Sotho Orthography - Sotho Alphabet

Sotho Alphabet

Sesotho orthography is based on the following alphabet:

Orthography IPA Notes Example
a /ɑ/ Like English spa ho abela to distribute
b /b/ this consonant is fully voiced lebese milk
bj /bʒ/ ho bjarana to break apart like a clay pot
/bj/ ?
d an allophone of /l/ only occurring before the close vowels (/i/ and /u/) Modimo God
e /ɪ/ Like English pit ho leka to attempt
/e/ Like English cafe ho jwetsa to tell
/ɛ/ Like English bed ho sheba to look
f /f/ ho fumiana to find
fj /fʃ/ only found in short passives of verbs ending with fa; alternative sh ho bofjwa to be tied
h /h/ or /ɦ/ these two sounds are allophones ho aha to build
hl /ɬ/ ho hlahloba to examine
i /i/ As in English beet tho bitsa to call
j /ʒ/ mo jlefa heir
/d͡ʒ/ this is an alternative to the fricative /ʒ/ ho ja to eat
k /kʼ/ unaspirated: skill boikarabelo responsibility
kh /kʰ/ fully aspirated: kill; occurring mostly in old loanwords from Nguni languages and in ideophones lekhokho the part of the pap that remains baked to the pot after cooking
kg /x/ sekgo spider
/k͡xʰ/ alternative to the velar fricative kgale a long time ago
l /l/ never occurs before close vowels (/i/ or /u/), where it becomes /d/ selepe axe
m /m/ ho mamaretsa to glue
n /n/ lenaneo
ng /ŋ/ can occur initially lengolo letter
ny /ɲ/ as in Spanish el niño ho nyala to marry
o /ʊ/ like English put potso query
/o/ As in French oiseau pontsho proof
/ɔ/ English: board mongolo writing
p /pʼ/ unaspirated: spit pitsa cooking pot
ph /pʰ/ aspirated: pin phuputso investigation
pj /pʃʼ/ alternative tj ho pjatla to cook well
pjh /pʃʰ/ aspirated version of the above; alternative tjh mpjhe ostrich
q /ǃ/ radical (tenuis) ho qoqa to chat
qh /ǃʰ/ aspirated leqheku an elderly person
nq /ᵑǃ/ nasal; this is often simply pronounced as a radical click ho nqosa to accuse
r /ʀ/ soft Parisian-type r moriri hair
s /s/ Sesotho
sh /ʃ/ Moshweshwe Moshoeshoe I
t /tʼ/ unaspirated: stalk botala greenness
th /tʰ/ tharollo solution
tj /t͡ʃʼ/ ntja dog
tjh /t͡ʃʰ/ ho ntjhafatsa to renew
tl /t͡ɬʼ/ ho tlatsa to fill
tlh /t͡ɬʰ/ occurs only as a nasalized form of hl or as an alternative to it tlhaho nature
ts /t͡sʼ/ ho tsokotsa to rinse
tsh /t͡sʰ/ aspirated ho tshoha to become frightened
u /u/ As in English boot tumo fame
w /w/ sewa epidemic
y /j/ ho tsamaya to walk

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Famous quotes containing the word alphabet:

    I wonder, Mr. Bone man, what you’re thinking
    of your fury now, gone sour as a sinking whale,
    crawling up the alphabet on her own bones.
    Anne Sexton (1928–1974)