Palatal Nasal
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Palatal Nasal
Palatal nasal
IPA Number118
Entity (decimal)ɲ
Unicode (hex)U+0272
Braille? (braille pattern dots-123456)
Audio sample
Alveolo-palatal nasal

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 ⟨?⟩,[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 ⟨?⟩ is visually similar to ⟨?⟩, the symbol for the retroflex nasal, which has a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem, and to ⟨?⟩, 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⟩, denoting palatal.[2] In French and Italian orthographies the sound is represented by the digraph ⟨gn⟩. In Spanish and languages whose writing systems are influenced by Spanish orthography, it is represented by the letter ⟨ñ⟩, called eñe ("enye"). Occitan uses the digraph ⟨nh⟩, the source of the same Portuguese digraph called ene-agá, used thereafter by languages whose writing systems are influenced by Portuguese orthography, such as Vietnamese[]. In Catalan, Hungarian and many African languages, as Swahili or Dinka, the digraph ⟨ny⟩ is used.

The 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 ⟨n⟩ or ⟨⟩; 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 ⟨?⟩ (⟨n⟩, plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ⟨?, ?⟩), 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.[3][4]

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, ?].[5]


Features of the voiced palatal nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Because 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.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Palatal or alveolo-palatal

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
!Kung[6] [example needed] -- -- Represented by ⟨ny⟩
Albanian një [] 'one'
Aranda [example needed] -- -- Alveolo-palatal and dento-alveolo-palatal.[7]
Basque andereño [än?d?eeo?] 'female teacher'
Bengali[8] [tl] 'area' Contrasts with the voiceless palatal nasal //. See Bengali phonology
Burmese[8] [?à] 'right(-hand side)' Contrasts with the voiceless palatal nasal //.
Catalan[9] any ['a] 'year' Alveolo-palatal or palatal.[7] See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin / nyü3 ren2 [?y? n] 'woman' Alveolo-palatal
Sichuanese / nyü3 ren2 [?y z?n] 'woman' Alveolo-palatal
Wu / Shanghai dialect / gniugnin [?yi] 'woman' Alveolo-palatal
Czech k?? [ku:?] 'horse' May be intermediate between palatal and alveolo-palatal.[4] See Czech phonology
Dinka ny?t [t] 'very'
Dutch[10] oranje [o'r] 'orange' Not all dialects. See Dutch phonology
French hargneux [ar?ø] 'belligerent' See French phonology
Galician[11] viño ['bi?o] 'wine' See Galician phonology
Greek ? / pr?tochroniá [pro?to?xro?'] 'New Year's Day' Alveolo-palatal.[12] See Modern Greek phonology
Hindustani Hindi [?jdn] 'consonant' See Hindustani phonology
Hungarian[13] anya ['] 'mother' Alveolo-palatal with alveolar contact.[7] See Hungarian phonology
Italian Standard bagno ['bä?:o] 'bath' Postalveolo-prepalatal.[14] See Italian phonology
Romanesco dialect niente ['?:?n?t?e] 'nothing'
Irish[3] inné [?'ne:] 'yesterday' Irish contrasts alveolo-palatal /n/, palatal/palatovelar /?/, velar /?/ and, in some dialects, palatalized alveolar /n?/.[15][16][17][3] See Irish phonology
Japanese[18] ? / niwa [ia?] 'garden' Alveolar or dento-alveolar.[7] See Japanese phonology
Khasi bse [bs] 'snake'
Korean / jeonyeok [tk?] 'evening' Alveolo-palatal. See Korean phonology
Latvian m?ko?ains [ma:kuains] 'cloudy' See Latvian phonology
Macedonian ??? ['t?a] 'itching' See Macedonian phonology
Malagasy[7] [example needed] -- -- Palatal.
Malay banyak [bä?ä?'] 'a lot' Does not occur at the end of a word.
Malayalam[19] ? [?ä:n] 'I'
Mapudungun[20] ñachi ['t] 'spiced blood'
North Frisian Mooring fliinj ['fli:?] 'to fly'
Norwegian Northern[21] mann [m:] 'man' See Norwegian phonology
Occitan Northern Polonha [pu'lu?o?] 'Poland' Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and dento-alveolar or dento-alveolo-palatal.[7] See Occitan phonology
Gascon banh [ba?] 'bath'
Polish[22] ko? 'horse' Alveolo-palatal. May be replaced by a nasal palatal approximant in coda position or before fricatives. See Polish phonology
Portuguese Many dialects[23] nia ['sõ?n] 'Sonia' Possible realization of post-stressed /ni/ plus vowel.
Brazilian[23][24] sonha ['sõ] 'it dreams' Central palatal, not the same that which is pre-palatal.[25] May instead be approximant[26][11] in Brazil and Africa. See Portuguese phonology
European[27] arranhar [?'na?] 'to scratch' Dento-alveolo-palatal.[7]
Quechua ñuqa ['q?] 'I'
Romanian Transylvanian dialects[28] câine ['ke?] 'dog' Alveolo-palatal.[28] corresponds to in standard Romanian. See Romanian phonology
Scottish Gaelic[29] seinn [?ei] 'sing' Alveolo-palatal. See Scottish Gaelic phonology
Serbo-Croatian[30] ? / njoj [?j] 'to her' Alveolo-palatal. See Serbo-Croatian phonology
Slovak pe?e? ['pt] 'liver' Alveolar.[7] See Slovak phonology
Spanish[31] enseñar [nse?'?är] 'to teach' Simultaneous alveolo-palatal and dento-alveolar or dento-alveolo-palatal.[7] See Spanish phonology
Swahili nyama [m?] 'meat'
Ukrainian [tin] 'shadow' Alveolo-palatal. See Ukrainian phonology
Vietnamese nhà [?â:] 'house' "Laminoalveolar".[32] See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian njonken ['?o?k?n] 'next to' Phonemically /nj/. See West Frisian phonology
Yi ? / nyi [ni?] 'sit' Alveolo-palatal.
Zulu inyoni [ió:ni] 'bird' Alveolo-palatal.[7]


