Heng (letter)

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Heng is a letter of the Latin alphabet, derived from h combined with something similar to eng.

It was used word-finally in early transcriptions of Mayan languages, where it may have represented a uvular fricative.

It is sometimes used to write Judeo-Tat.

It has been occasionally used by phonologists to represent a hypothetical phoneme in English, which includes both [h] and [ŋ] as its allophones, to illustrate the limited usefulness of minimal pairs to distinguish phonemes. Normally /h/ and /ŋ/ are considered separate phonemes in English, even though a minimal pair for them cannot be constructed, due to their complementary distribution.[1]

Both U+A726 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER HENG (HTML Ꜧ) and U+A727 LATIN SMALL LETTER HENG (HTML ꜧ) are encoded in Unicode block Latin Extended-D.


A variant form, U+0267 ɧ LATIN SMALL LETTER HENG WITH HOOK, is encoded as part of the IPA Extensions Block. It is used to represent the voiceless palatal-velar fricative in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

The Teuthonista phonetic transcription system uses U+AB5C MODIFIER LETTER SMALL HENG.[2]


  1. ^ Hornsby, David (2014). Linguistics: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself. 
  2. ^ Everson, Michael; Dicklberger, Alois; Pentzlin, Karl; Wandl-Vogt, Eveline (2011-06-02). "L2/11-202: Revised proposal to encode "Teuthonista" phonetic characters in the UCS" (PDF). 
  • Chao, Yuen Ren (1934). "The non-uniqueness of phonemic solutions of phonetic systems". Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. 4 (4): 363–397. 
  • Pullum, Geoffrey K.; Ladusaw, William A. (1996). Phonetic Symbol Guide. University of Chicago Press. p. 77.