2. Ortografia e pronuncia

L’alfabeto Swahili consta delle seguenti lettere semplici e composte:

a, b, ch (c dolce italiana) d, dh (fricativa), e, f, g (sempre dura), gh (g dura aspirata), h (aspirata), i, j (g dolce italiana), k (c dura) l, m, n, ng’ (n velare), ny (ng italiana), o, p, r, s, (sempre sorda), sh (sc palato alveolare come in “scena”), t, th (t fricativa), u, v, w (u semiconsonante), y (i semiconsonante), z (s sonora come in “rosa”).

Tutte le parole sono piane.

Tutte le sillabe finiscono con una vocale.

In Swahili sono pochi i suoni che possono presentare difficoltà nella pronuncia per chi conosce la lingua italiana.

Se ti metti a leggere il Swahili anche senza conoscerlo, chi ti sta ascoltando e conosce questa lingua, può capire la quasi totalita’ di quello che leggi.

Le vocali sono a, e, i, o, u. Inoltre ci sono due semivocali: y e w. La loro pronuncia e’ tale quale quella delle vocali italiane.

In Swahili, ogni vocale viene pronunciata in modo ben distinto una dall’altra, anche quando ce ne sono due una di seguito all’alta, come si puo’ vedere in questi esempi: ji-oni (pomeriggio), redi-o (radio), ku-ambi-a (dire a).

Quando la stessa vocale e’ ripetuta due volte di seguito nella medesima parola, viene pronunciata come una vocale allungata. Ad esempio: bidii (sforzo), kaa (sedersi), njaa (fame).

Le semivocali (w, y) si pronunciano come in watt ed in York.

Le consonanti gh, dh, th e kh sono di origine araba e compaiono soltanto nelle parole di tale provenienza.

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