N

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N (play /ˈɛn/; named en)[1] is the fourteenth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet.

Contents

History of the forms

One of the most common snake hieroglyph was used in Egyptian writing to stand for a sound like English "J", because the Egyptian word for "snake" was djet. It is speculated 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 all modern languages.

Usage

Language

Dental or alveolar nasal in virtually all languages that use the Latin alphabet. A common digraph with <n> is <ng>, which represents a velar nasal in a variety of languages, usually positioned word-finally in English. In languages like Italian and French, <gn> represents a palatal nasal (/ɲ/). The Portuguese spelling for this sound is <nh> (while Spanish and a few other languages use the special <ñ> character). In English, n is generally silent when it is preceded by an m, in words like hymn (although it is pronounced in words such as damnation).

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