Palatal nasal

Palatal nasal
Palatal nasal
IPA number 118
Entity (decimal) ɲ
Unicode (hex) U+0272
Kirshenbaum n^

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The 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, 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 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.

Palatal nasals are more common than palatal stops ([c] or [ɟ]).[1] In Spanish and languages whose writing systems are influenced by Spanish orthography, this sound is represented with the letter eñe (ñ).

The symbol ɲ is used to represent an alveolo-palatal nasal in some languages, since there is no IPA symbol with the latter meaning.



Features of the palatal nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is stop, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
  • Its place of articulation is palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate.
  • Its phonation is voiced, which means the vocal cords vibrate during the articulation.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Albanian një [ɲə] 'one'
Basque andereño [an̪d̪eɾeɲo] 'teacher (f)'
Catalan[2] any [ˈaɲ] 'year' Alveolo-palatal. See Catalan phonology
Chinese Wu 女人/gniugnin [ɲy˩˧ɲiɲ˥˨] 'woman'
Czech ň [kuːɲ] 'horse' See Czech phonology
Dinka nyɔt [ɲɔt] 'very'
Dutch[3] oranje [oˈrɑɲə] 'orange' Not all dialects. See Dutch phonology
French[4] agneau [ˈaɲo] 'lamb' See French phonology
Galician leña [ˈleɲa] 'firewood'
Greek πρωτοχρονιά/prōtochronia [pro̞to̞xro̞ˈɲa] 'New Year's Day' See Modern Greek phonology
Hungarian[5] anya [ɒɲɒ] 'mother' See Hungarian phonology
Indonesian banyak [ˈbaɲaʔ] 'a lot'
Italian[6] bagno [baɲɲo] 'bath' See Italian phonology
Japanese[7] /niwa [n̠ʲiw͍a] 'garden' Alveolo-palatal. See Japanese phonology
Korean 고니/goni [ɡ̊on̠ʲi] 'swan' Alveolo-palatal. See Korean phonology
Latvian makoņains [makoɲains] 'cloudy'
Malay banyak [baɲaʔ] 'a lot'
Macedonian чешање/češanje [ t͡ʃɛʃaɲə] 'itch'
Malayalam[8] [ɲäːn] 'I'
North Frisian Mooring fliinj [fliːɲ] 'to fly'
Norwegian Northern and central dialects[9] mann [mɑɲː] 'man' See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Northern and Southern Polonha [puˈluɲo] 'Poland'
Gascon banh [baɲ] 'bath'
Polish[10] koń About this sound [kɔɲ] 'horse' Usually alveolo-palatal. See Polish phonology
Portuguese[11] arranhar [ɐʁɐˈɲaɾ] 'to scratch' Often replaced by a nasal glide in Brazil. See Portuguese phonology
Quechua ñuqa [ˈɲɔqɑ] 'I'
Scottish Gaelic[12] seinn [ʃeiɲ] 'sing'
Serbo-Croatian коњ/konj [koɲ][tone?] 'horse' See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak pečeň [ˈpɛtʃɛɲ] 'liver'
Spanish[13] enseñar [ẽ̞nse̞ˈɲar] 'to teach' See Spanish phonology
Ukrainian тінь [tiɲ] 'shadow' See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese [14] nhíp [ɲip˧ˀ˥] 'tweezers' See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian Standard njonken [ɲoŋkən] 'next to'

See also



  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1-2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223 
  • Fougeron, Cecile; Smith, Caroline L (1993), "Illustrations of the IPA:French", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (2): 73–76, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004874 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103–107, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001191 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628 
  • Skjekkeland, Martin (1997), Dei norske dialektane: Tradisjonelle særdrag i jamføring med skriftmåla, Høyskoleforlaget (Norwegian Academic Press) 
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232 

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