Ą (minuscule: ą) is a letter in the Polish, Kashubian, Lithuanian, Creek, Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Osage, Hocąk, Mescalero, Gwich'in, Tutchone, and Elfdalian alphabets. It is formed from the letter a and an ogonek and usually, except for modern Lithuanian and Polish, denotes a nasal a sound.


In Polish and Kashubian, ą is right after a in the alphabet but never appears at the beginning of a word. Originally ą was a nasal a but in modern times, its pronunciation has shifted to a nasal o sound. The letter doesn't simply have one determined pronunciation, but most often it will be pronounced /ɔw̃/, or just simply /ɔ/ followed by a nasal consonant with a place of articulation that appears in the Polish language. Therefore, ą will sometimes be pronounced as /ɔn/, /ɔm/, /ɔŋ/, /ɔɳ/, /ɔɲ/.

Unlike French but rather like Portuguese ão, nasal vowels in Polish are asynchronous: they are pronounced as an oral vowel + a nasal semivowel [ɔw̃] or a nasal vowel + a nasal semivowel. For the sake of simplicity, it is sometimes represented as /ɔ̃/:

  • obowiązek ("duty", "obligation"), pronounced [ɔbɔˈvjɔw̃zɛk]
  • robią ("they are making"), [ˈrɔbjɔw̃]
  • wciąż ("still"), [ˈftɕɔw̃ʂ]

Before all stops and affricates, it is pronounced as an oral vowel + nasal consonant, with /ɔn/ appearing before most consonants, and /ɔm/ appears before p or b:

  • kąpać ("to bathe") is pronounced [ˈkɔmpatɕ]
  • pająk ("spider"), [ˈpajɔŋk]
  • bądź (imperative "be"), as in Bądź cierpliwy! ("Be patient!"), [ˈbɔɲtɕ]
  • oglądając ("(by) watching"), [ɔɡlɔnˈdajɔnts]

Loss of all nasal quality is rare with ą, occurring only before ł, thus, zajął [ˈzajɔw].

In dialects of some regions, ą in final position is also pronounced as /ɔm/, thus, robią is occasionally pronounced as [ˈrɔbjɔm].


Polish ą evolved from long nasal a of medieval Polish, which developed into a short nasal o in the modern language. The medieval vowel, along with its short counterpart, evolved in turn from the merged nasal *ę and *ǫ of Late Proto-Slavic.

Early Proto-Slavic *em/*en/*im/*in and *am/*an/*um/*un
Late Proto-Slavic /ẽ/ and /õ/, transcribed ⟨ę⟩ and ⟨ǫ⟩
Medieval Polish short and long /ã/, sometimes written approx. ⟨ø⟩
Modern Polish short /ã//ɛw̃/, /ɛn/, /ɛm/, written ⟨ę⟩

long /ã//ɔw̃/, /ɔn/, /ɔm/, written ⟨ą⟩

Another explanation is connected to the adoption of the Old Czech-style orthography of the Latin alphabet to write Polish at the turn of the 16th century. In Poland-Lithuania, Latin still dominated in writing in the Kingdom of Poland, and the Cyrillic-based vernacular of Ruthenian had been in official use in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since the 13th century. In pronunciation, the Church Cyrillic letter big yus (Ѫ ѫ) corresponds to the pronunciation of the Polish ą. However, it is little yus (Ѧ ѧ) (phonetically similar to ę that is strikingly similar to the Latin alphabet initial letter (A, a) plus the ogonek. Some believe that the letter gave the beginning to the diacritic of ogonek, resulting in the letter ą for denoting the nasal o, when it logically should have been rather ǫ than ą. When the ogonek had already been in place as the diacritic for marking nasality in vowels, it was appended to e, resulting in ę for nasal e.


The letter often alternates with ę in an umlaut-like manner:

  • "tooth": ząbzęby ("teeth"),
    "thousand": tysiąctysięcy ("thousands"),
    "snake": wążwęże ("snakes")
  • "husband" in nominative: mążz mężem ("with husband", in instrumental case)
  • "weight": ciężarciążyć ("to weigh down, to be a burden"),
    "month": miesiącmiesięczny ("monthly"),
    "a judge": sędziasądzić ("to judge, think")
  • "row" in nominative: rządcztery razy z rzędu ("four times in a row", genitive case)

However, in words derived from rząd ("government"), the vowel does not change. Thus, rządu (genitive of rząd) retains the ą, e.g., rozporządzenie rządu ("government's ordinance")

Audio examples


In modern Lithuanian, it is no longer nasal and is now pronounced as a long a. It is the second letter of the Lithuanian alphabet called a nosinė (nasal a).

The letter is most often found at the end of the noun to construct an ending of accusative case, as in aslą [aːslaː], the accusative of asla (ground, floor); both a and ą in aslą are pronounced [aː] (a long a). Thus, ą is used to distinguish between the transcription of accusative and the nominative cases of the noun asla.

It is also used when converting present tense verbs into participles, e.g., (matąs (somebody who is seeing (matyti) right now).

Nasal an/am forms are now pronounced [aː], as in sąrašas (list) and san-grąža (turnover, return).

