A/N: There are much longer and more detailed notes following the epilogue, but I thought I ought to warn up front about potentially offensive language about minorities—none of the big bads, but irksome at best—and characters expressing opinions about minorities that I, the author, do not share. Also, the character deaths and relationships portrayed align with canon. There are some very oblique references to Season 6, most of which were unintentional, but no real spoilers past 5.22. And there's one character (the combining ogonek; it's a hook that goes under a vowel) that might not show up on older computers; I apologize in advance if that's the case for you.

Many thanks to my very kind beta kcrenegade—you've helped me immeasurably!

For this fic, the part of John Winchester will be played by Ray Tracey.


When the Badger Grows Horns
By San Antonio Rose

Chapter 1
Ha'iinee' Abíní

Joining the Marines was a no-brainer. Practically every man he knew who had been old enough, and some who hadn't been, had enlisted during World War II, and most of them had served with distinction in the Pacific as Marines. Some of them had stories they couldn't tell him until their program was declassified; others had stories they wouldn't tell at all unless they were well and truly drunk. But all of them said it was a good and honorable thing for a Diné warrior to be a United States Marine.

So on his eighteenth birthday, John Ashiihi Winchester drove to the recruiter's office in Tuba City, Arizona, and signed on the dotted line. He'd tried to sign up when he was sixteen, but the recruiter had told him that things weren't that desperate in Vietnam yet. But they couldn't keep him out now.

Truth be told, however, it wasn't just his heritage that drove John to life in the military. Like many kids his age, he was beginning to tire of the old ways and yearned for a chance to experience life outside the reservation, but he'd never had the patience to do well enough in school to even think about going to college. He wasn't stupid; he just preferred learning to do rather than learning to think. He'd gotten to be pretty good at fixing cars, though, and his dad thought he had a shot at making a pretty good living as a mechanic. Joining the Marines would give him the chance to hone his craft and get out of Arizona for a few years, let him figure out what he wanted from life, what he believed, where and who he was meant to be.

Basic training at Camp Pendleton was almost laughably easy, given the training his grandmother had been putting him through since he was six. His father and uncles had prepared him for the jibes he would get from the white recruits and the harassment he would get from his instructors, and though the words did sometimes sting and he suspected the sergeant of being far harder on him than he was on the whites, he also knew that once he had earned their respect, he would make some friends.

And so it proved. There weren't very many whites who were willing to be buddies with "the chief" under normal conditions, but John had never been one who needed more than a handful of friends. The fact that he was clean, sober, and willing to work got most of the sergeants off his back, and the weekend he cheerfully spent in the brig after sending a Klansman's son to the hospital (the idiot was armed but drunk; John was unarmed but fast) got the other privates to leave him alone.

Then they shipped out to Vietnam, and grudging respect gave way to outright awe as John proved himself adept at saving his comrades' lives. "Chief" was no longer a slur; it was a title, as much a badge of honor as the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and corporal's stripes he earned over four long years in and out of theater. His fellow mechanics Mike Guenther and Bill Deacon told anyone who'd listen at home that he should have been a Master Sergeant, that he deserved twice the medals he'd been awarded, but John shrugged it off. The real heroes never made it home, he'd say. He was only doing his job.

Unlike the gods, he would occasionally add to himself. He'd never quite been sold on the old beliefs of the Diné, but the one time he'd cried out to the Holy People to save a wounded friend—one of the few who'd actually taken an interest in Diné culture, a draftee who hadn't quite been able to convince himself to run to Canada and was just starting to think that maybe he'd made the right decision to join the Marines after all—they hadn't answered and the boy had died. John didn't know which option was worse: that the gods were dead, that they were powerless, or that they just didn't care. Regardless, he resolved not to rely on the supernatural for anything, not when he knew his buddies had his back, a fact that Deacon proved shortly afterward by saving his life for a change.

Amá Sání Chee insisted on having an Enemy Way ceremony for him when he returned home at the end of his hitch in '72, but John put no faith in it. When he wanted to forget, Jack Daniels was stronger medicine, assuming he could find a bootlegger (and he usually could, federal law or no federal law).

But John still didn't know what he wanted out of life after the military, and he floundered until his pal Mike showed up on the doorstep of the Winchesters' hooghan not two months after they got back to the States. Mike cheerfully endured the interrogation from John's mother and grandmother about his family, his friendship with John, and his plans, which led to a major revelation: Mike was considering going to college on the GI Bill, and he wanted John to come on a road trip with him to check out some possibilities, including his first choice, the University of Kansas.

