The Central Sinama Alphabet

Linguists have been working with Sinama for over 40 years.  It has been determined that there are 22 letters in Sinama.

Aa

B b

D d

E e

G g

H h

I i

J j

a

[a]

ba

[b / β]

da

[d]

e

[e]

ga

[g / Ɣ]

ha

[h]

ə

[ə / ʔ]

i

[i]

ja

[ʤ]

K k

L l M m N n Ng ng O o P p R r S s

ka

k

la

[l]

ma

[m]

na

[n]

nga

[ŋ]

o

[o]

pa

[p]

ra

[r]

sa

[s]

T t

U u W w Y y          

ta

[t]

u

[u]

wa

[w]

ya

[y]

         

Notes

  • Ng represents the ŋ sound.
  • Tagalog includes ng as a letter. Bahasa Melayu does not. Ng is included in our version of the Sinama alphabet.
  • b becomes [β] and g becomes [Ɣ] when found between two vowels.

The vowels are: a e ꞌ i o u

The consonants are b d g h ꞌ j k l m n ng p r s t w y

ꞌ marks the central vowel when preceding two consonants.

ꞌ is the representative mark for a glottal stop (called the hamsaꞌ in Sinama) when found between two vowels or in the word final position.

ꞌ can be spelled with an apostrophe in accordance with Arabic transcriptions in the Latin Alphabet.

Examples of ꞌ: In Sinama the word for carry is bowa and for mouth is bowaꞌ.
The word for two is duwa and the word for loading cargo is duwaꞌ.
Akaꞌat is an example of the glottal stop in between two vowels. It is also an example for why the letter h is insufficient to represent this sound since the letter h has a predefined sound between two vowels like the word bahan which is a type of plant.

ꞌ can also be used as a vowel.

Examples of this are lꞌkkat (to redeem), hꞌnda (wife), & nsꞌllan (oil).

In Sinama there is also vowel lengthening. (See post in Sinama about long vowels)

Lengthened vowels are written as such: ā ē ī ō ū

Examples of this are “Parahū ka” where because of the lengthened vowel emphasizes the last syllable of the word (Pa-ra-).  This can be seen in contrast to “Paliyu ka” where the emphasized syllable is second to last (pa-LI-yu).

Did you know Sinama has its own alphabet song?

One Response

  1. Magsinama Kitam! — Blog — The New Sinama Language Blogs

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