This page makes available downloadable audio files of Tzotzil speech. The files currently available contain minimal pairs demonstrating the phonemic contrast between glottalized and non-glottalized consonants. In each file, you will hear the minimal pair twice, with the non-glottalized member of the pair preceding the glottalized member. (Note that glottalization is indicated with an apostrophe, in keeping with the standard orthography of Tzotzil.) Glottalization is the phonetic feature that describes the momentary obstruction of the passage of air by the glottis and its sudden release, which creates a small explosion of air that gives the consonant a hard sound. (For more information about glottalization in Tzotzil, see Chapter 1 of Sk'op Sotz'leb.) It is a very common feature among Mayan languages in particular and languages of the Americas in general.

Technical Note

These sound files are currently available in two formats: .AIFF and .WAV. If you do not have the necessary software to play such files, you can download either SoundMachine for the Macintosh or WHAM for Windows.

atzis vs. atz'is ( .AIFF, .WAV)

atzis fart
atz'is you sewed it

ka vs. k'a (.AIFF, .WAV)

ka particle
k'a horse

kok vs. kok' vs. k'ok' (.AIFF, .WAV)

kok my leg
kok' my tongue
k'ok' fire

pus vs. p'us (.AIFF, .WAV)

pus jail (literally: steam bath)
p'us (pat) hunchback

tul vs. t'ul (.AIFF, .WAV )

tul stirring stick
t'ul rabbit

tzotz vs. sotz' (.AIFF, .WAV)

tzotz strong
sotz' bat

vo vs. vo` (.AIFF, .WAV)

vo fly
vo` water


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