Eng (letter)

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Ŋ ŋ
(See below)
Writing cursive forms of Ŋ
Writing systemLatin script
TypeAlphabetic and Logographic
Language of originLatin language
Phonetic usage[ŋ]
Unicode valueU+014A, U+014B
Time period1619 to present
SistersꞐ ꞑ
Transliteration equivalentsng
Variations(See below)
Other letters commonly used withn(x), ng
Latin letter Ŋŋ.svg

Eng or engma (capital: Ŋ, lowercase: ŋ) is a letter of the Latin alphabet, used to represent a velar nasal (as in English singing) in the written form of some languages and in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

In Washo, lower-case ⟨ŋ⟩ represents a typical [ŋ] sound, while upper-case ⟨Ŋ⟩ represents a voiceless [ŋ̊] sound. This convention comes from Americanist phonetic notation.


The First Grammatical Treatise, a 12th-century work on the phonology of the Old Icelandic language, uses a single grapheme for the eng sound, shaped like a g with a stroke ⟨g⟩. Alexander Gill the Elder uses an uppercase G with a hooked tail and a lowercase n with the hooked tail of a script g ⟨ŋ⟩ for the same sound in Logonomia Anglica in 1619.[1] William Holder uses the letter in Elements of speech: An essay of inquiry into the natural production of letters, published in 1669, but it was not printed as intended; he indicates in his errata that “there was intended a character for Ng, viz., n with a tail like that of g, which must be understood where the Printer has imitated it by n or y”.[2] It was later used in Benjamin Franklin's phonetic alphabet, with its current phonetic value.


Lowercase eng is derived from n, with the addition of a hook to the right leg, somewhat like that of j. The uppercase has two variants: it can be based on the usual uppercase N, with a hook added (or "N-form"); or it can be an enlarged version of the lowercase (or "n-form"). The former is preferred in Sami languages that use it, the latter in African languages,[3] such as in Shona from 1931–1955, and several in west and central Africa currently.

Early printers, lacking a specific glyph for eng, sometimes approximated it by rotating a capital G, or by substituting a Greek eta (η) for it (encoded in Unicode as the Latin letter n with long leg: Ƞ ƞ).


Technical transcription[edit]

Vernacular orthographies[edit]

Janalif variant of eng is
represented as N with
descender. An equivalent version is
used in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Languages marked † no longer use eng, but formerly did.

Computer encoding[edit]

Eng is encoded in Unicode as U+014A LATIN CAPITAL LETTER ENG and U+014B LATIN SMALL LETTER ENG, part of the Latin Extended-A range. In ISO 8859-4 (Latin-4) it's located at BD (uppercase) and BF (lowercase).

In African languages such as Bemba, ng' (with an apostrophe) is widely used as a substitute in media where eng is hard to reproduce.

See also[edit]

Similar Latin letters:

Similar Cyrillic letters:


  1. ^ David Crystal (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language
  2. ^ Robert W. Albright (1958). The International Phonetic Alphabet: Its Backgrounds and Development, Indiana University. p. 11
  3. ^ "Essay Archives and Poetry". Retrieved 10 June 2004.
  4. ^ Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF).
  5. ^ 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).
  6. ^ Majnep, Ian Saem; Bulmer, Ralph (1977). Birds of my Kalam Country [Mn̄mon Yad Kalam Yakt]. illustrations by Christopher Healey. New Zealand: Aukland University Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9780196479538. OCLC 251862814.

External links[edit]