Dákwanjè Easy Alphabet

Dákwanjè Easy Alphabet

-Created by Daniel Tlen-

“A balance of pedagogy and linguistics (arts and science) is required to create an orthography (alphabet and writing system) that is at once easy to understand, efficient to use, and that assists in the learning and acquisition of Southern Tutchone literacy.” (Daniel Tlen, 2011)


Stops                                      tl                  t                   tth                  ts                   ch                    k                      kw

and                                        dl                 d                   ddh                dz                    j                      g                      gw

Affricates                            tlʼ                tʼ                    tthʼ                tsʼ                   chʼ                  kʼ                      kʼw


Fricatives                            lh (Ł)                                 th                  s                     sh                   kh                     khw             h

Fricatives                           l                                          dh                 z                     zh                  gh                   ghw


Glides                                                                                                        r                     y                                                w

Nasals                  m                                      n

Nasal + Stop      mb (written as “m”)    nd (written as “n”)                               nj


Vowels and Dipthongs

“The Roman letters: a e i o u y are used for writing Southern Tutchone, or Dä́n Kʼe. These alphabet letters stand for vowel sounds commonly heard around the world. Vowels are described by their position in the mouth. The lowness or height of the tongue and the jaw, and the shape of the lips all help to determine the quality of the vowel.

In the italic brackets, e.g. (), we have chosen to show Tutchone vowels as they might sound using English vowel letters. Underlined vowels separate them from consonants around it.

Also, English uses the letter  a  to describe several vowel qualities as in: father, bat, and gate.

Dipthongs are combinations of two or more vowels.” (STTC, 1998)


                                                           Front              Central                                                    Back

High                                                        i (ee)                   uh (ïw)                                                      u (oo)

Middle                                                   e (eh)(ë)              a (uh) o                                                       (oh)

Low                                                        ae (bat)                                                                                  a (ah)

Dipthong                                              äy (bite)          äw (about)                                                   aw (ow!)


Vowels                                           Dipthongs                                         Nasal Vowels

i            uh           u                                                                                 are written with a (,) under the vowel:

e            a             o                       äw         äy       ày         àw                          ą   ę   į   ų   ųh   ąr



Normal tone         is written without any tone, a benchmark for all other tones: sha (sun), khaal (club), mbet (trout)

Low tone                 is written with a (è) over the vowel:           makè                         his/her foot

Falling tone            is written with a (â) over the vowel:           matsʼaân                  his wife

Rising tone             is written with a (á) over the vowel:          gá kè                         rabbit foot

Short-A: Pronounce the short- “a”. This neutral vowel sounds like the English – “u”, in such words as: bug, bun, butt, cut, fun, in Dákwanjè the short-“a” occurs in closed syllables (CVC), that is, they have a consonant (C-) at the front and at the back (-C) of the short-a vowel (-V-). Examples are: dań (person), dal (blood), chàl (mattress), lhat (smoke), nań (you), shań (I), tsʼàt (blanket)

Long-A: Pronounce the long-a, “aa” (the “aw or “ah” sound in English), in such words as: all, ball, tall, bought, bomb, caught, drawn. These Dákwanjè words have a consonant (C-) at the front and a consonant (-C) at the back of the double- “aa” so it looks like this: “C-aa-C”. Examples are: ámbaat (my older sister), mààt (mitts), maal ~ naan (swing),tsʼaát (hat), tsʼaál (frog).

Long-A occurs as a single “a” in open syllable (CV) words like: sha (sun), shą (rain), dâ (same), mą (who), ámą (my mother)

In glottal stop closed syllables (CV?) as: gàʼ (along), mbàʼ (raid;war), átàʼ (my father), matlʼàʼ (his/her buttocks), nàʼ (here, take it)


This orthography follows Daniel Tlenʼs, ʼSouthern Tutchone Easy Alphabetʼ

Any materials from YNLC or any other resource that is already in the YNLC orthography (alphabet) will stay in that orthography. I will only use the Easy Alphabet when creating new resources or resources I have created in the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *