Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dinka Vowels

In Dinka, there are thirteen vowels, which are subdivided into two groups: non-breathy and breathy. The later vowels are characterized by placing two dots above their heads.

Here follows the non-breathy vowels:

(1) A--pronounced like a in art ------------e.g: Akɔ̈ɔ̈n (an elephant)

(2) E--pronounced like a in say or mail ----- -e.g: Weŋ (a cow) 

(3) I --pronounced like e in me or people-----e.g: Liεεt (sand) – pronounced lee-at

(4) O--pronounced like o in own or old or e in sew--e. g: Pol (play) – pronounced poll

(5) U --pronounced as in too, move, fruit-----e.g: nyuc (sitting/to sit) –pronounced nooch with n =ñ as in Spanish’s mañana

(6) Ɛ – pronounced like a in man, end, let or any --e.g: Ɣεn (me/I) – pronounced an

(7) Ɔ – pronounced as in John, all, caught, toy ----e.g: Tɔŋ (war) – pronounced T’ong

Here follows the breathy vowels:

(1) Ä – pronounced like a in father------e.g: Thudän (Sudan)

(2) Ë as in hen, hate-----------------e.g: wëu (money) 

(3) Ï as in team---------------------e.g: yïn (you)

(4) Ö as in hook--------------------e.g:ɣöt (house/apartment) – pronounced hood

(5) ɛ̈ as in term---------------------e.g: wɛ̈t (word) - pronounced what

(6) ɔ̈ as in long---------------------e.g: ŋɔ̈ɔ̈r (leadership)

Note: Be very careful with the non-breathy ‘ɔ’ and the breathy ‘ɔ̈’ since they
are the most commonly mispronounced of the Dinka’s vowels. The first must
be pronounced exactly as o in ‘John’ and the second is exactly as o in ‘long.’

The following examples contrast the usage of the two kinds of vowels:

Non-breathy----------------Meaning----------------------- Breathy--------------------Meaning

Man--------------her/his mother--------Män---------hatred

Weŋ--------------a cow---------------Wëŋ---------to deceive

Tiŋ---------------to score-------------Tïŋ----------to see/seeing

Thook-------------languages-----------Thöök-------to become unconsciousness

Pεi----------------month---------- ----Pɛ̈i---------months 


This is it for the vowels, in the next entry we will look at the consonants. 


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

this is the hardest language i have ever come across :O my boyfriend taught me some like hello, how are you, take care ,who is this and stuff but the pronounciation in letters is difficult!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me sharpen a bit of my Dinka language. It's a very interesting language to know. Keep up the good work.


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