Ny (digraph)

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Ny is a digraph in a number of languages such as Catalan, Hungarian, Malay, and Ganda. In most of these languages, including all of the ones named above, it denotes the palatal nasal (/ɲ/).

It has had widespread use for languages of West Africa, though in some countries the IPA letter, ɲ, is now used.

It is sometimes used in modern Spanish where ñ cannot be used, such as in earlier computer programming or Internet domain names.[1]


The writing of the palatal nasal in Aragonese has been a matter of debate since the first orthographic codification of the language (grafía de Uesca) in 1987 by the Consello d'a Fabla Aragonesa at a convention in Huesca. Medieval Aragonese had used several different digraphs, but the two preferable options were ñ (as in Spanish) or ny (as in Catalan). Ñ was the one chosen and it has been used in almost all texts of the last decades, although the subject remained controversial, and some writers continued to promote the use of the digraph ny. The use of Ny was also proposed in an alternative Aragonese orthography, the grafía SLA devised in 2004 by the Sociedat de Lingüistica Aragonesa in 2004. According to the 2010 Orthographic Proposal of the Academia de l'Aragonés, created in 2006, the palatal nasal phoneme should be noted with the digraph 'ny'.[2]


In Catalan, ny is not considered a single letter but a consonantal digraph (n followed by y) to represent /ɲ/. The letter y in Catalan is only used to form ny and has no other purpose when writing the language. We find this digraph in any position in a word: at the beginning (nyap "rubbish", nyaufar "to dent"...), intervocalic (Catalunya "Catalonia"; canya "reed", "steem"...) and at the end of a word ("any" "year", estany "lagoon", seny "sense"...).


Ny is the twenty-third letter of the Hungarian alphabet. It is pronounced (using English pronunciation with letter romanization) "eny" (IPA: /ɛɲ/) in the alphabet, but just "ny" (/ɲ/) when spoken in a word. In Hungarian, even if two characters are put together to make a different sound, they are considered one letter, and even acronyms keep the letter intact.

These examples are Hungarian words that use the letter ny, with the English translation following.

  • anya = mother
  • enyém = mine
  • annyi = so much
  • anyós = mother-in-law
  • ernyő = umbrella
  • zsivány = knave


In Indonesian, ny represents the palatal nasal /ɲ/. Until 1972, this digraph was spelled nj. For example, Spain is called Spanyol (compare with España in Spanish).


In Old Spanish scripts the graph ny was widely used, along with nn and ni, to represent the same palatal sound as Catalan, [ɲ]; however since standardization its usage has been replaced by ñ. Despite this, the ny may be used in modern Spanish where ñ is not available, such as in earlier computer programming or Internet domain names.

Similarly, ny is also used in Judaeo-Spanish.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ FAQ about .es domain names: Cuando se pueda usar la letra “ñ”, ¿existe alguna preferencia para solicitar nombres de dominio?. N or ny are mentioned as substitutes for ñ.
  2. ^ Estudio de Filolochía Aragonesa. Propuesta Ortografica de l'Academia de l'Aragonés. Edicions Dichitals de l'Academia de l'Aragonés, Zaragoza, 2010.