Language

hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Pronunciation Guide

hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ contains a wide variety of sounds. There are 36 consonants, 22 not appearing in English and some appearing in only a handful of languages around the world. Since a majority of these sounds do not appear in English there is no accurate way to write them with the English writing system (orthography). To capture these sounds Musqueam uses the North American Phonetic Alphabet (NAPA), a writing system which is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), where each sound is represented by a distinct symbol. Though it may appear foreign at first these symbols are used worldwide to represent language. You can even find them in your dictionary and encyclopedia entries as an aid in pronunciation.

Vowels
i = the i in “pizza”
e = the e in “bet”
a = the a in “father”
u = the u in “flute”
ə = the u in “but”

Sometimes vowels will be followed by a colon “:”. This means the vowel is lengthened.

Consonants
Some sounds that are the same in both hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and English are: h, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, w, and y.

What does that little comma above and next to a letter mean?
Some sounds in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ have a regular sound and a more forced, almost popping sound and are called ejectives. When you see the letters c̓, k̓, ƛ̓, p̓, q̓, or t̕, then use the chart below to find the sound and add a little more force when you say it. This is done with a build-up of air pressure for the ‟popping” sound .
Additionally, the letters l, m, n, w and y can be accompanied by an apostrophe. This means the letters have a bit of a creaky or constricted sound, similar to the stopping sound in the space between the words “uh-oh.”

What does that little “w” (ʷ) next to a letter mean?
The little ʷ next to a letter means that the particular letter is made with your lips rounded.

Other consonants include
c = “ts” sound
č = a “ch” sound as in “cheese”
ƛ̓ = Articulate this sound in the same way as “ɬ” below but the tongue releases only a short burst of sound rather than a steady stream.
ɬ = Place your tongue as though you were going to pronounce an “l” sound and then simply blow a steady stream of air past the sides of your tongue where it rests against the inside surface of your molars. Creating sufficient Friction is the key to producing this sound.
q = Similar to “k” only farther back, at the place where your tongue starts its journey down your throat!
š = an “sh” sound as in “shirt”
ᶿ = This sound is like the regular θ but is only used in combination with the t̕ as in t̕ᶿ.
θ = Called theta, it makes a “th” sound as in “with”
x = Similar to a “y” but without using your voice.
χ = Same place as where an h is made but more raspy sounding.
ʔ = A consonant that has no sound! You make it by intentionally closing your glottis as you would in the middle of the word “uh-oh”
 

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