Reference: Letters to sounds

This quick reference provides a short reminder of how each letter of the Nuu-chah-nulth alphabet is pronounced. This is useful for people who are still learning to pronounce Nuu-chah-nulth. To remind yourself how a letter is pronounced, find the letter below, and read the short description that follows it.

LetterNameHow it is pronounced
ashort auh
aalong along ah
cplain cts
hard cexplosive ts
c wedgech
č̓hard c wedgeexplosive ch
eshort eas in get
eelong eas in eh, and long
back hlike breathing on glass
ishort ias in bit
iilong ias in ski, and long
round kk with rounded lips
hard kexplosive k
k̓ʷhard round kexplosive k with rounded lips
łbarred la hissed l, like lth
ƛbarred lambdatl
ƛ̓hard barred lambdaexplosive tl
hard mm with a catch before it
hard nn with a catch before it
oshort ooh
oolong olong oh
hard pexplosive p
qqback k
round qback k with rounded lips
s wedgesh
hard texplosive t
ushort uas in put
uulong uas in due, and long
hard ww with a catch before it
xfront xlike a cat’s hiss
round front xcat’s hiss with rounded lips
back xa back x, like hissing to spit
x̣ʷround back xlike hissing to spit with rounded lips
hard yy with a catch before it
ʔglottal stopa catch in the throat, as in uh-oh
ʕpharyngeal stopa catch in the throat plus an r sound