Nasal palatal approximant

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Nasal palatal approximant

The nasal palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some oral languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , that is, a j with a tilde. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is j~, and in the Americanist phonetic notation it is .

The nasal palatal approximant is sometimes called a nasal yod; [j̃] and [w̃] may be called nasal glides.

Transcriptions using may actually intend a non-syllabic nasal vowel, [ĩ̯] (that is, the second element of a diphthong), as in Portuguese, or be ambiguous between the two.


Features of the nasal palatal approximant:


[j̃], written ny, is a common realization of /j/ before nasal vowels in many languages of West Africa which do not have a phonemic distinction between voiced nasal and oral stops, such as Ewe and Bini.

Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Hindi[1] संयम [səj̃jəm] 'patience'

Allophone of /ɲ/ before [j]. See Hindi-Urdu phonology

Polish[2] koń [kɔj̃] 'horse'

Allophone of /ɲ/ in coda position or before fricatives. See Polish phonology

Portuguese Brazilian[3] sonho [ˈsõj̃ʊ] 'dream' Allophone of /ɲ/ between vowels, nasalizes the preceding vowel. Language's original /ɲ/ sound.[4][5] See Portuguese phonology
Most dialects[6] es [kɐ̃ĩ̯s] 'dogs' Non-syllabic allophone of /i/ after nasal vowels, or between nasal occlusives and nasal vowels. Brazilian dialects that have [ɪ] prefer [ɪ̯̃] when in coda position.[7]
Some dialects[4] me ame! [ˈmj̃ɐ̃mi] 'love me!'

See also[edit]



  • Barbosa, Plínio A.; Albano, Eleonora C. (2004), "Brazilian Portuguese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 227–232, doi:10.1017/S0025100304001756 
  • Canepari, Luciano (2005), "Hindi", A Handbook of Pronunciation, Lincom Europa, p. 335 
  • Gussman, Edmund (2007), The Phonology of Polish, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-926747-7 
  • Mattos e Silva, Rosa (1991), O Português arcaico – fonologia, Contexto 
  • Perini, Mário Alberto (2002), Modern Portuguese (A Reference Grammar), New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-09155-7 
  • Vigário, Marina (2003), The Prosodic Word in European Portuguese, De Gruyter Mouton, ISBN 978-3-11-017713-8 

Further reading[edit]

  • Shosted; Hualde (2010), (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory volume 315) Romance Linguistics 2009: Selected Papers from the 39th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Tucson, Arizona, March 2009, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 43–61, ISBN 978-90-272-4833-6