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Cawyaŋ Zarma Sanni

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Pronunciation guide


The general pronunciation of the consonants in Zarma is given with examples. Bring the cursor to an example and the English translations appears.

Clicking the left mouse button with the cursor on the example activates the sound file. Go back to this page using the return key of your browser (arrow point to the left)

There are two special consonants in Zarma, which are not found either in English or in French, but, which are represented by consonants to which we give another value. The 'c' and 'j' are always before an 'i', never a 'k' or 'g' in government spelling. They are a pair and are formed by the middle of the tongue against the middle of the palate, farther forwards the 'g' of 'k', but not so far forwards as in 't' or 'd'.

For pronunciation of double consonants see here.

B, b

pronunciation as in 'buy'
baaba boobo boro    

C, c

pronunciation is like 'tch' in 'Tchad' without the voice (as are 'k' and 't')
cawandiko ceeci cora    

D, d

pronunciation as in 'do'
deede di du    
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F, f

pronunciation as in 'far'
feeji foyaŋ fu    

G, g

pronunciation is hard, as in 'go' or in 'linger'.
It will generally only be found before 'a', 'o', and 'u', never before 'i'.
ga go gonda    

H, h

pronunciation as in 'home'
hantum hayfun hini    

J, j

pronunciation is like 'dj' in 'Djibouti' or 'Djerma' or a bit like the 'j' in 'jug' and is voiced (as are 'g' and 'd').
jine jirbey hiijay    

K, k

pronunciation as in 'kale'
kaŋ kaayi kayna    

L, l

pronunciation as in 'long'
laalo leemu lokkoliizo    
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M, m

pronunciation as in 'must'
ma mana mariyo    

N, n

pronunciation as in in 'now'.
It is also sometimes a true nasal, as in 'bon' (French).
These instances will be pointed out in the vocabularies.
In addition there is the more common digraph of 'ng' which is pronounced differently.
ne nooru din    

Ŋ, ŋ (Ng, ng)

pronunciation is like the 'ng' in 'sing'.
When this sound precedes 'a', 'c', 'g', 'j', or 'k', it is written just as 'n'.
In addition there is the more common digraph of 'ng' which is pronounced differently.
ŋwaari kaŋ nooyaŋ    

Ɲ, ɲ (Ny, ny)

pronunciation is like the 'nj' in the Russian 'njet' (no).
For simplicity reasons this letter is sometimes written as 'ny'
ɲaɲo ɲaalante ɲumako    

P, p

pronunciation is explosive, as in 'pay'
pat porporo      
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R, r

pronunciation is never hard (as in red); it is not trilled either.
It is one flip on the end of the tongue, not quite like 'l'.
iri kwaara lokkotoro    

S, s

pronunciation is always soft, as in 'so'
sambu sinda suuru    

T, t

pronunciation is sharp, as in 'time'
taari te tira    

W, w

pronunciation is like in 'well'
wangaari wo wone    

Y, y

pronunciation, when a consonant, is like in 'you'
ya yeesi yongo    

Z, z

pronunciation as in 'zebra'
za zarmaganda ze    
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      Dico Fraters, the Netherlands © 2004-2016      
Last updated: 20 Januari, 2016