The Nuu-chah-nulth alphabet has ten vowels: a aa e ee i ii o oo u uu. Vowels are singable sounds made with open mouth and throat. Nuu-chah-nulth vowels can be long or short. Long vowels are pronounced about twice as long as short vowels, and are written with double letters.
This table gives some information on each vowel, including its name and how it is pronounced:
|Letter||Name||How it is pronounced|
|a||short a||uh, as in what|
|aa||long a||ah, as in father|
|e||short e||as in pet|
|ee||long e||eh, as in hey|
|i||short i||as in bit|
|ii||long i||as in ski|
|o||short o||oh, as in go|
|oo||long o||oh, as in go|
|u||short u||as in put|
|uu||long u||ooh, as in due|
Here are some examples:
|čuu wey||okay, goodbye||ƛ̓aakoo||thank you|
|ƛ̓eekoo||thank you||yuucyuuʔičoo||Travel well!|
The pronunciations given here are only these vowels’ usual pronunciations. Vowels can be pronounced slightly differently at the ends of words, and next to certain consonants. In particular, the back consonants q qʷ x̣ x̣ʷ ḥ ʕ tend to affect the pronunciation of nearby vowels.
In northern and central Nuu-chah-nulth dialects, the vowels e ee are rare. The short o is rare in all dialects.