In some cases, ą, ę and į (but never ė) may be used in different forms interchangeably, as in tąsa (extension) - tęsia (extends) - tįsoti (to lie extended). Finally, some verbs have it in the middle of a word but only in the present tense, e.g., (bąla (is getting white), but not pabalo (has become white).[1]

The letter can also be found at the beginning of several words, e.g., ąsotis [a:so:tis] (jug).

The Americas

The ogonek in European languages is attached to the right leg of A.
In Native American languages, it's under the middle of A.

In some indigenous languages of the Americas, the letter denotes a nasal a sound:


The Elfdalian alphabet contains the letters that occur in the Swedish alphabet as well as various letters with ogonek to denote nasality. Ą and ą denote a nasal a sound.

Reconstructed language

Scholars who have reconstructed the Proto-Germanic language (the ancestor of all modern Germanic languages, spoken c. 500 BC – AD 500) use the letter ą to denote a nasal vowel.

Computing codes

character Ą ą
character encoding decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 260 0104 261 0105
UTF-8 196 132 C4 84 196 133 C4 85
Numeric character reference Ą Ą ą ą
CP 775 181 B5 208 D0
Windows-1250 165 A5 185 B9
ISO-8859-13 and Windows-1257 192 C0 224 E0
ISO-8859-2 and ISO-8859-4 161 A1 177 B1
Mac Central European 132 84 136 88

See also


  1. ^ http://algdas.blogas.lt/1140-1140.html
Ansuz (rune)

Ansuz is the conventional name given to the a-rune of the Elder Futhark, ᚨ.

The name is based on Proto-Germanic *ansuz, denoting a deity belonging to the principal pantheon in Germanic paganism.

The shape of the rune is likely from Neo-Etruscan a (), like Latin A ultimately from Phoenician aleph.

Code page 1117

Code page 1117 (also known as CP 1117,IBM 01117) is a code page used under DOS to write the Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian languages.

Code page 912

Code page 912 (also known as CP 912, IBM 00912) is a code page used under IBM AIX and DOS to write the Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, and Sorbian languages. It is an extension of ISO/IEC 8859-2.

ISO/IEC 8859

ISO/IEC 8859 is a joint ISO and IEC series of standards for 8-bit character encodings. The series of standards consists of numbered parts, such as ISO/IEC 8859-1, ISO/IEC 8859-2, etc. There are 15 parts, excluding the abandoned ISO/IEC 8859-12. The ISO working group maintaining this series of standards has been disbanded.

ISO/IEC 8859 parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 were originally Ecma International standard ECMA-94.

Lithuanian Braille

Lithuanian Braille is the braille alphabet of the Lithuanian language.

Lithuanian orthography

Lithuanian orthography employs a Latin alphabet of 32 letters, two of which denote sounds not native to the Lithuanian language. Additionally, it uses five digraphs.

Mac OS Central European encoding

Mac OS Central European is a character encoding used on Apple Macintosh computers to represent texts in Central European and Southeastern European languages that use the Latin script. This encoding is also known as Code Page 10029. This codepage contains diacritical letters that ISO 8859-2 does not have, and vice versa (This encoding supports Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian while ISO 8859-2 supports Albanian, Croatian and Romanian).

Middle Polish language

Middle Polish (Polish: język średniopolski) is the period in the history of the Polish language between the 16th and 18th centuries. It evolved from Old Polish, and gave rise to the Modern Polish.In 16th century, Polish poet Jan Kochanowski proposed a set of orthographic rules and an alphabet of 48 letters and digraphs:

a á à ą b b́ c ć ç d θ θ´ θ˙ é è ę f g h ch i k l ł m ḿ n ń o ó p ṕ q r ŗ ſ σ ß t v w ẃ x y z ź ƶ.

Letters ç, θ, θ´, θ˙, ŗ, σ, ß corresponded to Modern Polish cz, dz, dź, dż, rz, ś, sz, respectively.


In phonetics, nasalization (or nasalisation) is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that some air escapes through the nose during the production of the sound by the mouth. An archetypal nasal sound is [n].

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, nasalization is indicated by printing a tilde diacritic U+0303 ◌̃ COMBINING TILDE (HTML ̃) above the symbol for the sound to be nasalized: [ã] is the nasalized equivalent of [a], and [ṽ] is the nasalized equivalent of [v]. A subscript diacritic [ą], called an ogonek or nosinė, is sometimes seen, especially when the vowel bears tone marks that would interfere with the superscript tilde. For example, [ą̄ ą́ ą̀ ą̂ ą̌] are more legible in most fonts than [ã̄ ã́ ã̀ ã̂ ã̌].

Navajo Braille

Navajo Braille is the braille alphabet of the Navajo language. It uses a subset of the letters of Unified English Braille, along with the punctuation and formatting of that standard. There are no contractions.

Additional letters, beyond those of English braille, are ⠹ for ł, ⠄ for ' (glottal stop and ejective consonants), the French vowels with grave accents for the Navajo vowels with acute accents (high tone), and ⠨ for ogonek on the following vowel (nasal vowels, e.g. ⠨⠁ for ą, ⠨⠷ for ą́). ⠋ is only used for the digit 6, as the letter 'f' does not exist in the Navajo alphabet.

