|Writing system||Latin script|
|Type||Alphabetic and Logographic|
|Language of origin||Latin language|
|Time period||~-700 to present|
|Descendants|| • ₦|
|Other letters commonly used with||n(x), nh, ng, ny|
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[who?] 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.
⟨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.
On the other hand, other consonants are often silent when they precede an ⟨n⟩ at the beginning of an English word. Examples include gnome, knife, mnemonic, and pneumonia.
|Unicode name||LATIN CAPITAL LETTER N||LATIN SMALL LETTER N|
|Numeric character reference||N||N||n||n|
|NATO phonetic||Morse code|
|Signal flag||Flag semaphore||American manual alphabet (ASL fingerspelling)||Braille dots-1345|
Unified English Braille