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Aleut RavenNii}u}im Tunugan Ilakuchangis
Introduction to Atkan Aleut
Grammar and Lexicon

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ALEUT- ENGLISH
DICTIONARY

Search Aleut Dictionary

Pronunciation Guide

The alphabet These are the letters of the Atkan Aleut alphabet. The letters in parentheses occur only in loan words:

 

a

aa

b

ch

d

(e-ee)

f

g

x

}

{

i

h

i

ii

(j)

k

l

hl

m

hm

n

hn

ng

hng

(o-oo)

p

q

r

s

t

u

uu

v

w

hw

y

hy

z

 

Vowels (sound by themselves) The letter names of the vowels are the same as the sounds they make. There are two kinds of vowels: the short and the long. The long vowels are long in time and not quality.

short:

long:

i
u
ii
uu
(e
o)
(ee
oo)
a
aa

i sounds more or less like English i as in bit, his, for example: hitil (or his) 'going out', imis 'for you'.

ii sounds more or less like English ee or ea in meet, meat, for example: iimis 'choosing', piichi{ 'oven'.

u sounds more or less like English u as in put, push, for example: hutil (or hus) 'tipping over', sutul 'be thick (fog, soup)'.

uu sounds more or less like English oo as in root, for example: suutul 'wanting to take', tutuutu{ 'owl'.

e and o (and ee and oo) are used only in names and loan words such as Nevzoroff, Golodoff goornicha{ = guurnicha{ 'living room'.

a may sound more or less like English a in about, or like a in bat, for example: akan 'that one over there', nanal 'aching', tatil (or tas) 'bursting', sas 'ducks', yas 'strand flat, reefs'.

aa may sound more or less like English a in father, for example: haanus 'red salmon (pl.)', yaalil 'being slow'.

 

Consonants The letter names of the consonants consist of the consonant plus the vowel a. They are given below according to how they are articulated.

(1) formed by the lips:

p
f
hw
hm

b
v
w
m
p like English p, e.g. paltu{ 'coat'.

b like English b, e.g. baanki{ 'tin can'.

f like English f, e.g. fitili{ 'wick'.

v like English v as in village, e.g. viilki{ 'fork'
(also biilki{), before t or k, as in laavki{ 'store', it sounds almost like f.

The sounds p, b, f, and v, are found in loanwords only.

w like English w in water, e.g. wan this one

hw like English wh in what, e.g. hwa}i{ 'smoke'.

m like English m, e.g. mal 'doing', gami{ 'eye brow'.

hm has an extra blow through the nose, e.g. hmachil 'get stuck', gahmigi{ 'door'.

(2) formed by the tip of the tongue:

t
hl

hn

d
l
r
n
t like English t, e.g. tatu{ 'pond, lagoon', ting 'I, me'.

d like English d in loanwords such as nidili{ 'week', in Aleut words like English th in mother, e.g. da{ 'eye', ada{ 'father', or like English th in bath, e.g. kda{ 'ice', sda{ 'star'.

l more or less like English l in laugh, lift, e.g. lal 'catching', uliigis 'boots'.

hl has an extra blow, e.g. hla{ 'boy', uhlii 'only (it)'.

r in loanwords only, resembles English r in hurry, e.g. kuri{ 'cigarette'.

n more or less like English n, before i more like "ny", e.g. nanal 'hurting', nidili{ 'week', hani{ 'lake'.

hn has an extra blow, e.g. hnul 'reaching', ahni{ 'lupine'.

 

(3) formed with the front of the tongue:

ch
s
hy

z
y
ch like English ch as in church, e.g. chachil 'covering'.

s between English s and English sh, e.g. sas 'ducks, birds', sitil (or sis) 'sweat', isil 'cutting'.

z between English z in hazy and z in azure, e.g. huzuu 'all of it', maazalaka{ 'is gone' (cf. maasalakan 'not doing').

y like English y in yard, beyond, e.g. yas 'strand flat, reefs', ayul 'falling'.

hy has an extra blow, e.g. hyal 'rising, tide', ahyux 'buttocks'.

 

(4) formed with the back of the tongue:

k
x
hng

g
ng
k like English k, e.g. kakil 'looking up (raising the eyes)', kuka{ 'grandmother'.

g like English g in loanwords such as gaavana{ 'harbor', in Aleut words "soft" (cf. the "soft" d, like English th in mother), e.g. gi{tal 'wanting, desiring', agal 'going away', agil 'opening the mouth'.

x is the corresponding sharper sound (cf. English th in thing), e.g. xaadagnaa{s 'running', uxil 'putting out (fire)'.

ng like the English simple sound ng in sing (no g is heard), e.g. singlil 'closing the eye', gangul 'entering', ngaan 'for him or her'.

hng has an extra blow, e.g. gahngu{ 'kelp, seaweed'.

