Voiced palatal nasal
IPA Number118
Audio sample
Entity (decimal)ɲ
Unicode (hex)U+0272
Braille⠿ (braille pattern dots-123456)
Voiced alveolo-palatal nasal

The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ɲ,[1] a lowercase letter n with a leftward-pointing tail protruding from the bottom of the left stem of the letter. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J. The IPA symbol ɲ is visually similar to ɳ , the symbol for the retroflex nasal, which has a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem, and to ŋ, the symbol for the velar nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem.

The IPA symbol derives from n and j, n for nasality and j denoting palatal.[2] In Spanish and languages whose writing systems are influenced by Spanish orthography, it is represented by the letter ñ, called eñe ("enye"). In French and Italian orthographies the sound is represented by the digraph ⟨gn⟩. Occitan uses the digraph nh, the source of the same Portuguese digraph called ene-agá (lit.'en-aitch'), used thereafter by languages whose writing systems are influenced by Portuguese orthography, such as Vietnamese.[3][4] In Catalan, Hungarian and many African languages, as Swahili or Dinka, the digraph ny is used. In Albanian and some countries that used to be Yugoslavia, the digraph (Nj) is used, and sometimes, for the languages with the Cyrillic script that used to be part of Yugoslavia, uses the (Њњ) Cyrillic ligature that might be part of the official alphabet. In Czech and Slovak, /ɲ/ is represented by letter ň whilst Kashubian and Polish uses ń.

The voiced alveolo-palatal nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some oral languages. There is no dedicated symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound. If more precision is desired, it may be transcribed n̠ʲ or ɲ̟; these are essentially equivalent, since the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. There is a non-IPA letter, U+0235 ȵ LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH CURL; ȵ (⟨n⟩, plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ɕ, ʑ), which is used especially in Sinological circles.

The alveolo-palatal nasal is commonly described as palatal; it is often unclear whether a language has a true palatal or not. Many languages claimed to have a palatal nasal, such as Portuguese, actually have an alveolo-palatal nasal. This is likely true of several of the languages listed here. Some dialects of Irish as well as some non-standard dialects of Malayalam are reported to contrast alveolo-palatal and palatal nasals.[5][6]

There is also a post-palatal nasal (also called pre-velar, fronted velar etc.) in some languages. Palatal nasals are more common than the palatal stops [c, ɟ].[7]


Features of the voiced palatal nasal:


