Crayfish Cribbles: Chapter One


The traditional way to learn Mingo is to start with animal and bird names. Nowadays, it is mostly animals and birds who speak Mingo anyway. So it is a good place to start.

This chapter will give a somewhat lay English equivalent for the pronunciation of each name. Crayfish knows absolutely nothing about linguistics, and its indications on pronunciation are merely its cribble notes. Notice how the words are written and pronounced. Work through them carefully. The pronunciation is very important, despite Crayfish's ineptitude and incompetence. This will hopefully give you a good foundation for pronouncing the new words in Chapter Two and later.

Once you know the names of the spirits where you live, you can begin to commune with nature. Learn the words first, then practice addressing them to the birds and animals you meet.

Tsws is the Robin's name. The ts at the beginning is pronounced like the ds in "suds". It may be hard at first to put it at the beginning of a word. The marks over the and make them long. The word is pronounced Dsow-weese and rhymes with "slow peace".

Tsista is the Grasshopper's name. The a at the end is pronounced like the a in "father", and of course is very long drawn out. The word is pronounced Jee-stah.

Tsinutaka' is the Muskrat's name. It is pronounced Jee-NO-dah-gah'. There is a so-called "glottal stop" on the end, marked with an apostrophe -'-. The word is cut off short with a catch in the throat.

Tsuhkwe'eani' is the Partridge's name. There are two important things to watch in this word. The first is to be sure to pronounce the h very strongly. The second thing is the glottal stop, which is marked with an apostrophe -'-. This is a clear stop, a sort of catch in the throat, like in the expression "uh-oh". There is one in the middle of the word, and one at the end. The second vowel is stressed, spoken higher and more strongly. Dsoh-GWAY'-ay-ah-ni'.

Tsush' in the name of the Heron, especially the Great Blue Heron. The letter is pronounced as the a in "hat". The s and h have to be pronounced separately, as in "grass-hut". Remember the glottal stop at the end. Pronounce the end like "hat", but without the t. DSOH-ass-ha'.

Tsnyta is the Eagle's name. The is long, and the with dots is nasal, spoken through the nose, like the on in "gong". DSOH-nyon-dah.

Tsun'ta' is the Elk's name. It has both nasal vowels, one following the other. The first, , is like the on in "gong". The second, , is like the an in "and" or "Ann" without completely pronouncing the final n. To make things even more difficult, there is a glottal stop both in the middle of the word and at the end. Dsoh-NON(G)-a(n)'-dah'. Do not pronounce the letters in parentheses. They are there to make you pronounce the letters before them correctly. Always pronounce two vowels together without a break, otherwise a glottal stop will come through, and that is a sound with meaning in Mingo.

Tsi'n is the name of the Louse. Watch the glottal stop in the middle and the long vowel at the end. Jee'-non(g).

Tsi'tkw' is the Swallow's name. Watch the nasal vowels and the glottal stops. Jee'DA(n)-ong-gwa(n)'.

Tsiu'tka' is the Mink's name. The main difficulty in this word is the glottal stops in the middle and at the end. The first is long. JEE-oh'-dah-gah'.

Tsikts'khw' is the Chickadee's name. It has both glottal stops and nasal vowels. The last one, , is just a long . Jeek-DSON(g)'-kwa(n)'.

Tsihu'kwaes is the Chipmunk's name. Watch out for the glottal stop in the middle. Jee-HO'-gwice.

Tsy is the Dog's name. It is pronounced Jee-ya, with the like the a in hat.

Tsi't' means Bird. The is a nasal, pronounced like the on in "gong". Watch for the glottal stops. Jee'-DA(n)'-on(g).

You might not find an eagle or heron, and you probably hope you will not find a louse, but it is always possible to talk to dogs and birds, sometimes even preferable.

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