In numerical order by decade, the letters are:

The alphabet was created by Carol Green and adopted by the Navajo Nation in 2015.


The ogonek (Polish: [ɔˈɡɔnɛk], "little tail", the diminutive of ogon; Lithuanian: nosinė, "nasal") is a diacritic hook placed under the lower right corner of a vowel in the Latin alphabet used in several European languages, and directly under a vowel in several Native American languages. It is also placed on the lower right corner of consonants in some Latin transcriptions of various indigenous languages of the Caucasus mountains.An ogonek can also be attached to the top of a vowel in Old Norse-Icelandic to show length or vowel affection. For example, in Old Norse, ǫ represents the Old Norwegian vowel [ɔ], that in Old Icelandic merges with ø ‹ö›.

Polish Braille

Polish Braille (alfabet Braille'a) is a braille alphabet for writing the Polish language. It is based on international braille conventions, with the following extensions:

That is, for letters of the first and second decade of the braille script (a, c, e, l, n, s), a diacritic is written as dot 6, and any dot 3 is removed (or, equivalently, is moved to position 6)—that is, the base letter is moved to the fourth decade. For letters of the third decade (u, y, z), which already have a dot 6, the derivation is a mirror image. Ó is derived from u, which is how it is pronounced (also, the mirror image of o is already taken). Several of these conventions are used in Lithuanian Braille.

Polish alphabet

The Polish alphabet is the script of the Polish language, the basis for the Polish system of orthography. It is based on the Latin alphabet but includes certain letters with diacritics: the kreska or acute accent (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź); the overdot or kropka (ż); the tail or ogonek (ą, ę); and the stroke (ł). The letters q, v and x, which are used only in foreign words, are frequently not considered part of the Polish alphabet. However, prior to the standardization of the Polish language, the letter "x" was sometimes used in place of "ks".Modified variations of the Polish alphabet are used for writing Silesian and Kashubian, whereas the Sorbian languages use a mixture of the Polish and Czech orthographies.

Polish language

Polish (język polski [jɛ̃zɨk ˈpɔlskʲi] (listen), polszczyzna, or simply polski) is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.

Polish is written with the standard Polish alphabet, which has 9 additions to the letters of the basic Latin script (ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż). Polish is closely related to Czech and Slovak. The language currently has the largest number of speakers of the West Slavic group and is also the second most widely spoken Slavic language.Historically, Polish was known to be lingua franca, important both diplomatically and academically in Central and Eastern Europe. Today, Polish is spoken by over 38.5 million people as their first language in Poland. It is also spoken as a second language in northern Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, western parts of Belarus and Ukraine, and central-western Lithuania. Because of the emigration from Poland during different time periods, most notably after World War II, millions of Polish speakers can be found in countries such as Israel, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States and New Zealand.

Polish orthography

Polish orthography is the system of writing the Polish language. The language is written using the Polish alphabet, which derives from the Latin alphabet, but includes some additional letters with diacritics. The orthography is mostly phonetic, or rather phonemic – the written letters (or combinations of them) correspond in a consistent manner to the sounds, or rather the phonemes, of spoken Polish. For detailed information about the system of phonemes, see Polish phonology.

West Germanic gemination

West Germanic gemination was a sound change that took place in all West Germanic languages around the 3rd or 4th century AD. It affected consonants directly followed by /j/, which were generally lengthened or geminated in that position. Because of Sievers' law, only consonants immediately after a short vowel were affected by the process.


Windows-1250 is a code page used under Microsoft Windows to represent texts in Central European and Eastern European languages that use Latin script, such as Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Slovene, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian (Latin script), Romanian (before 1993 spelling reform) and Albanian. It may also be used with the German language; German-language texts encoded with Windows-1250 and Windows-1252 are identical.

In modern applications UTF-8 or UTF-16 is a preferred encoding; 0.1% of all web pages use Windows-1250 since August 2017.Windows-1250 is similar to ISO-8859-2 and has all the printable characters it has and more. However a few of them are rearranged (unlike Windows-1252, which keeps all printable characters from ISO-8859-1 in the same place). Most of the rearrangements seem to have been done to keep characters shared with Windows-1252 in the same place as in Windows-1252 but three of the characters moved (Ą, Ľ, ź) cannot be explained this way, since those do not occur in Windows-1252 and could have been put in the same positions as in ISO-8859-2 if ˇ had been put e.g. at 9F. The part that differs from ISO-8859-2 is compared with Windows-1252 in the table below:

Note: The shaded positions at A2, A3, AA, AF, B2, B3, BA, BD and BF are the same as in ISO-8859-2. Positions which are identical in Windows-1252 and Windows-1250 are not shown.


Ę (minuscule: ę; Polish: e z ogonkiem, "e with a little tail"; Lithuanian: e nosinė, "nasal e") is a letter in the Polish, Lithuanian and Dalecarlian alphabets. It is used in Navajo to represent the nasal vowel [ẽ]. In Latin, Irish, and Old Norse palaeography, it is known as e caudata ("tailed e").

Alphabets (list)
Letters (list)
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