Palatal or alveolo-palatal

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
!Kung[8] [example needed] Represented by ⟨ny⟩
Albanian një [ɲə] 'one'
Amharic ዘጠኝ / zäṭäňň [zɛtʼɛɲ] 'nine'
Aranda [example needed] Alveolo-palatal and dento-alveolo-palatal.[9]
Asturian cabaña [kaˈβaɲa] 'hut' See Asturian phonology
Basque andereño [än̪d̪e̞ɾe̞ɲo̞] 'female teacher'
Bengali[10] মিঞা / miña [miɲɑ] 'mister'
Bulgarian синьо [siˈɲo] 'blue' Only occurs before ь, ю, and я. See Bulgarian phonology
Burmese[10] ညာ / nya [ɲà] 'right(-hand side)' Contrasts with the voiceless palatal nasal /ɲ̥/.
Catalan[11] any [ˈaɲ̟] 'year' Alveolo-palatal or palatal.[9] See Catalan phonology
Czech ň [kuːɲ] 'horse' May be intermediate between palatal and alveolo-palatal.[6] See Czech phonology
Dinka nyɔt [ɲɔt] 'very'
Dutch[12] oranje [oˈrɑɲə] 'orange' Not all dialects. See Dutch phonology
English Malay dialect canyon [kɛɲən] 'canyon' Common in Malay, allophone of /nj/.
French oignon [ɔ.ɲɔ̃] 'onion' See French phonology
Galician[13] viño [ˈbiɲo] 'wine' See Galician phonology
Greek πρωτοχρονιά / prōtochroniá [pro̞to̞xro̞ˈɲ̟ɐ] 'New Year's Day' Alveolo-palatal.[14] See Modern Greek phonology
Haketia[15] [ru.ha.ˈɲi] 'spiritual' In free variation with [n] when immediately before [i].[15]
Hindustani Hindi पञ्छी/पंछी/pañchī [pəɲ.t͡ʃʰiː] 'bird' Usually written in Urdu with [n], and usually with anuswar in Devanagari, written here with the dead consonant to demonstrate proper spelling. See Hindustani phonology
Urdu پنچھی / pañchī
Hungarian[16] anya [ˈɒɲɒ] 'mother' Alveolo-palatal with alveolar contact.[9] See Hungarian phonology
Italian Standard bagno [ˈbäɲːo] 'bath' Postalveolo-prepalatal.[17] See Italian phonology
Romanesco dialect niente [ˈɲːɛn̪t̪e] 'nothing'
Irish[5] inné [əˈn̠ʲeː] 'yesterday' Irish contrasts alveolo-palatal /n̠ʲ/, palatal/palatovelar /ɲ/, velar /ŋ/ and, in some dialects, palatalized alveolar /nʲ/.[18][19][20][5] See Irish phonology
Japanese[21] / niwa [ɲ̟iɰᵝa̠] 'garden' Alveolar or dento-alveolar.[9] See Japanese phonology
Khasi bse [bsɛɲ] 'snake'
Khmer ពេញ / nh [pɨɲ] 'full' See Khmer phonology
Korean 저녁 / jeonyeok [t͡ɕʌɲ̟ʌk̚] 'evening' Alveolo-palatal. See Korean phonology
Kurdish Southern یانزه / yanze [jäːɲzˠa] 'eleven' See Kurdish phonology
Latvian mākoņains [maːkuɔɲains] 'cloudy' See Latvian phonology
Macedonian чешање / češanje [ˈt͡ʃɛʃaɲɛ] 'itching' See Macedonian phonology
Malagasy[9] [example needed] Palatal.
Malay banyak / باڽـق [bäɲäʔ] 'a lot' Does not occur as a syllable-final coda. Allophone of /n/ before /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/ so /punt͡ʃak/ 'peak' is read as [puɲt͡ʃäʔ], not *[punt͡ʃäʔ]. See Malay phonology
Malayalam[22] ഞാ / ñān [ɲäːn] 'I'
Mandarin Sichuanese 女人 / ȵü3 ren2 [nʲy˨˩˦ zən˧˥] ‘women’ Alveolo-palatal
Mapudungun[23] ñachi [ɲɜˈt͡ʃɪ] 'spiced blood'
North Frisian Mooring fliinj [ˈfliːɲ] 'to fly'
Norwegian Northern[24] mann [mɑɲː] 'man' See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Northern Polonha [puˈluɲo̞] 'Poland' Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and dento-alveolar or dento-alveolo-palatal.[9] See Occitan phonology
Gascon banh [baɲ] 'bath'
Polish[25] koń [kɔɲ̟] 'horse' Alveolo-palatal. May be replaced by a nasal palatal approximant in coda position or before fricatives. See Polish phonology
Portuguese Many dialects[26] nia [ˈsõ̞n̠ʲɐ] 'Sonia' Possible realization of post-stressed /ni/ plus vowel.
Brazilian[26][27] sonhar [sõ̞ˈɲaɾ] 'to dream' Central palatal, not the same that /ʎ/ which is pre-palatal.[28] May instead be approximant[29][30] in Brazil and Africa. May be pronounced [soj̃'ŋ̚ja(ɹ)]. See Portuguese phonology
European[31] arranhar [ɐʁɐ̃ˈn̠ʲaɾ] 'to scratch' Dento-alveolo-palatal.[9]
Quechua ñuqa [ˈɲɔqɑ] 'I'
Romanian Transylvanian dialects[32] câine [ˈkɨɲe̞] 'dog' Alveolo-palatal.[32] corresponds to [n] in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[33] seinn [ʃeiɲ̟] 'sing' Alveolo-palatal. See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian[34] њој / njoj / [ɲ̟ȏ̞j] 'to her' Alveolo-palatal. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak pečeň [ˈpɛ̝t͡ʂɛ̝ɲ̟] 'liver' Alveolar.[9] See Slovak phonology
Slovene Some speakers, archaic konj [ˈkɔ̂nʲ] 'horse' See Slovene phonology
Spanish[35] español [e̞späˈɲol] 'Spanish' Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and dento-alveolar or dento-alveolo-palatal.[9] See Spanish phonology
Swahili nyama /نْيَامَ [ɲɑmɑ] 'meat'
Tamil ஞாயிறு / ñāyiru [ɲaːjiru] 'Sunday' Alveolo-palatal.[36] See Tamil phonology
Toki Pona Some speakers linja [ˈliɲ.(j)a] 'line'
Tyap nyam [ɲam] 'animal'
Ukrainian тінь / tin' [t̪ʲin̠ʲ] 'shadow' Alveolo-palatal. See Ukrainian phonology
West Frisian njonken [ˈɲoŋkən] 'next to' Phonemically /nj/. See West Frisian phonology
Vietnamese Hanoi nhanh / 𨗜 [ȵajŋ̟˧] 'agile, to run fast, vivacious' "Laminoalveolar".[37] See Vietnamese phonology
Ha Tinh nhanh / 𨗜 [ɲɛɲ˧˥˧]
Wolof ñaan / ݧَانْ‎
Wu Shanghainese 女人 / nyú nyǐnh [n̠ʲy˩˧ n̠ʲɪɲ˥˨] 'women' Alveolo-palatal
Yi / nyi [n̠ʲi˧] 'sit' Alveolo-palatal.
Zulu inyoni [iɲ̟óːni] 'bird' Alveolo-palatal.[9]