"Rock Chalk Jayhawk," John laughed.

Mike laughed, too, but shook his head. "No, seriously, Chief, you should come check it out. There's an Indian college in Lawrence, too, if you can't get in at KU."

John laughed again. "What do I want with college, man? I'm a mechanic."

"Please, John," Mike pleaded. "I just... I need a friend to do this with me. California's no place for a Jarhead right now, and... did you hear that Dooley shot himself?"

John sobered. "No. No, I didn't know that." And then he deliberately glanced at his parents, willing Mike to realize that this wasn't a safe topic for conversation.

Mike understood, at least partly. "Anyway, I... I just need to have a friend with me, that's all. So I don't... do something stupid."

That was a disturbing thought—but it wasn't like John's drinking was much healthier, as his mother Emily constantly reminded him.

"There aren't many jobs around here, son," Joe Winchester noted. "There might be something better for you in Kansas."

"I think you should go, John," said Amá Sání, and that settled it.


Lawrence was flat and crowded and had too many trees, and Mike laughed at John for saying so. Granted, they had just come back from the jungle, so he should have been used to trees, but at least those trees had had character, like the evergreens that grew in Dinétah. Vietnamese trees were exotic. Kansas trees were boring.

There were also the niggling voices in the back of his mind telling him a) that he shouldn't be thinking about settling down among whites and b) that he shouldn't be thinking about settling on what ought to be Kanza territory, a thousand miles from Dinétah, but mostly he was just bored senseless after two days of bumming around town while Mike did his thing at KU. At least in the desert he knew what to do.

John was hanging out at the counter at Jay Bird's Diner, nursing a cup of coffee and waiting for Mike to get there for lunch after meeting with someone in KU's engineering department, when the seat beside him was suddenly taken by a white girl. "Are you a Haskell student?" she asked after placing her order.

John tamped down his immediate irrational irritation at the question—he'd had far more offensive greetings in the past, after all—and smiled politely. "No, I'm here with a friend, a Marine buddy, who's thinking about studying at KU."

She pushed her feathered blonde hair out of her wide blue eyes, and the religious charms on her silver bracelet jingled, which was even more irritating. "Oh, you were in the Marines! Did you just get back from Vietnam?"

"Yeah, a couple months ago. Still kind of at loose ends, y'know? Mike's trying to talk me into going to KU with him, but... I dunno. I kind of like being a mechanic."

"I wish I could go to college," the girl sighed. "My dad doesn't see the point. Says I don't need school to do well in the family business."

John frowned. "I guess that depends on what the family business is."

"Doesn't matter. I want out of it." At John's odd look, she continued, "It's... we have to travel a lot. I mean, we live here in Lawrence, but Dad gets called to jobs all over the country, and he usually takes Mom and me with him. And I'm tired of it, y'know? I want to be able to stay in one place, have my own house, my own land, live a quiet, normal, settled life."

"Well, I don't know from normal, but I do know from wanting out. The old ways... I mean, they're not all bad, but I'm tired of living in the past. It's not like the gods of my people ever did anything for me anyway."

Something flashed in the girl's eyes then, and he expected some kind of retort, but it never came. Instead she started asking the kinds of questions he'd expect from a woman back home—what tribe he was from, where he lived, what his family did, what he'd done in the Marines. She didn't offer much information about herself, but she did let slip that her father had done some work in Shiprock once, and from there the discussion turned to the desert and the lessons one could learn from nature, and by the time Mike finally showed up an hour later, both John and the girl had eaten their lunches without realizing it. She looked at her watch with a guilty start and said she had to dash off to meet her father somewhere nearby.

"But it was very nice to meet you..."

"Oh, I'm sorry! John, John Winchester."

"Mary Campbell."

She offered him her hand to shake... and something happened that he could never afterward explain, though he better understood what the Romans had meant about Cupid's arrow.

"Mary, would you meet me here for supper tonight?" he heard himself asking. "Maybe we could, I dunno, go for a walk afterward or something."

Mary blinked, surprised, and then suddenly smiled. "Yes... yes, I think I'd like that. What time?"

"Make it 6," Mike offered. "You could get to a drive-in by 7."

"Six o'clock," Mary promised.

And suddenly Lawrence didn't seem so boring anymore.