 

(5) formed with the root of the tongue:

q
{
h

}

 
q formed farther back in the throat than k, has a "rougher" sound than k, e.g. qaga{ 'food (something eaten)' (cf. qaka{ 'dry'), qiqi{ 'fish slime', uuquchiingi{ 'fox'.

} is in the same way "rougher" than the "soft" g, e.g. a}al 'appearing, being born', chi}ana{ 'creek', u}u{ 'juice' (cf. ugu{ 'joint').

{ is in the same way "rougher" than x e.g. u{aasi{ 'oar', ay{al 'going by sea' (cf. ayxal 'exceeding'), ay}a{s trembling' (cf. aygaxs 'walking').

h like English h, e.g. hitil (his) 'going out', hadan huyakuu 'he fetched or invited him or her'.

 

Sound Structure of Words

A word may begin with a vowel, short or long, or with one consonant, two consonants or (in loanwords) three consonants, e.g. imis 'for you', iimis 'choosing', ting 'I, me', txin 'you' , kda{ 'ice', struuzal 'planning'. A word may end with a vowel: a short a or any long vowel, or with one consonant or two consonants, e.g. wal 'here!', chaa 'his hand', ii?, chaang 'five', chla{s 'diving', ch{uu{s 'washing'.

If a word contains more than one vowel, the vowels are separated by one, two or three consonants, e.g. gasxal 'laughing', haxsal 'being open', axsxal 'being passed'.

 

Stress

The first syllable (vowel) of a word tends to be stressed (pronounced with a certain force), e.g. "qanang 'where?', "tanangin 'our land', "qalagada! 'don't eat it!'.

A long vowel, however, tends to attract the stress, e.g. 'qa'naang or qa'naang 'how many?' (qanaang), Ta'naangis 'name of a bay' (Tanaangis). The sonority of a consonant may have the same effect, e.g. ta'}ayu{ salt (ta}ayu{), but 'taya}u{ 'man' (taya}u{): has more sonority than }.

The stress of a word may also depend upon the rhythm of the utterance (how the word is combined with other words). This, for example, the word atagan 'one' may have the stress on the first syllable, e.g. "atagan "taya}u{ 'one man', or it may have the stress on the second syllable: a"tagan.

The stress of a word thus is not fixed. In a few cases the length of a vowel may be "floating" together with the stress, e.g. u'{aasi{ or 'u{asi{ 'oar'. But in general the length of a vowel "commands" the stress rather than the other way around. It is thus important not to confuse the length of a vowel, which is very important for the meaning of the word, with the stress, which is more or less automatic, cf. kangul 'having reason' and kaangul 'being healthy'; sa}atul 'sleeping late' and sa}aatul 'being sleepy'; siching 'four' and sichiing 'nine'.

The making of a dictionary and grammar of any language is a never ending job. We have just made a beginning and we could not have made it without the efforts of our principal authors, Moses Dirks for the Junior Dictionary and Knut Bergsland for the Elements of Grammar, and the people of Atka village. We especially want to acknowledge the assistance of the Center's Curriculum Committee Members on Atka: John Nevzoroff, Vera Nevzoroff, Dennis Golodoff and Nadesta Golley. Larry Dirks, Sr., Lydia Dirks and Mark Snigaroff have also contributed in numerous helpful ways to the completion of this project.

We realize that in spite of efforts to eliminate errors, they still exist. We would, therefore, appreciate hearing about our mistakes from those of you who will have a chance to use this book. Write to us at the following address:

National Bilingual Materials Development Center
Rural Education Affairs
University of Alaska
2223 Spenard Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Tupou L. Pulu, Ed.D., Director
Mary L. Pope, Instructional Materials Coordinator
J Leslie Boffa, Artist
Moses Dirks, Aleut Language Specialist
Rita Hughes, Executive Secretary

Return to the Atkan Grammar and Lexicon

a

ii

s

aa

k

t

b

l

u

ch

m

uu

d

hm

v

f

n

w

g

hn

hw

x

ng

y

{

p

hy

h

q

z

i

r

 
 

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Last modified August 14, 2006