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
German Standard[38] ngig [ˈɡ̟ɛŋ̟ɪç] 'common' Allophone of /ŋ/ before and after front vowels;[38] the example also illustrates [ɡ̟]. See Standard German phonology
Lithuanian[39] men [ˈmʲæŋ̟k̟eː] 'cod' Allophone of /n/ before palatalized velars;[39] typically transcribed in IPA with ŋʲ. See Lithuanian phonology
Mapudungun[23] dañe [ˈθɐɲe̞] 'nest'
Polish[40][41] węgiel [ˈvɛŋ̟ɡ̟ʲɛl] 'coal' Allophone of /n/ before /kʲ, ɡʲ/.[40][41] See Polish phonology
Romanian[42] anchetă [äŋ̟ˈk̟e̞t̪ə] 'inquiry' Allophone of /n/ used before the palatalized allophones of /k, ɡ/.[42] Typically transcribed in IPA with ŋʲ. See Romanian phonology
Turkish renk [ˈɾeɲc] 'color' Allophone of /n/ before /c/ and /ɟ/. See Turkish phonology
Uzbek[43] ming [miŋ̟] 'thousand' Word-final allophone of /ŋ/ after front vowels.[43]
Vietnamese Hanoi nhanh / 𨗜 [ȵajŋ̟˧˧] 'agile, to run fast, vivacious' Final allophone of /ɲ/. See Vietnamese phonology
Yanyuwa[44] lhuwanyngu [l̪uwaŋ̟u] 'strip of turtle fat' Post-palatal; contrasts with post-velar [ŋ̠].[44]

See also


  1. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. xviii.
  2. ^ Heselwood (2013), p. 113.
  3. ^ "Does the current Vietnamese alphabet/script derive from Portuguese or French?". Quora. Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  4. ^ Michaud, Alexis (2010-01-01). ""The origin of the peculiarities of the Vietnamese alphabet": translation of an article by André-Georges Haudricourt". Mon-Khmer Studies.
  5. ^ a b c Ní Chasaide (1999).
  6. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 33.
  7. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 163.
  8. ^ Doke (1925), p. ?.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Recasens (2013), p. 11.
  10. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 111.
  11. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 53.
  12. ^ Gussenhoven (1992), p. 46.
  13. ^ Regueira (1996), p. 119.
  14. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 20.
  15. ^ a b Cunha (2009), pp. 42, 43.
  16. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 164.
  17. ^ Recasens et al. (1993), p. 222.
  18. ^ Quiggin (1906).
  19. ^ de Bhaldraithe (1966).
  20. ^ Mhac an Fhailigh (1968).
  21. ^ Okada (1999), p. 118.
  22. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 165.
  23. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013), p. 88.
  24. ^ a b Skjekkeland (1997), pp. 105–107.
  25. ^ Jassem (2003), pp. 103–104.
  26. ^ a b Considerações sobre o status das palato-alveolares em português Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine, p. 12.
  27. ^ Aragão (2009), p. 168.
  28. ^ Cagliari 1974, p. 77. Citation:Em português, o [ɲ] se aproxima mais do [ŋ] do que do [n]; por isso será classificado como "central" e não como pré-palatal. O [ʎ] em muitas línguas se realiza como "central"; em português, [ʎ] tende a [lj] e se realiza sempre na região prepalatal.
  29. ^ "Portuguese vinho: diachronic evidence for biphonemic nasal vowels" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  30. ^ Mattos e Silva (1991), p. 73.
  31. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  32. ^ a b Pop (1938), p. 30.
  33. ^ Oftedal (1956), p. ?.
  34. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  35. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 255.
  36. ^ Keane, Elinor (2004). "Tamil". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 34 (1): 111–116. doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549.
  37. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 460.
  38. ^ a b Krech et al. (2009), pp. 49, 97.
  39. ^ a b Ambrazas et al. (1997), p. 36.
  40. ^ a b Gussmann (1974), pp. 107, 111, 114.
  41. ^ a b Ostaszewska & Tambor (2000), pp. 35, 41, 86.
  42. ^ a b Sarlin (2014), p. 17.
  43. ^ a b Sjoberg (1963), p. 12.
  44. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), pp. 34–35.