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bescomatl
The Vowel System of Mösiehuali̱
(Tetelcingo Nahuatl)

The vowel system of Mösiehuali̱ (Tetelcingo Nahuatl or Aztec) is particularly interesting because the historical distinction of length has been changed into other phonetic differences which are easier to hear. For the high vowels (i and o) the "long" variant is more tense or close, and for the low vowels it is a diphthong.


Click on any vowel symbol on the following chart to hear a word in which that vowel is the stressed vowel. (Most of the words were taken from the Mösiehuali̱ greeting.)


Vowel i, tli Vowel u, mumustla Vowel ie (diphthong), quiemi Vowel ö (diphthong), cöni Vowel _i, n_icö Vowel o; biloa Vowel e, tejuö Vowel a, yaja

(Compare the general vowel chart for Nahuatl.)

The sound [I] (the "short i" sound of bit), which corresponds to the short i of other Nahuatl dialects, is sometimes pronounced so open as to nearly be an [e]. In the orthography used in the Vocabulario mexicano de Tetelcingo it is written as an underlined i, i.e. . (It has also been written with a barred-i, ɨ.) The diphthong [ⁱe] is the sound that is written ie in Pierre or in Spanish words like piedra "stone". The other vowels are pronounced like their Spanish equivalents, except for the diphthong [ɔ] (which corresponds to the long a ([ā]) of other dialects). This vowel is like much like the aw sound of raw (in those English dialects that distinguish that sound from a, distinguishing e.g. paw [] from pa [pa]). In the Vocabulario it is written ö. (It has also been written ä.)


Vocal i, tli Vowel u, mumustla Vowel ie, quiemi Vowel ö, cöni Vowel _i, n_icö Vowel o; biloa Vowel e, tejuö Vowel a, yaja

--David Tuggy


The Mösiehuali̱ speaker whose voice is heard illustrating the vowel sounds is Trinidad Ramírez Amaro.

See also:
In general:
An article and book: