Alveolar nasal

Alveolar nasal
Alveolar nasal
IPA number 116
Entity (decimal) n
Unicode (hex) U+006E
Kirshenbaum n

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The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in numerous spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar nasals is n, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is n.

The vast majority of languages have either an alveolar or dental nasal. There are a few languages that lack either sound but have [m] (e.g., colloquial Samoan). There are some languages (e.g., Rotokas) that lack both m and n.



Features of the alveolar nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is stop, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Since the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
  • Its place of articulation is alveolar, which means it is articulated with either the tip or the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge, termed respectively apical and laminal.
  • 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.
  • Because the sound is not produced with airflow over the tongue, the centrallateral dichotomy does not apply.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Armenian նուռ About this sound [nur] 'pomegranate'
Basque ni [ni] 'I'
Catalan[1] nou [ˈnɔw] 'new' See Catalan phonology
Chinese Mandarin /nán [nan˧˥] 'difficult' See Mandarin phonology
Czech na [na] 'on' See Czech phonology
Dutch[2] nacht [nɑxt] 'night' See Dutch phonology
English nice [naɪs] 'nice' See English phonology
Finnish annan [ɑnːɑn] 'I give' See Finnish phonology
Georgian[3] კა [ˈkʼɑni] 'skin'
German Lanze [ˈlant͡sə] 'lance' See German phonology
Greek νάμα/náma [ˈnama] 'communion wine' See Modern Greek phonology
Gujarati હી [nəhi] 'no' See Gujarati phonology
Hawaiian[4] naka [naka] 'to shake' See Hawaiian phonology
Hindi-Urdu या/نیا [nəjaː] 'new' See Hindi–Urdu phonology
Hungarian nagyi [nɒɟi] 'grandma' See Hungarian phonology
Italian[5] nano [ˈnano] 'dwarf' See Italian phonology
Japanese[6] 反対/hantai [hantai] 'opposite' See Japanese phonology
Korean /na [na] 'I' See Korean phonology
Malay nasi [nasi] 'cooked rice'
Malayalam[7] കന്നി [kənni] 'virgin'
Maltese lenbuba [lenbuˈba] 'truncheon'
Ngwe Mmockngie dialect [nøɣə̀] 'sun'
Norwegian mann [mɑnː] 'man' See Norwegian phonology
Pirahã gíxai [níˈʔàì̯] 'you'
Slovak na [na] 'on'
Spanish[8] nada [ˈnað̞a] 'nothing' See Spanish phonology
Tamil[9] நாடு [naːɽɯ] 'country' See Tamil phonology
Turkish neden [ned̪æn] 'reason' See Turkish phonology
Vietnamese[10] bạn đi [ɓan˧ˀ˨ʔ ɗi] 'you're going' Occurs only before alveolar consonants. See Vietnamese phonology
West Frisian nekke [nɛkə] 'neck'
Yi /na [na˧ ] 'hurt'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[11] nanɨɨ [nanɨˀɨ] 'lady' contrasts with a fortis alveolar nasal that is not represented in the orthography.

See also

  • List of phonetic topics



  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1–2): 53–56, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004618 
  • Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena (1995), "European Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 25 (2): 90–94, doi:10.1017/S0025100300005223 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45–47, doi:10.1017/S002510030000459X 
  • Keane, Elinor (2004), "Tamil", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 111–116, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001549 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (2005), Vowels and Consonants (Second ed.), Blackwell 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259, doi:10.1017/S0025100303001373 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquiapan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107–114, doi:10.1017/S0025100308003344 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Phonetic Representation:Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94–97, doi:10.1017/S002510030000445X 
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117–121, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001628 
  • Shosted, Ryan K.; Vakhtang, Chikovani (2006), "Standard Georgian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36 (2): 255–264, doi:10.1017/S0025100306002659 
  • Thompson, Laurence (1959), "Saigon phonemics", Language 35 (3): 454–476, doi:10.2307/411232, JSTOR 411232 

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