Neither family approved, of course, but at least the Diné did not disown children for marrying outsiders. John knew enough non-Diné people who had been disowned over marriages to believe that the elders were right about one thing: it was wrong to destroy the sacred unit of the family. For her part, Mary didn't seem to care if her father disowned her for dating an Indian. She wanted out of the family business anyway, she told John repeatedly, and her father had never approved of any of her boyfriends. Her mother liked John, and that was good enough for both of them.

Amá Sání was slightly less displeased with John when his father wrote to relatives in Shiprock and found out that the "job" Samuel Campbell had done there had supposedly involved killing a group of skinwalkers. "It seems your Mary is from a strong clan, son," Joe wrote to John. "But we don't blame her for wanting to leave such a life. It was not Changing Woman, but her sons who were charged with ridding the Glittering World of monsters."

John didn't believe in skinwalkers, and he wasn't sure he believed in Changing Woman or the Hero Twins. But he did believe in Mary, found her strong and intelligent, loved the fire in her eyes and the way she walked even taller when people hurled insults at them in the park. They were rebelling together, and it was glorious.

Mike and John had stopped at a garage owned by an older man who was willing to hire them and eventually sell the shop to Mike. So the two of them had gotten an apartment together and kept up the fiction at work of Mike being John's supervisor, and Mike spent his nights taking business classes at KU while John spent his nights teaching Mary Diné bizaad and occasionally taking her to the movies. She even got him to stop drinking more than a beer or two after work.

"She's got you whipped, Chief," Deacon teased when he came up from Little Rock to visit at Christmas.

"Diné society is a matriarchy," John objected. "Our women are supposed to be strong."

"Oh, so that's why you hooked up with Mary, Queen of Scots?" Mike jibed. At John's frown, he explained, "One of the guys she went to high school with is in my accounting class. That's what they used to call her, 'cause she was so... aloof, I guess."

"Mary, Queen of Scots, was a Stewart, not a Campbell," said Deacon, who knew these things. "Closest a Campbell's been to the throne was Robert the Bruce's brother-in-law."

But John tuned out the ensuing argument about Scottish history and thought about his own Scottish princess. And he realized suddenly that he couldn't picture going through life with any other bride.

Just as suddenly, he realized that he didn't know how white families handled marriages. The usual Diné way was for the groom's parents to approach the bride's parents with a dowry, but he didn't think Samuel Campbell would take kindly to the Winchesters turning up on his doorstep with a horse.

"Hey, guys?" John interrupted, and somehow Mike and Deacon knew what he was about to ask and got very serious.


Mary suspected. She was too smart not to pick up on his skimping on date costs after the first week, and he knew he needed at least another couple of months to save up enough for a decent ring, a car, and a place of their own. So John decided to try to throw her off the scent somewhat by asking her opinion about the car. After a few weeks of looking, she plumped for a VW van that she'd spotted at Rainbow Motors, a used car lot just down the street from the diner where they'd first met. It was a hippie van, but she was something of a hippie herself, so it suited her.

John mostly worked on domestics, so he wrote to his father asking his opinion about the van, not telling him why he wanted to buy it. Joe wrote back telling him to trust his gut, and in the envelope were a check large enough for the van and the first month's rent on an apartment as well as a silver-and-turquoise ring made by one of the Chee cousins.

Shimásání knows me too well, he thought with a sigh as he went to deposit the check.

But of course, he couldn't suddenly stop saving or tell Mary he was buying the car with the money for her dowry. So it was the end of April of '73, when he had enough for two months' rent on a house he'd found, before Mary started wondering when he was going to buy the van.

"I'll do it tomorrow," he promised, and that night he told Mike he'd be late getting to work the next day.

The salesman did a poor job of concealing his uncertainty about doing business with an Indian, but he was only too happy to cut John a deal for the van, which had been sitting in the lot since Christmas. That gave John pause, but he had promised—

"'Aii chidí doo nín'zin'ígíí da," a male voice said as soon as the salesman went inside to get the paperwork.

John spun around to face a drifter for whom he'd bought a cup of coffee at the diner earlier that morning. He hadn't recognized the guy as Diné before. His skin was darker than most Anglos, his cheekbones higher, and he wore a buckskin jacket that was a little too big for him, but his short, spiky hair was a chestnut brown, and his eyes were green...

