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Catawba Language

Spoken by the Cataba Tribal Association of Oklahoma (Ye kat hapa)
Thanks to Claudia Y. H.-Priest, Linguist for the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project, for helping me with this language

tɑnakɛ yęsikąhį kurere!

[tʌnaːkɛ jɛ̃sikãhĩ kurɛrɛ]          (tah-naah-keh yeh-see-kah-hee koo-reh-reh!)

Note: "tɑnakɛ" is more informal than "hello," more like "hi" or "howdy."
  • yęsikąhį – man-red-many
  • kurere – there-are (over there)




"Thank you" in Catawba

  • thanks (almost formal) - hawo`nai_`'re
  • thanks (formal) - hawo`nai_`'tcure
  • thanks (informal) - hawo`h


Source: "The Letter." Internet: <http://www.angelfire.com/az2/catawba/t.html> September 10, 2005.

Catawba pronunciation

The system shown below is used at the Catawba Language website. The alphabet I have used for the Hello Oklahoma! phrase is used by the CCPP's Language Department, but I have not been able to obtain a copy of that alphabet.


Most of the sound symbols (letters) should be familiar. The others are probably familiar, you just don't recognize them yet.

    "a" is the "uh" sound in "put"
    "e" is the "eh" sound in "peg" 1
    "i" is the "ih" sound in "pit" 2
    "o" is the "oh" sound in "poke"
    "-" is the obscure high vowel tone in "rear" 3
    ">" is the obscure low vowel sound in "sun" 4

    "`" is the stress mark. It follows a vowel and slightly raises the tone of the vowel and gives more emphasis to the vowel than the other letters. 5

    "_" is the nasal tone mark. It puts an "n" sound to the vowel and is produced through the nose, however the "n" itself is never said. It is the "n" sound at the end of "Jen". 6

    "'" is the glottal stop. This ends the sound/air flow for a moment. It is the breathless pause between "tick tock" 7

    "tc" is the "ch" sound in "witch" 8

Source: "How To Use/Read This Site." Internet: <http://www.angelfire.com/az2/catawba/howto.html> September 10, 2005.

Notes (bb):
  1. I assume this is [ɛ].
  2. I assume this is [ɩ].
  3. I assume this is [i].
  4. I would think that this is [ə], but [ə] is central, not low.
  5. This would be [ˈ], and the description makes it sound like the vowel tone is high also [´].
  6. This is [˜].
  7. This is [ʔ].
  8. This would be [ʧ].
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