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ŉ or N-apostrophe is a Unicode codepoint formerly used in the Afrikaans language of South Africa. The codepoint is currently deprecated, and the Unicode standard recommends that a sequence of an apostrophe followed by n be used instead, as the use of deprecated characters such as ŉ is “strongly discouraged”. In fact, it was removed from Charis SIL and Doulos SIL. It is however in quite general use in the Afrikaans versions of Facebook and other publications, probably to avoid the tendency of auto-correction (designed for English quotation marks) to turn a typed ′n into ‘n which is incorrect but common.
The letter is the indefinite article of Afrikaans, and is pronounced the same as the English indefinite article a, or perhaps the i in "sit". The symbol itself came about as a contraction of its Dutch equivalent een meaning "one" (just as English an comes from Anglo-Saxon ān, also meaning "one").
- Dit is ŉ boom.
- [dət əs ə bʊəm]
- This is a tree.
When ŉ comes before a vowel, it may be pronounced the same as English an. This pronunciation is not common at all and may be limited to older speakers – in general, the pronunciation mentioned above is used in all cases.
In Afrikaans, ŉ is never capitalised in standard texts. Instead, the first letter of the following word is capitalised.
- ŉ Mens is hier.
- A man is here.
An exception to this rule is in newspaper headlines, or sentences and phrases where all the letters are capitalised.
- ’N NASIONALE NOODTOESTAND
- A NATIONAL EMERGENCY SITUATION
It is also a legacy compatibility character for the ISO/IEC 6937.