"Yáát'ééh," the drifter smirked from his perch on the hood of a black '67 Impala.

"Are you following me?" John demanded in English.

"No, I was just passing. I never got a chance to thank you for the cup of coffee."

"Kót'ée ga' Diné bikéyahdi," John shrugged, slipping into his native language before he could catch himself.

The smirk grew into a knowing grin, but the drifter continued speaking English. "Let me repay the favor." He patted the car he was sitting on. "This is the one you want."

"Oh, yeah? You know something about cars?"

This time the drifter slipped into Diné bizaad as his smile turned wistful. "Shizhé'é yéé ho'ałtsosįįh yínaashineeztą́ą́." Then he switched back to English and proceeded to persuade John that the gently-used Impala was far superior to the well-worn van, and John couldn't argue with him.

"John Winchester," he finally said by way of both agreement and introduction. "Ashiihi ei' nishli, Tódích'íi'nii bá shíshchíín. Ahéhee'."

"Dean Van Halen," replied the drifter, shaking hands. "Bilagáana ei' nishli, Tséghadínídinii bá shíshchíín. Man, that diner needs to do something about those rotten eggs, huh?"

"Rotten eggs? Sulfides?"

"Yeah, you didn't smell 'em?"

"No."

"Might have just been me, then... I was getting chills, too. Did you feel anything like that, cold spots?"

This conversation was taking a turn for the odd, even by Navajo standards. "No... are you sure you're okay?"

"As okay as I can be..." Dean trailed off into a language John didn't recognize and shook his head. "Well, look, I would love to stay and chat, but I'm supposed to meet up with someone who doesn't run on Indian time."

John laughed at that, and Dean flashed him one last grin, bade him farewell, and disappeared through the car lot. The salesman was disappointed that John had changed his mind, but John knew how to drive a bargain, and in the end he got the Impala for slightly less than the original price on the van. Mike heartily approved and agreed to help get her back in prime condition as his wedding gift.

All that morning John wondered about Dean, how he'd come to be in Lawrence, why he hadn't known what day it was, why he was carrying on about sulfur and cold spots—he clearly hadn't been drunk or stoned—and what his life was like as the son of a mixed marriage. But then the garage was suddenly swamped with customers, and Mike started needling him about whether he'd present the ring along with the car that night, and the stranger slipped John's mind.

Mary was less impressed with his choice of vehicles, but he was able to persuade her over milkshakes that it was the better choice. She was also thoroughly unimpressed with her father's reaction to the news that John was buying her a car: he expected her home before dinner that night. "You know, I want to believe he's just being overprotective of me, because I've never known him to be a racist and Dad's always scared off my boyfriends before, but sometimes I have to wonder. Especially with what's been going on at Wounded Knee."

John sighed. "Working with someone of a different race isn't the same as allowing your daughter to marry him."

"Hey." Mary took his hand, looked him in the eye, and said very carefully, "Nít'éego niidooshąął."

She was a prize, his Mary, and he kissed her hand gently.

Then something outside caught her eye, and she excused herself briefly. When she came back in, she insisted that she needed to get home before her dad did something they'd all regret, and later that night she called to say that she'd probably be out of touch for a couple of days because of an emergency with the family business. When he got home, John stared at the ring his cousin had made and hoped with all his might that he hadn't done something wrong, that she wasn't having second thoughts about marrying an Indian, that her father wasn't threatening her life.

She called again two days later, begging him to come over. As soon as he stepped out of the car, she launched herself off the porch and into his arms.

"Are you okay?" he asked, looking down at her in alarm.

"You promised you'd take me away," she said into his shirt. "K'ad'ee', tsį́į́łgo."

So he did.

He thought.

His memory of exactly what happened when he tried to propose was fuzzy afterward, though he thought it involved someone with yellow eyes (!) trying to break his neck, but somehow he ended up on the ground with his head in Mary's lap, Samuel Campbell lying dead a few feet away from a stab wound through the heart, a stolen car and an antique gun abandoned a hundred yards away, the stench of raw sulfur in the air, and Mary bawling her eyes out and babbling something about both of her parents being dead.

