General Consonants

In the table below the general pronunciation of the consonants in Zarma is given.

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b d f g h k l m n ŋɲ p r s t w y z

Consonant Pronunciation Examples
B, b
as in buy baba, bebe
D, d
as in do do, du
F, f 1
as in far fofo, faba
G, g
is hard, as in go or in linger It will generally only be found before "a", "o", and "u", never before "i". gobu, gabi; yongo, kangaw
H, h1
as in home ho, hi, ha
K, k
always as in kale kaa, kabu
L, l
as in long lamba, laabu
M, m
as in must maa, man
N, n
as in now. It is also sometimes a true nasal, as in "boŋ" (French). These instances will be pointed out in the vocabularies. ne, kaan; boŋ, hen
Ŋ, ŋ
is like the "ng" in sing. When this sound precedes "a", "g", "k", "c", or "j", it is written just as "n". kaŋ, daŋ, koŋo; nga, kongo, yongo
Ɲ, ɲ (ny)
is like the nj in the Russian "njet" (no). For simplicity reasons this letter is written as "ny" nya, nyoti, nyum
P, p
is explosive, as in pay pati, hampa
R, r
is never hard (as in red); it is not trilled either; it is one flip on the end of the tongue, not quite like "l". bari, boro, kar
S, s
is always soft, as in so suba, si, kasu
T, t
is sharp, as in time to, fiti, fatta
W, w
is like in well wi, wala, way
Y, y
when a consonant is like in you yu, yara
Z, z
as in zebra zuru, zanka
  1. The letters f and h are interchangeable for some words. In those case often Songhai-Zarma uses the letter f and Songhai-Kaado the letter h.  For example, fu and hu (house, home) 

Last updated: 11 maart 2012