Somali Alphabet Pronunciation

 English  Alphabets followed by Somali Alphabets


English Alphabet

A B C D E F G H I J K L M

N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m

n o p q r s t u v w x y z

 Vowels

a e i o u

Consonant

b c d f g h j k l m

n p q r s t v w x y z

 SE

Soomaali Alifbeeto

B T J X KH D R S SH

DH C G F Q K L M N W H Y

b t j x kh d r s sh dh c

g f q k l m n w h y 

Shaqal

a e i o u

Shaqal Dheer

aa ee ii oo uu

Shibane

b t j x kh d r s sh dh c

g f q k l m n w h y

PN


Part Two: Somali Alphabet Pronunciation 

In this section, we will focus on the Somali Alphabet Pronunciation. Here are English language alphabet table followed by the Somali language alphabet table. There are letter and sound columns is these tables. The underlined letters in the sound columns are the specific letters that has the sound of the corresponding alphabet.

English

Letter Sound Letter Sound Letter Sound
A Alaska J Jordan S Serbia
B Brazil K Kenya T Togo
C (A) Abdi(Cabdi) L Libya U Uruguay
D Djibouti M Mali V Virginia(Firjinia)
E Eritrea N Norway W West
F France O Oman X (H) Hamar (Xamar)
G Greece P Pakistan (Bakistan) Y Yamen
H Haiti Q Qatar Z (S) Zambia (Sambia)
I India R Romania PH (F) Pharmacy (Farmasi)
         

Somali

Letter Sound Letter Sound Letter Sound
B Button DH Daisy W Wound
T Topaz C A bdi(Cabdi) H Hello
J Jet G Good Y Yes
X Hayat (Xayat) F Feel A Add
KH Kalid (Khadar) Q Qatar E Elephant
D Denmark K Kansas I Inhale
R Ride L Lion O Only
S Sail M Meal U Ubar
SH Shower N Noon

There are five long vowels in Somali language and they are pronounced as follows:

Letters Sound Somali Writing Somali: Try these
AA Adam, Abbey, Aadam, Aabi Kaalay, Aaway, Jaale
EE Yes,  Press Yees, Prees Hees, Keen, Beel
II Peel, Been, Lean, Me Piil, Biin, Liin, Mii Kiish, Siin, Xiir
OO Ball, Old, World, Bool, Oold, Woorld Oohin, Oon, Xoolo
UU Wound,  Spoon, Oops Wuund, Spuun, Uups Suuf, Buufin, Suuxid

As you can see in the above table, Somali long vowels are either two (aa)s, two (ee)s two (ii)s, two (oo)s, or two (uu)s. You won’t normally see combinations of (oe), (ai), (ua), (iu). Occasionally you might see someone write (hau sheegin or hai waydiin) for example. This is technically poor writing. The correct way is (ha u sheegin or ha i waydiin). Since you learned that long vowels are only two identical vowels, you should pronounce (au), (ai), or (ua), as two separate short vowels.

  • Remember (u) has the “u” sound in Uber and (uu) has the (oo) sound in (Oops).There are Somali words that double such as double d, double l and double r and more. They are called “Labalaab” meaning doubling of the consonant. The pronunciation of these double letters in word are very strong. With these examples you get an idea how these letter sound
    Somali English Pronunciation English Meaning Somali: Try these
    Carrab: . Ar rab Tongue Middi (knife)
    Xagge Hag gee Where Cirro (grey hair)
    Ciddi Id di Nail (of the finger) Arrin (case)
    Hidde Hid de Genetic Hillaac(lightning)
    Cunno: Un no Food Billad (Medal)
  • Remember the English “X” and “C” are not the same as thee Somali “X” and “C” .

Some English alphabets are not part of the Somali alphabet and vice versa. There are also letters in both alphabets that have different pronunciations. Here is another table to show the letters and pronunciation that are exclusive to either of the languages:

Somali Letters Somali Word English Pronunciation Somali: Try these
C: this letter is technically silent. Celi, Cir, Col, Cun Eli, Ir, Ol, Un Cali, Ceeb, Ciil, Cunug
X: is substituted for  H Xarig, Xalay, Xin Harig, Halay, Hin Xanuun, Xaafad, Xil
Kh: is substituted for  K Khasab, Khalad, Khaanad Kasab, Kalad, Kaanad Khayr, Khafiif, Khudrad
DH is substituted for English  D  Dhinac, Dhadhan  Dina, Dadan  Dhan, Dhar, Dhul
Q: is substituted for  K Qamar, Qayb, Qufac, Kamar, Kayb, Kufa Qalin, Qashin, Qatar

 

There are English alphabets that are not in the Somali language. These are “V”, “Z”, “P”, “X” and “PH” and they are pronounced as follows “V” in (virus and van) is pronounced as (fayras and faan). Many Somali speakers who learn the English language don’t differentiate the “V” and F” sound. It takes practice to differentiate the two. Here is the list of  “V”, “Z”, “P”, and “PH” with examples.

English Letters English Example Somali Pronunciation English: Try these
P: is substituted for B. Pool, Pin, Problem Buul, Biin, Boroboleem Put, Pull, Perfume
V: is substituted for  F Virus, Van, Fayras, Faan Vaccine, Vacation, Vail
X: is substituted Z Xenophobia, Xmas Siinafobiya, Ekismas Xenia, Xeric
Z: is substituted for  S Zambia, Zambi, Zulu Sambia, Sambi, Suulu Zig, Zag, Zap
PH: is substituted for  F Pharmacy, Photo Farmaci, Footo Phrase, Photocopy
  • Remember the English “X” and “C” are not the same as thee Somali “X” and “C” .

 

If there is anything you don’t understand, please ask in the comment area or visit the forum.

If you see any typo or other errors please contact us  immediately. Thanks and good luck.

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