How to use
This dictionary will use english letters in order to code for Hoisanese words, the following is a list of how the sounds will appear in the dictionary:
- a - pronounced like the "a" sound in crawl
- au - pronounced like the "au" sound in cow
- ai - pronounced like the "ai" sound in I
- b - pronounced like the "b" sound in bat
- ch - pronounced like the "ch" sound in chart
- d - pronounced like the "d" sound in dog
- ie - pronounced as a combination of the sounds "i" (as in see) and "e" sound in met
- ei - pronounced like the "ei" sound in weigh
- ieu - pronounced as a combination of the sounds "i" (as in see), "e"(as in met) and "u" as in moo
- f - pronounced like the "f" sound in fun
- g - pronounced like the "g" sound in goat
- h - pronounced like the "h" sound in heavy
- i - pronounced like the "i" sound in see
- iu - pronounced as a combination between the "i" sound(as in meet) and the "u" sound(as in shoe)
- j - pronounced as the "j" sound in juice
- k - pronounced as the "k" sound in camera
- l - pronounced as the "l" sound in laser
- m - pronounced as the "m" sound in maybe
- n - pronounced as the "n" sound in night
- ng - pronounced like the word pong without the po at the beginning
- o - pronounced like the "o" sound in cold
- oi - pronounced as the "oi" sound in join
- p - pronounced like the "p" sound in play
- s - pronounced like the "s" sound in sooth
- t - pronounced like the "t" sound in tap
- thl - pronounced by opening the mouth slightly with top and bottom teeth a little bit apart then pressing the tongue against your top teeth and forcing air out from the sides of your mouth, it should almost sound like a combination of the "th" sound(as in thick) and the "l" sound(as in lick)
- u - pronounced like the "u" sound in boom
- ui - pronounced like the "ui" sound in buoy
- uu - pronounced as a combination of the sounds "uh" and "u" as in boom
- v - pronounced less harshly than the "v" sound in vacuum
- y - pronounced like the "y" sound in yam
Do not forget that this site uses its own set of romanization, this is because there is no official hoisanese romanization. Do not mix up english words with this site's romanization. Example: be is pronounced like b-eh, NOT like the English word "be."
Something different about hoisanese from English is how the words are pronounced. an example of this is at the end of some Hoisanese words.
Ex: the word leik is pronounced almost like "lake" in english EXCEPT in Hoisanwa the hard k sound is not stressed at the end. When you speak hoisanese the ending sounds "p","k",and"t" are all said without the extra stress at the end. To test that you are doing this correct, whisper the word and listen if you hear that harsh sound when your whispering. When said correctly, there should be no creaks or click sounds as you whisper and everything should just sound like flowing air.
Hoisanese has 5 main tones to it. The tones go as follows:
- 1) high tone
- 2) middle tone
- 3) low tone
- 4) high falling tone
- 5) low falling tone
Do not confuse "tones" with the tones of a musical instrument. Tone does not mean a certain musical pitch such as "middle c." Tone refers to the contour that your voice goes.
An example of this is the word for good, "ho1"(remember to use this site's romanization rules for pronunciation). "ho1" tells us that the word "ho" has a tone of 1. looking back at our tone list we see that a 1 tone is a high tone. this does not mean say "ho" as high as your voice can go, it simply means to say ho with a high tone but not one that is uncomfortable to use in everyday language.
A good way to think of tones is by thinking of english. In english when you ask a question your voice rises in pitch, right? like if you say "what?!" your voice is high. this is what tones are meant by. it is talking about pitches in your voice that are normal for everyday speaking. Therefore:
- 1 tone is high, meaning say the word in a high tone. try saying the word "excellent" notice that the "ex" part in excellent is higher than the cellent. the "ex" in "excellent" is the tone of 1 tone.
- 2 tone is middle tone. try saying "piano" the "pi" part is middle tone. this means that a word of 2 tone should be said at the same pitch as the "pi" part in "piano"
- 3 tone is low tone. this is like saying the "no" part in "piano." the word piano is an excellent example for tones. if you say piano you notice that the "pi" is about in the middle pitchwise and the "an" is said higher than the "pi". the "an" is like 1 tone. the "no" is said lowest of all and is like the 3 tone.
Here is where things get more complicated:4 and 5 tone.
- 4 tone is high falling. this means that you would start off with your voice at 1 tone and naturally fall in pitch. an example of this is when people say "ugh" if you say "ugh" out loud, notice that your voice pitch falls. the pitch that your voice says "ugh" at is almost exactly 4 tone.
- 5 tone is the exact same concept as 4 tone, the only difference is that your starting point, instead of being 1 tone, is 2 tone.
Some practice to help you understand the concept of tones follows:
- 1) hau1 means mouth
- 2) hau2 means steal
- 3) hau3 means head
- 4) hau4 means after/back
- 5) hau5 means thick
The above is a great example of showing how not only sound plays a part in hoisanese but so does the tone of your voice. practice with the word hau and master all 5 tones, then move on to the grammar lesson.