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
German Standard[33] ngig ['ç] 'common' Allophone of /?/ before and after front vowels;[33] the example also illustrates . See Standard German phonology
Lithuanian[34] menk? ['m?æk?e:] 'cod' Allophone of /n/ before palatalized velars;[34] typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Lithuanian phonology
Mapudungun[20] dañe ['e?] 'nest'
Polish[35][36] w?giel ['vl] 'coal' Allophone of /n/ before /k?, /.[35][36] See Polish phonology
Romanian[37] anchet? [ä'k?e?t] 'inquiry' Allophone of /n/ used before the palatalized allophones of /k, ?/.[37] Typically transcribed in IPA with ⟨⟩. See Romanian phonology
Uzbek[38] ming [mi] 'thousand' Word-final allophone of /?/ after front vowels.[38]
Vietnamese nh?c [?a?:?k] 'music" Final allophone of /?/. See Vietnamese phonology
Yanyuwa[39] [l?uwau] 'strip of turtle fat' Post-palatal; contrasts with post-velar .[39]

See also


  1. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. xviii.
  2. ^ Heselwood (2013), p. 113.
  3. ^ a b c Ní Chasaide (1999).
  4. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 33.
  5. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 163.
  6. ^ Doke (1925), p. ?.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Recasens (2013), p. 11.
  8. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 111.
  9. ^ Carbonell & Llisterri (1992), p. 53.
  10. ^ Gussenhoven (1992), p. 46.
  11. ^ a b Mattos e Silva (1991), p. 73.
  12. ^ Arvaniti (2007), p. 20.
  13. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 164.
  14. ^ Recasens et al. (1993), p. 222.
  15. ^ Quiggin (1906).
  16. ^ de Bhaldraithe (1966).
  17. ^ Mhac an Fhailigh (1968).
  18. ^ Okada (1999), p. 118.
  19. ^ Ladefoged (2005), p. 165.
  20. ^ a b Sadowsky et al. (2013), p. 88.
  21. ^ a b Skjekkeland (1997), pp. 105-107.
  22. ^ Jassem (2003), pp. 103-104.
  23. ^ a b Considerações sobre o status das palato-alveolares em português, p. 12.
  24. ^ Aragão (2009), p. 168.
  25. ^ Cagliari 1974, p. 77. Citation:Em português, o [?] se aproxima mais do do que do ; por isso será classificado como "central" e não como pré-palatal. O em muitas línguas se realiza como "central"; em português, tende a [lj] e se realiza sempre na região prepalatal.
  26. ^ Portuguese vinho: diachronic evidence for biphonemic nasal vowels
  27. ^ Cruz-Ferreira (1995), p. 91.
  28. ^ a b Pop (1938), p. 30.
  29. ^ Oftedal (1956), p. ?.
  30. ^ Landau et al. (1999), p. 67.
  31. ^ Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003), p. 255.
  32. ^ Thompson (1959), pp. 460.
  33. ^ a b Krech et al. (2009), pp. 49, 97.
  34. ^ a b Ambrazas et al. (1997), p. 36.
  35. ^ a b Gussmann (1974), pp. 107, 111, 114.
  36. ^ a b Ostaszewska & Tambor (2000), pp. 35, 41, 86.
  37. ^ a b Sarlin (2014), p. 17.
  38. ^ a b Sjoberg (1963), p. 12.
  39. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), pp. 34-35.


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