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Mohawk language

Mohawk is a Native American language spoken in the United States. It is part of the Iroquoian family spoken in the Western U.S.

Phonology Based on sound files available at http://www.ohwejagehka.com/lang.htm, the phoneme inventory appears to be as follows (using SAMPA notation):


  1. There are no bilabials (unless one counts /w/ as labial rather than velar).
  2. It's unclear if aspiration is phonemic or a realization of C + /h/; probably the latter as ‘nh’ is /n/ + /h/, and ‘sh’ is /s/ + /h/ (not SAMPA /S/).
  3. From listening to the syllabification of careful speech, I also assume that orthographic 'ts' is indeed an affricate, since 'tsh' corresponds to SAMPA /tS/ - though it begs the question of why not use a single symbol for each of these? (After all, with such a small inventory, there are lots of Latin letters available!)

  Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop t   k ?
Affricate ts tS    
Fricative s     h
Nasal n      
Liquids l   w  


  1. Length is contrastive.
  2. Nasalization is contrastive.
  3. There appear to be a high and low tone. (See tonal language.)

  Front Central Back
High i    
Mid   E o
Low     a

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