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N, or n, is the fourteenth
letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
in the
modern English alphabet Modern may refer to: History *Modern history ** Early Modern period ** Modern age, Late Modern period *** 18th century *** 19th century *** 20th century ** Contemporary history * Moderns, a faction of Freemasonry that existed in the 18th century ...
and the
ISO basic Latin alphabet The ISO basic Latin alphabet is a Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that uses Letter (alphabet), letters of the Latin script. The 21-letter archaic Latin alphabet and the 23-lette ...
. Its name in English is ''en'' (pronounced ), plural ''ens''.


History

One of the most common
hieroglyphs A hieroglyph (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...
,
snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivore, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other Squamata, squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping Scale (zoology), scales. Many species of snakes ...

snake
, was used in
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
writing to stand for a sound like the English , because the Egyptian word for "snake" was ''djet''. It is speculated by many that
Semitic people Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family ...
working in Egypt adapted hieroglyphics to create the first
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

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 Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also

* Phoenix (mythology) * Phoenicia (disambiguation) {{disambiguation Language an ...

Phoenician
,
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
,
Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long history, Aramaic went thr ...
and
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
alphabets is ''
nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...
'', which means "
fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...

fish
" in some of these languages. The sound value of the letter was —as in
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
,
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
and modern languages.


Use in writing systems

represents a
dental Dental may refer to: * Having to do with teeth * Dentistry, a medical profession dealing with teeth * Dental consonant, in linguistics * Dental Records, an independent UK record label * Dental_hygienist, Dental Hygienist, a person who cleans teeth ...
or
alveolar nasal The voiced alveolar nasal is a type of al sound used in numerous spoken s. The symbol in the that represents , , and is , and the equivalent symbol is n. The vast majority of languages have either an alveolar or dental nasal. There are a f ...

alveolar nasal
in virtually all languages that use the Latin alphabet, and in the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic transcription, phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standa ...
. A common
digraph Digraph may refer to: * Digraph (orthography), a pair of characters used together to represent a single sound, such as "sh" in English * Orthographic ligature, the joining of two letters as a single glyph, such as "æ" * Digraph (computing), a grou ...
with is , which represents a
velar nasal The voiced velar nasal, also known as agma, from the Greek word for 'fragment', is a type of consonantal sound used in some Speech communication, spoken languages. It is the sound of ''ng'' in English ''sing'' as well as ''n'' before velar conson ...

velar nasal
in a variety of languages, usually positioned word-finally in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
. Often, before a
velar plosive In phonetics and phonology, a velar stop is a type of consonantal sound, made with the back of the tongue in contact with the soft palate (also known as the velum, hence velar consonant, velar), held tightly enough to block the passage of air (hence ...
(as in ''ink'' or ''jungle''), alone represents a
velar nasal The voiced velar nasal, also known as agma, from the Greek word for 'fragment', is a type of consonantal sound used in some Speech communication, spoken languages. It is the sound of ''ng'' in English ''sing'' as well as ''n'' before velar conson ...

velar nasal
. In Italian and French, represents a
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
. The
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
and
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...
spelling for this sound is , while
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
,
Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part ...
, and a few other languages use the letter . In English, is generally silent when it is preceded by an at the end of words, as in ''hymn''; however, it is pronounced in this combination when occurring word medially, as in ''hymnal''. On the other hand, other consonants are often silent when they precede an at the beginning of an English word. Examples include ''gnome'', ''knife'', ''mnemonic'', and ''pneumonia''. is the sixth-most common letter and the second-most commonly used
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of d ...
in the
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
(after ).


Other uses

In
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
, the italic form ''n'' is a particularly common symbol for a variable quantity which represents a
natural number In mathematics, the natural numbers are those numbers used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' coins on the table") and total order, ordering (as in "this is the ''third'' largest city in the country"). In common mathematical terminology, w ...
. The set of natural numbers is referred to as \mathbb.


Related characters


Descendants and related characters in the Latin alphabet

*N with
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s: Ň ň Ǹ ǹ Ṅ ṅ Ṇ ṇ Ṉ ṉ Ṋ ṋ Ꞥ ꞥ
N with palatal hook, followed by eng, a palatal nasal and a retroflex n for comparison. The palatal hook () is a type of hook diacritic formerly used in the International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an ...
* Phonetic alphabet symbols related to N (the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic transcription, phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standa ...
only uses lowercase, but uppercase forms are used in some other writing systems): **Ŋ ŋ : Latin letter eng, which represents a
velar nasal The voiced velar nasal, also known as agma, from the Greek word for 'fragment', is a type of consonantal sound used in some Speech communication, spoken languages. It is the sound of ''ng'' in English ''sing'' as well as ''n'' before velar conson ...

velar nasal
in the IPA **Ɲ ɲ : Latin letter Ɲ, which represents a
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
or an
alveolo-palatal In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical ...
nasal in the IPA **n : Superscript small n, which represents a
nasal release In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical pr ...
in the IPA **Ƞ ƞ : Latin letter Ƞ (encoded in Unicode as "N with long right leg"), a mostly obsolete letter used to transcribe various nasal sounds ** ɳ : Latin letter n with a hook, which represents a
retroflex nasal The voiced retroflex nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fr ...

retroflex nasal
in the IPA ** ᶯ : Modifier letter small n with retroflex hook ** : Modifier letter small n with left hook **ɴ : Small capital N, which represents a
uvular nasal The voiced uvular nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front ...

uvular nasal
in the IPA **ᶰ : Modifier letter small capital N *
Uralic Phonetic Alphabet The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet (UPA) or Finno-Ugric transcription system is a phonetic transcription Phonetic transcription (also known as phonetic script or phonetic notation) is the visual representation of speech sounds (or phones) by means o ...
-specific symbols related to N: ** ** ** ** *n : Subscript small n was used in the Uralic Phonetic Alphabet prior to its formal standardization in 1902 *
Teuthonista Teuthonista is a phonetic transcription Phonetic transcription (also known as phonetic script or phonetic notation) is the visual representation of speech sounds (or phones) by means of symbols. The most common type of phonetic transcription use ...
phonetic transcription system uses and * ȵ : N with curl is used in Sino-Tibetanist linguistics *Ꞑ ꞑ :
N with descender Ꞑ, ꞑ (''N with descender'') is a letter of the Latin alphabet, used in several Yañalif, New Turkic Alphabet orthographies in 1930s (for instance, Tatar alphabet), as well as in the 1990s orthographies invented in attempts to restore the Latin ...


Ancestors and siblings in other alphabets

*𐤍 :
Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family currently present in West Asia, North and East Africa, and Malta. Semitic may also refer to: Religions * Abrahamic religions ** ...

Semitic
letter
Nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...
, from which the following symbols originally derive **Ν ν : Greek letter Nu, from which the following symbols originally derive *** :
Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century * Coptic alphabet, th ...

Coptic
letter Ne ***Н н :
Cyrillic The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
letter En *** 𐌍 :
Old ItalicOld Italic may refer to: * Old Italic alphabet * Old Italic (Unicode block) * Ancient Italic peoples * Early (pre-Roman) Italic languages * ''Vetus Latina'', the "Old Latin" translation of the Christian Bible, occasionally referred to as "Old Italic" ...
N, which is the ancestor of modern Latin N *** :
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...

Gothic
letter nauþs


Derived signs, symbols and abbreviations

*₦ :
Nigerian Naira The Naira (sign A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder is ...


Computing codes

: 1


Other representations


References


External links

* * {{Latin alphabet, N} ISO basic Latin letters