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Softening of Consonants

When certain consonants (k, c, t, p, g, s) are surrounded by single prime vowels, (a, i, u) they are pronounced more softly, often sounding like letters that do not even appear in the Alutiiq alphabet! This can cause confusion, but luckily the sound changes follow a recognizable pattern.

A prime vowel in Alutiiq is a,i, or u. The sound of one of the following consonants will change only if has a single prime vowel (a,i, or u) both before and after. If a doubled vowel (aa, ii, uu) or diphthong (ai, au, ia, iu, ua, ui) appears on either side of the consonant, the consonant's sound will not change.

K: When a k occurs between two prime vowels, it sounds more like an English g.

akit money


C: If c is surrounded by two single prime vowels, it produces more of an English j sound

macaq  sun


T: When a single prime vowel occurs both before and after a t, it sounds like a d.

qatayaq sea gull


P: If p is surrounded by two single prime vowels, it sounds like an English b.

napaq tree; pole


G: An Alutiiq g occurring between two single prime vowels makes a soft gh sound halfway between an h and a hard Englishg (the normal Alutiiq g sounds more like an English h).

agi go


S:
Depending on the speaker, an s between two single prime vowels will make a z or zh sound.

isumaq raisin
isuwiq seal