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Short description: Wikipedia key to pronunciation

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Nahuatl pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. This pronunciation guide is based on the phonology of Classical Nahuatl, which is different from contemporary Nahuan languages. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-nah}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

Phoneme Spelling English approximation
ʔ h[2] the catch in "oh-oh"
j y yellow
k qu,[3] c[4] scan
cu,[5] uc[4] squall
l l[2] clear l as in leave (not dark L as in "dull")
ɬ l (before a voiceless consonant) Welsh llwyd
m m man
n n[6] nose
p p span
s c,[3] z[4] sack
ʃ x shoe
t t stand
t͡ɬ tl stop + Welsh llwyd
t͡ʃ ch choo
t͡s tz cats
w hu[5], uh[4] witch
ʍ hu[5], uh[4] which (as "hwich")
Phoneme Spelling English approximation
a a bra
ā (long a)
e e met
ē mate
i i city
ī see
o o go[7]
ō go
ˈ Primary stress[8] Placed immediately before the stressed syllable.
Modern & Variant Orthography[9]
Modern Variant
Huītzilopōchtli, xiuhpōhualli Vītzilopōchtli, xiuhpōvalli
huīpīlli, huei teocalli uīpīlli, uei teocalli
aztecah, azo, zaoc, za açtecah, aço, çaoc, ça
iyo, in, ipan, itzcuīntli yyo, yn, ypan, ytzcuīntli
cuahuitl, macuahuitl quahuitl, maquahuitl
tlahtohqueh tlàtòquê


  1. Consonants can be geminated, including /l/ (spelled as ll, but not pronounced as in Spanish) (Andrews 2003, p. 33).
  2. 2.0 2.1 No Nahuatl word begins with /l/ or /ʔ/ (Andrews 2003, p. 29; Karttunen 1992, p. XI).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Before e and i.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 All other cases.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Before vowels.
  6. /n/ is Nahuatl's most weakly pronounced consonant (Lockhart 2001, p. 112).
  7. The Nahuatl /o/ is different from every English vowel, but the nearest equivalents are the vowel of coat (for most English dialects) and the vowel of saw.
  8. Primary stress is nearly always occurs on the penultimate (second to last) syllable. The only exception is vocative forms, in which case the final syllable is stressed.
  9. Andrews 2003, p. 655-658