo                grass

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tr         trah                 merganser                  Same as in English.

            daatrat             it is shaking

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tr’        tr’iinin            child                            Similar to tr followed by a sharp, abrupt

            etr’uu              arctic tern                   stop.

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ts         tsè’                  beaver (GG)                 Same as English bats, cats.

            tseenjaa          carefully

 

ts’        ts’aåvit            arctic loon                   Similar to ts with a sharp, abrupt stop.

            ts’ìivii               spruce tree

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tsh       ihditshih          numerals                     Similar to a ch sound however, with a          

            dzan tshi’        muskrat tail                 heavier pronunciation on the ch.

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tth        tthaa                mountain squirrel       Similar to t with a th as in thin

            tthak                all, everything

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tth’       tth’an               bone                            Similar to tth with a sharp, abrupt stop.

            ejìitth’ak          he hears

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v          vàdzaih            caribou                        Same as in English.

            van                  lake

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y          yahkeh dawn                           Same as in English.

            yeelil               he is dragging it

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zh         zhòh                 wolf                             Same as in English words vision, illusion

            dehzhòo           snow on branches      

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zr         zral                  shout                           Pronounced similar to zhr.

            daazraii           swan

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Vowels:

 

i           drin                  day                              Same as in English grin, sin.

            ts’it                  porcupine                   

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e          geh                  rabbit                          Same as in English met, let, bet.

            ts’eh                hat, cat

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a          dah                  blood                           Same as in English shut, gut, nut.

            åat                   smoke                         

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o          oh                    fish trap                       Similar as in English coke, poke.

            zhoh                 snow               

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u          tsuk                  marten                        Same as in English toot, boot, took.

            åuk                  fish     

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ii          vigii                 it’s young                     Same as in English bee, see, knee.

            divii                 sheep

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ee        chee                river/lake bottom        Same as in English bay, lay, way.

            Shuundee        my older brother                   

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aa        daadzaii           common loon Similar to a in Albert

            aazrik              wood shavings                       

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oo        goots’an          theirs                           Same as English go.

            dhootsaii         you all made it

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uu        åyuu                ice                               Same as English in moon, toque.

            uudee              upwards

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All other vowels with the hook placed under the vowels in the following î, ê, â, ô, û, îî, êê, ââ, ôô, ûû, gives the vowel a nasal or ‘n’ sound.

 

Vowel Combinations:

 

ao        gaolii               I expect                       Same as in English cow, town, pout.

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eu        dizheu              cow moose                  Similar to English eh followed with oo.

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aii        taii                   trail, road, street         Similar to English a with ee following.

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eii        gwileii             She/he/it is poor         Similar to English eh with ee following.

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ai’        vatài’               it’s handle                   Pronounced a with short English ee                                                                           with a sharp abrupt stop.                  

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Low Tone Marks:

 

If the tone mark appears over certain words, then it would change the meaning as in the following:

 

zhoh                 snow                zhòh                 wolf

shuh                 drum               shùh                 wart

khah                packsack          khàh                war club

shih                  grizzly bear      shìh                  food

sryuh               inconnu           sryùh               robin

 

With words that are possessed, the tone mark would appear over the first vowel in after the second set of consonants as in the following:

 

srii                   knife                vizrìi’               his knife

ts’eh                hat, cap           vits’èe’ his hat, his cap

tah                   socks                vatàa’              his socks

tr’ih                 boat                 vitr’ìi’               his boat

 

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