John knew they couldn't call the police. Mary was the only witness who could swear he hadn't killed her father, and her word might not be enough if the investigator wasn't willing to accept the evidence that the wound had been self-inflicted; given the conflicting reports about the ongoing AIM standoff at Wounded Knee, John suspected that the law in Lawrence would jump at the chance to pin a murder on an Indian. And besides, despite his agnosticism and his experiences in 'Nam, the Diné taboos regarding dead bodies were still deeply engrained in his psyche. So instead, when they found a phone booth, Mary called her uncle Robert, who promised to take care of everything, and John called Mike to let him know he needed a week or two off for a family emergency ("No, man, not Vegas... okay, yes, we're eloping, but there's more to it than that"). Then John slid the ring onto Mary's finger and kissed her forehead, and they made tracks for Dinétah.

The Impala proved itself that night, easily managing the 100-mph average needed to get from Lawrence to Tuba City in the amount of time Robert Campbell had allotted for them to make their getaway. Mary was exhausted with grief and slept the whole way, but John was running on adrenaline and managed to get them all the way to the Winchester hooghan before sunrise. Predictably, the entire Chee family heard the car coming and ran out to meet them, and they all asked the same three questions: where'd you get the car; is this your Mary; and what happened?

Mary did all the talking; John managed to assure her that he was not going to die before he dragged himself to bed and slept until lunchtime. And apparently she acquitted herself well, because by the time he got up, his parents had already made all the arrangements for the wedding to take place the next day and Amá Sání Chee was quizzing her on her Diné bizaad. When Mary stumbled on a word that was a tongue-twister for an English speaker and blushed in embarrassment, Amá Sání chuckled kindly and patted her hand.

"You have found a good woman, my grandson," said Amá Sání. "May you both walk in beauty."

Mary broke down at that, and Amá Sání shooed John outside and held Mary as she wept, and John ate at his aunt's hooghan and mused on the tales of Changing Woman all afternoon as he and his father and uncles built the hooghan for the wedding.

It was good to be home, he realized, to be in harmony with the land once more and to have his family around him. But something in him had changed during his months in Lawrence, and he was about to become a Campbell; even if he didn't know what that meant, he knew it was not his destiny to stay.

"Do you need us to go back with you, John?" Joe asked toward sundown.

"No, Dad," John sighed. "Mary's uncle is taking care of it. I think she wants to sell the place anyway."

"Good," said Uncle Ron. "Better to abandon the house, but I don't guess the Bilagáana would think so."

John didn't want to argue about superstitions at the moment, so he simply said, "City houses attract worse than ghosts when they're empty."

Amá Sání took Mary back to her own hooghan that night to prepare her for the wedding and to chat with her about the woman's role in the Navajo home. But John was so nervous about... well, everything that he wound up sleeping in the car. He didn't know why, but it felt almost like a hooghan to him.

The wedding was subdued; only the Chee relatives were present, and the singer skipped all but the most sacred parts of the ceremony. But even in her grief and solitude, so far from home and family and all that she knew, Mary was beautiful, and John knew he'd made the right choice.

"This wasn't exactly what I had in mind for a honeymoon cottage," Mary said with a rueful chuckle after the family finally left them alone in the wedding hooghan. "But I guess it is romantic in its way."

"I'm sorry, Mary," John sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I'm... I mean, if you'd rather..."

Mary's smile turned fond, and she shut him up with a kiss.

The telegram from Mike with the funeral arrangements arrived shortly after sunrise the next morning, but Joe gave the newlyweds privacy until mid-morning and then handed the telegram to Mary unopened. Robert Campbell had apparently called in some favors at the coroner's office, so the official story was that Samuel had had a heart attack and Deanna had fallen down the stairs in her haste to get him help. There was only a memorial service to be held at First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence on the afternoon of May 6; the couple's ashes would be buried in the family plot in Greenville, Illinois.

Mary snorted at that. "That's where the marker will be," she muttered, but she didn't say anything more than that.

John looked again at the time of the memorial and did some quick mental math. "If we leave now, we can probably make it into Kansas before we have to stop for the night."

But of course, the rest of the family wouldn't let them leave until after lunch, what with farewells and advice and condolences and gift-giving, so they got only as far as Lamar, Colorado, before John decided to stop. The motel didn't have a honeymoon suite, but it was reasonably clean and cheap enough that John could afford to call Mike before it got too late even by the roommates' standards. However, once the "You're where?" and "Man, when you say family emergency..." parts of the conversation were over, it turned out that Mike didn't have much more news, so John cut the call short and joined Mary in bed.

"Is this more like what you had in mind?" he asked as he settled in beside her.

"Closer," she giggled and switched off the lamp.

