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Stop Consonants

q, k, kw, c, t, p

Speakers form stop consonants by stopping air for a split second as it moves out of the mouth. The air can be stopped in a number of places, in your throat, the back or middle of your mouth, at your teeth or even on your lips (see Consonants lesson). For example, try making a k sound. Without stopping the air in your mouth, it would sound like an h.

Stop consonants can be produced at any of the locations depicted in the mouth diagram (as seen in the Consonants lesson). The stop consonants below appear in order by location of production, beginning in the back of the throat and moving forward. Their location of production ranges from uvular (back of throat) to labial (at the lips).   

Alutiiq q is pronounced by bringing the back of your tongue up to the rear roof of your mouth (where your uvula hangs down) and making a q sound. It is a uvular consonant. To some this may sound like a k, but is produced further back in the throat.

qiteq rain
Qayu? What?

Alutiiq k sounds like Englishk, but a bit softer and less explosive. It sounds more like the k in skirt than the harsh k at the beginning of kite. It is a velar consonant produced at the roof of the mouth. When k occurs between two single vowels a,i, or u, it sounds more like an English g.

keneq  fire
akit money

The Alutiiq letter kw is equivalent to the English letter combination kw. It is a rounded velar consonant produced at the roof of the mouth.

kwegluku  to lift it up (S)
neregkwarluku to feed him/her/it

C sounds like the ch sound in “chicken.” It is a laminal consonant produced at the front roof of the mouth. When c appears in a word between two single vowels, a, i, or u it sounds more like an English j.

cuuteq ear
macaq sun

 Alutiiq t sounds much like the English t except that it is pronounced with less force. When t occurs between two single vowels, a, i, or u it sounds more like an English d. It is an apical consonant produced at the tip of the tongue.

tamuuq dried fish
qatayaq sea gull

P in Alutiiq usually sounds like English p, but less explosive. When p occurs between between two single vowels, a, i, or u it sounds more like an English b.

patuq lid
napaq spruce tree or pole