| The first step is to learn the single consonants by making sure you
know how to pronounce each one correctly. This is no different than learning the English language.
In other words, before you can pronounce words like Thailand, Driveway, Shoe,
you have to learn the single consonants T, D, and S before diving into Th, Dr, and Sh.
|Below are the single consonants.|
|| D || F
|| H || K
|| L || M
|| N || P
|| Q || R
|| S || T
|| V || X
|| Y || Z
| The next step is to learn the dual consonants.
The rule here is to always separate the "H" from others whether it is in
front or at the end. If the "H" is in front, then the correct way to pronounce
is to exhale through your nose before sounding out the rest of the consonants.
Let's take a look at the word Hmong and see if we can pronounce it.
First, we realize that the "H" in front of the "M" so we close our mouth tightly.
Next we are going to exhale through the nose to create the "H" sound, loud enough so you can hear
it such as during a heavy breathing, and then say the word "mong." At first,
it might sound like, "Hmm... mong", but if you keep practicing and saying it as quickly
as you can, you will soon able to speak Hmong correctly. In other words, if you can
say the English word "hmm..." then just add the "ong" so it is "hmm + ong" that is all.
Now you may wonder what is the difference between consonants that have
the "H" in front and consonants that have the "H" after. Good question,
little grasshopper :) Since we already covered the word "Hmong", let us
talk about consonants having the "H" after. Let's look at the word "Dhia"
and see if we can pronounce it. First, we recognize that the "D" is
before the "H" so that means we are going to sound out the "D" just
like the English pronunciation, i.e., dee. Now just puff the word
"hia" and you have the word "Dhia." This is known as "hard" pronunciation in English, i.e., like
the English words "key, tie, pie" which has a puffing sound that is.
Consonants that have the "h" in front (prefix) is called the nasal aspirated consonants,
and it means you must exhale through your nose prior to uttering the rest of the consonants.
There are three consonants with the H prefix, but only two that you must exhale through
your nose, i.e., Hm and Hn. The Hl is a mouth aspirated consonant. Meaning you can pinch
your nose tight and you can still pronounce/say these Hmong words "hle, hla, hlub" correctly.
However, if you pinch your nose tight, you cna't properly say these Hmong words Hmoob, hma, hmoo, hnub, hnab.
They will sound like moob, ma, moo, nub and nab only. Again, the proper pronunciation for these
words are Hmm + moob, hmm + ma, hmm + moo, hmm + nub, hmm + nab.
|C + h = Ch
||D + h = Dh
|| D + l = Dl
||H + l = Hl
||H + m = Hm
|H + n = Hn
||K + h = Kh
||M + l = Ml
||N + c = Nc
||N + k = Nk
|N + p = Np
||N + q = Nq
||N + r = Nr
||N + t = Nt
||N + y = Ny
|P + h = Ph
||P + l = Pl
||Q + h = Qh
||R + h = Rh
||T + h = Th
|T + s = Ts
||T + x = Tx
||X + y = Xy
| The next step is to learn the triple consonants. Notice how I
separated the consonants, and there is a good phonetical reason for that. If you
click on each of the consonants and repeat after it; slowly, you will hear the
similarity or cohesiveness of sounds in them. At first, they might not sound too
correct, but once you convince yourself to like them, they, too, will stick with
you forever. |
| H + ml = Hml
|| H + ny = Hny
|| Nc + h = Nch
|| Nk + h = Nkh
|| Np + h = Nph
|Np + l = Npl
||Nq + h = Nqh
||Nr + h = Nrh
||Nt + h = Nth
||N + ts = Nts
|N + tx = Ntx
||Ph + l = Phl
||Ts + h = Tsh
||Tx + h = Txh
| The last step is the quadruple consonants, these consonants
are nothing more than adding the aspiration (puff of air through the mouth) at the end of the triple
|Nph + l = Nphl
||Nts + h = Ntsh
||Ntx + h = Ntxh
Of course, to speed your reading, you will need to recognize each word
just like English words school, philosophy, train, straight,
thread, history, constitution, and construction etc... However, the good thing
in the Hmong language is that there are no words that have the same spelling but
pronounce differently like the English word READ (REED) and READ (RED),
past tense of read (reed) or words like toe (toh) and shoe (shoo).