N

N (named en /ɛn/[1]) is the fourteenth letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.

N
N n
(See below)
Writing cursive forms of N
Usage
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabet ic and Logographic
Language of originLatin language
Phonetic usage[n]
[ŋ]
[ɲ]
[ɳ]
[nˠ]
[]
[◌̃]
/ɛn/
Unicode valueU+004E, U+006E
Alphabetical position14
History
Development
Time period~-700 to present
Descendants •
 • Ƞ
 • Ŋ
 • ɧ
 • ʩ
Variations(See below)
Other
Other letters commonly used withn(x), nh, ng, ny

History

Egyptian hieroglyph
Phoenician
Nun
Etruscan
N
Greek
Nu
D
PhoenicianN-01.svg EtruscanN-01.svg Nu uc lc

One of the most common hieroglyphs, snake, was used in Egyptian writing to stand for a sound like the English ⟨J⟩, because the Egyptian word for "snake" was djet. It is speculated by many that Semitic people working in Egypt adapted hieroglyphics to create the first alphabet, and that they used the same snake symbol to represent N, because their word for "snake" may have begun with that sound. However, the name for the letter in the Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic alphabets is nun, which means "fish" in some of these languages. The sound value of the letter was /n/—as in Greek, Etruscan, Latin and modern languages.

Use in writing systems

⟨n⟩ represents a dental or alveolar nasal in virtually all languages that use the Latin alphabet, and in the International Phonetic Alphabet. A common digraph with ⟨n⟩ is ⟨ng⟩, which represents a velar nasal in a variety of languages, usually positioned word-finally in English. Often, before a velar plosive (as in ink or jungle), ⟨n⟩ alone represents a velar nasal. In Italian and French, ⟨gn⟩ represents a palatal nasal /ɲ/. The Portuguese and Vietnamese spelling for this sound is ⟨nh⟩, while Spanish, Breton, and a few other languages use the letter ⟨ñ⟩. In English, ⟨n⟩ is generally silent when it is preceded by an ⟨m⟩ at the end of words, as in hymn; however, it is pronounced in this combination when occurring word medially, as in hymnal.

⟨n⟩ is the sixth most common letter and the second-most commonly used consonant in the English language (after ⟨t⟩).[2]

Other uses

In mathematics, the italic form n is a particularly common symbol for a variable quantity which represents an integer.

Related characters

Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet

  • N with diacritics: Ń ń Ñ ñ Ň ň Ǹ ǹ Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ Ņ ņ Ṉ ṉ Ṋ ṋ Ꞥ ꞥ ᵰ[3] [4]
  • Phonetic alphabet symbols related to N (the International Phonetic Alphabet only uses lowercase, but uppercase forms are used in some other writing systems):
  • Uralic Phonetic Alphabet-specific symbols related to N:[6]
    • U+1D0E LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL REVERSED N
    • U+1D3A MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL N
    • U+1D3B MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL REVERSED N
    • U+1D51 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL ENG
  • ₙ : Subscript small n was used in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet prior to its formal standardization in 1902[7]
  • Teuthonista phonetic transcription system uses U+AB3B LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH CROSSED-TAIL and U+AB3C LATIN SMALL LETTER ENG WITH CROSSED-TAIL[8]
  • ȵ : N with curl is used in Sino-Tibetanist linguistics[9]
  • Ꞑ ꞑ : N with descender

Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets

  • 𐤍 : Semitic letter Nun, from which the following symbols originally derive
    • Ν ν : Greek letter Nu, from which the following symbols originally derive
      • Ⲛ ⲛ : Coptic letter Ne
      • Н н : Cyrillic letter En
      • 𐌍 : Old Italic N, which is the ancestor of modern Latin N
      • 𐌽 : Gothic letter nauþs

Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations

Computing codes

Character N n
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER N     LATIN SMALL LETTER N
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 78 U+004E 110 U+006E
UTF-8 78 4E 110 6E
Numeric character reference N N n n
EBCDIC family 213 D5 149 95
ASCII 1 78 4E 110 6E
1 Also for encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations

NATO phonetic Morse code
November –·
ICS November Semaphore November Sign language N ⠝
Signal flag Flag semaphore American manual alphabet (ASL fingerspelling) Braille
dots-1345

References

  1. ^ "N" Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989); Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993); "en," op. cit.
  2. ^ English Letter Frequency
  3. ^ Constable, Peter (2003-09-30). "L2/03-174R2: Proposal to Encode Phonetic Symbols with Middle Tilde in the UCS" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b c Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).
  5. ^ Constable, Peter (2004-04-19). "L2/04-132 Proposal to add additional phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).
  6. ^ Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF).
  7. ^ Ruppel, Klaas; Aalto, Tero; Everson, Michael (2009-01-27). "L2/09-028: Proposal to encode additional characters for the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet" (PDF).
  8. ^ Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "L2/11-202: Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF).
  9. ^ Cook, Richard; Everson, Michael (2001-09-20). "L2/01-347: Proposal to add six phonetic characters to the UCS" (PDF).

External links

  • The dictionary definition of n at Wiktionary

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