The South Corner of Time hopi navajo papago yaqui tribal literature

Acknowledgements Introduction
Hopi Literature
Navajo Literature
Papago Literature
Yaqui Literature
Native American Literature: Other Sources


Papago Alphabet
Ofelia Zepeda

Papago Vowels: The English counter-parts are all approximate.

a wako water    
e eda roses    
i bit beet    
o son short    
u hud boot    

In Papago all of the vowels can be pronounced long, that is the vowel sound is dragged out. This long sound is marked by a colon (:).

a: ta:ñ fa
e: me: There is no sound in English which is close to the Papago e:. An explanation for the e: sound might be to make the u: sound without rounding the lips
i: ki: key
o: to:n bow
u: hu:ñ moon
Some of the vowels can be pronounced extra-short. These vowels are marked by ˘ above the vowel. These vowels occur only at the end of a word, as in the following examples:
bawı   In the case of the extra-short ı, there is of course no English counter-part. This particular sound is much like a whispered vowel, the vowel is literally aspirated
nowĭ
'uwĭ
hehĕ   The extra-short ĕ and ă will vary among speakers, some speakers will aspirate the vowel, some will pronounce them fully as in the first examples of all the vowels

Papago "dipthongs"

ai bai bite
ei kei Again there is no approximate sound in English
oi koi boy
ui kui gooey
´ glotal stop
  ´a´an, ´on The glottal stop is caused by
a stoppage of air in the throat

Papago Consonants: The English counter-parts are all approximate.

b bo:l ball
c ceoj church
d dai though
d tad There is no sound in English which is close to the Papago d. This particular sound is created by having the tip of the tongue curl up to the roof of the mouth very much like the way the English r is made
g ga:t gun
h hon how
j je:ñ jem
k ki: key
l la:mba There is no sound in English which is like the Papago l, this sound is made by having the tongue curl up to the roof of the mouth and then coming down quickly to the bottom of the mouth
m mu:ñ moon
n na:k no
ñ hu:ñ canyon
ŋ ca:ŋgo finger
p   priest
s   suck
s su:sk There is no sound in English like the Papago s, however the closest sound might be the sh in the word sheep, but the s in Papago again has the tongue curled up slightly toward the roof of the mouth
t tai thought
w waw wow
y ya:nda yes

 

As printed in Larry Evers, ed. The South Corner of Time. Tucson, Ariz.: The University of Arizona Press, ©1980, p. 108.
Go to the South Corner of Time homepage