They were on the road again before dawn and went directly to the church, where John met Uncle Robert for the first time and felt as awkward and out of place as he knew Mary must have felt at the wedding. And it wasn't just the fact that the very public display of emotion was completely counter to Diné taboos. Not a few of the mourners, whom he gathered had mostly been Deanna's childhood friends, openly stared at him, and he even heard a couple of whispers of "I didn't think Mary was so wild" and "No wonder Samuel had a heart attack."

Mary heard them, too, and made a point of dabbing her eyes with her left hand, so that everyone could see the wedding ring, and introducing everyone in the condolence line to "my husband John." But John struggled to say "Thank you for coming" with even half the false sincerity that most of the mourners put behind their perfunctory "Sorry for your loss, Mary." After a while he gave up saying it in English, and the blank looks he got in return gave him a crazy idea; by the end he was responding deadpan with the Diné bizaad equivalents of one-liners from Laugh-In, especially "Is that another chicken joke?" Mary barely managed to keep her composure long enough for the end of the line to get out the door before she collapsed against him in a fit of hysterical laughter.

"... it wasn't that funny," said John.

"Don't tell me you understood him," said Uncle Robert.

"I got the gist," Mary gasped. "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's!" And she was off again.

At Uncle Robert's raised eyebrow, John shrugged. "It was a long drive."

Uncle Robert cleared his throat. "Listen, sweetheart, John's right; you've been on the road a long time. And I don't think anyone else is coming to the graveside. Why don't you two wait to come to Greenville until after you get the estate settled?"

Mary sobered. "Estate—didn't you..."

"There isn't much left to do. Mostly your things to pack up, and I thought you'd want the furniture and your mom's dishes. The realtor's already had some interest in the house, and the... gun's owner has already reclaimed it."

"I've got the week off," John assured her. If there were evil spirits hanging around the Campbell place, he was not about to let her face them alone; and if there weren't, she still needed his support.

She studied his face for a moment and nodded. "Okay."

And somehow John knew they were never going to set foot in Greenville.


.


Glossary:

Ha'iinee' Abíní - Sometime in the Morning

Diné – "The People," the name by which the Navajo Nation referred to themselves officially until the early 1970s; many Navajo still call themselves Diné

Ashiihi – Salt Clan

Dinétah – "Among the People," name of the Navajo homeland

Diné bizaad – the Navajo language

Amá Sání / Shimásání – maternal grandmother (the shi- prefix indicates first person possession)

'Aii chidí doo nín'zin'ígíí da – That car is not that which you want.

Yáát'ééh – Greetings (which was frequently and unfortunately used as the standard Indian greeting in B Westerns, regardless of tribe—in McLintock!, for example, the extras look somewhat bemused that the Comanche characters greet each other in Navajo!)

Kót'ée ga' Diné bikéyahdi – That's the way it is in Navajo country.

Shizhé'é yéé ho'ałtsosįįh yínaashineeztą́ą́ – My father taught me everything he knew.

ei' nishli – I am born to (my mother's clan is)

Tódích'íi'nii – Bitter Water Clan

bá shíshchíín – I am born for (my father's clan is)

Ahéhee' – Thank you

Bilagáana – Anglo-American

Tséghadínídinii – Crystal Rock Clan

Nít'éego niidooshąął – I love you just the way you are.

K'ad'ee', tsį́į́łgo – Now will be a good time, hurry.

Navajo spelling isn't standardized; I've had to cobble together the few lines of dialogue that I've translated into Diné bizaad using several different sources that used different orthographic conventions, so I'm not sure I've been consistent. And since I didn't know more than a word or two of Navajo when I started this story, I didn't dare try anything more complicated! But many, many thanks to kcrenegade for running it by a native speaker for me.

Pronunciation:

Navajo is a tonal language that has no diphthongs. A single vowel without an accent is a low tone; a single vowel with an accent is a high tone; a hook under a vowel indicates that it is nasal. Doubled vowels are held longer, but the pronunciation does not change; if only the second is accented, it is a rising tone; if only the first is accented, it is a falling tone.

a = ah (as in father)

e = eh (as in they)

i = ee (as in police)

o = oh (as in note)

' = glottal stop (think of a Cockney saying "li'le me'al bo'letops")

gh = like the g in saguaro

ł = voiceless l (similar to Welsh ll)

j = similar to the dg in judge or to Russian dzh