ALUTIIQ MUSEUM  215 Mission Road, Kodiak, Alaska 99615   |  844-425-8844  |  view calendar > | search >

Nasal Consonants

m, n, ng, hng

Nasal consonants are letters produced with air going through the nasal passage. There are voiced nasals which involve vibration of the vocal cords, and voiceless nasals, which do not use the vocal cords.

Voiced Nasals

M in Alutiiq is equivalent to the English m sound.

minqun needle

in Alutiiq is equivalent to the English n sound.

nanwaq lake

is considered one letter in Alutiiq. It sounds like the ng in English “sing.”

angayuk buddy, pal, partner

When single letters n and g appear together in a word, they are separated by an apostrophe to show they are not the one-letter ng.

ungaq whiskers
un'gani out there

Voiceless Nasals

Hm,hn, and hng are variations of the letters m, n, and ng. Linguists call them voiceless or unvoiced nasal consonants. They begin with a nasal h sound just like a puff of air, then the m, n, or ng as described above. The puff of air should come from the nose, not from the mouth. You should be able to say hm with your mouth completely closed.

keghmartuq he/she/it is biting
arhnaq sea otter
kuinghnguartuq he/she/it is walking for fun

The voiceless nasals, especially hng, are quite rare in Alutiiq words.