Hopi Alphabet


Ekkehart Malotki

A total of twenty-one symbols is sufficient to render all of the functional sounds which occur in the dialect of the Third Mesa villages. Nineteen of these are drawn from the English alphabet (a e g h i k l m n o p q r s t u v w y), one is borrowed from German orthography (the umlauted ö). The apostrophe is used to represent the glottal stop, one of the Hopi consonants. Stress and falling tone - the latter occurring in conjunction with long vowels, diphthongs, and certain vowel-nasal sequences - are not marked in the text. The following inventory lists all the functional sound units, with the exception of those characterized by falling tone, which exist in the Third Mesa dialect area and illustrates their use in sample words.

1.Vowel sounds:

(a) short vowels

a pas ‘very´
e pep ‘there´
i sihu ‘flower´
o momi ‘forward´
ö qötö ‘head´
u tuwa ‘he found it, saw it´

(b) long vowels

aa paas ‘carefully; completely´
ee peep ‘almost´
ii siihu ‘intestines´
oo moomi ‘he is pigeon-toed´
öö qöötö ‘suds´
uu tuuwa ‘sand´

2. Diphthongs:

(a) with y-glide

ay tsay ‘small, young´
ey eykita ‘he groans´
iy hangwniy ‘his ditch´(objective case)
oy ahoy ‘back to´
öy öyna ‘he gave him enough to eat´
uy uyma ‘he has been planting´

(b) with w-glide

aw awta ‘bow´
ew pew ‘here (to me)´
iw piw ‘again´
ow   (nonexisting)
öw ngölöwta ‘it is crooked´
uw puwmoki ‘he got sleepy´

3. Consonantal sounds:

(a) stops

p paahu ‘water, spring´
t tupko ‘younger brother´
ky kyaaro ‘parrot´
k koho ‘wood, stick´
kw kwala ‘it boiled´
q qööha ‘he built a fire´
qw angqw ‘from him; from there´
´ pu´ ‘now, today´

(b) nasals

m malatsi ‘finger´
n naama ‘both´
ngy yungyapu ‘wicker plaque´
ng ngöla ‘wheel´
ngw kookyangw ‘spider´

(c) affricate

ts tsuku ‘clown´

(d) fricatives

v ivasa ‘my field´
r roya ‘it turned´
s sakuna ‘squirrel´
h ho´apu ‘carrying basket´

(e) lateral

l laho ‘bucket´

4. Glides:

(a) preceding a vowel

w waynuma ‘he is walking about´
y yas ‘last year´

(b) following a vowel, see diphthongs

As printed in Larry Evers, ed. The South Corner of Time. Tucson, Ariz.: The University of Arizona Press, © 1980, p. 18.