Here is a chart of the orthography (writing system) current adopted by the Confederated Tribes Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians to write the Hanis, Milluk and Siuslaw/Umpqua languages.
The native languages have pretty much all the same vowels English does. Here is how to represent those sounds:
a Like the ‘a’ in father
e Like the flat sort of ‘a’ in words like cat, sat. Some linguists thought this sound was more like halfway between the short ‘e’ sound in bet, set.
i Like the short ‘i’ in bit, sit.
ii Like the long ‘ee’ sound in weed, deed.
o This one will be very unlike how you usually picture sounds represented by ‘o’. We’ll be using it to represent the schwa, or neutral vowel. This is like the ‘a’ in about, or the ‘a’ in sofa. A kind of an ‘uh’ sound.
u Like the vowel in good, book, brook.
uu Like the ‘oo’ sound in brood. Sometimes in words this sound comes out more like the long ‘o’ sound in boat.
Combinations of two vowels – diphthongs – will be represented by ai for the ‘i’ in bite, and au for the ‘ow’ sound in grout.
For most consonants – like b, d, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, z, assume they are similar to English. However, Hanis (and Milluk and Siuslaw/Umpqua too) contain some consonant sounds NOT found in English. Or at least a little bit different. So we’ll illustrate them here.
ts This is just like the ‘ts’ sound you find at the end of English words like cats. Unlike English, in Hanis the ts sound can be found at the beginning of words. It takes just a bit of practice to get comfortable saying ts at the start of a word, like the word tsolats, evening low tide.
hl hl will stand in for a sound that is, essentially, a silent l. To make this sound, pretend you are about to say ‘la’. Put the tip of your tongue behind the top of your upper front teeth, but instead of voicing it to make an ‘l’ sound, blow air. This is a common sound in Hanis, like the word hla, to go.
tl Like a voiceless version of the dl sound in English words like puddle, muddle.
x This is a raspy h sound. For students of German, this is like the ch in German words like Bach.
xx A raspy h sound like above, but pronounced further back in the mouth.
gh This is the voiced version of the x.
q A sound like k, but pronounced further back in the mouth.
’ The apostraphe will stand in for what is called a glottal stop. It is a break between vowels, like what you get between the two syllables of uh-oh. Also, the glottal stop can follow a consonant, making the consonant ‘pop’, like in the word k’a, rope.