Voiceless palatal nasal

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Voiceless palatal nasal

The voiceless palatal nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represent this sound are ⟨ɲ̊⟩ and ⟨ɲ̥⟩, which are combinations of the letter for the voiced palatal nasal and a diacritic indicating voicelessness. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J_0.

If distinction is necessary, the voiceless alveolo-palatal nasal may be transcribed as ⟨n̠̊ʲ⟩ (devoiced, retracted and palatalizedn⟩), or ⟨ɲ̟̊⟩ (devoiced and advancedɲ⟩); these are essentially equivalent, since the contact includes both the blade and body (but not the tip) of the tongue. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbols are n_-' or n_-_j and J_0_+, respectively. A non-IPA letter ⟨ȵ̊⟩ (devoiced ⟨ȵ⟩, which is an ordinary "n", plus the curl found in the symbols for alveolo-palatal sibilant fricatives ⟨ɕ, ʑ⟩) can also be used.


Features of the voiceless palatal nasal:

  • Its manner of articulation is occlusive, which means it is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. Because the consonant is also nasal, the blocked airflow is redirected through the nose.
  • Its place of articulation is palatal, which means it is articulated with the middle or back part of the tongue raised to the hard palate.
  • Its phonation is voiceless, which means it is produced without vibrations of the vocal cords.
  • It is a nasal consonant, which means air is allowed to escape through the nose, either exclusively (nasal stops) or in addition to through the mouth.
  • It is a central consonant, which means it is produced by directing the airstream along the center of the tongue, rather than to the sides.
  • The airstream mechanism is pulmonic, which means it is articulated by pushing air solely with the lungs and diaphragm, as in most sounds.


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Burmese[1] ညှာ/nya: [ɲ̊à] 'considerate'
Faroese[2][3] einki / onki [ˈɔɲ̊t͡ʃɪ] 'nothing' See Faroese phonology
Iaai [ɲ̊øːk] 'to dedicate'
Icelandic[4] banki [ˈpäu̯ɲ̊cɪ] 'bank' See Icelandic phonology
Jalapa Mazatec[5] á [ɲ̊á] 'brush'
Xumi Lower[6] [EPʃɐ̃ɲ̟̊ɛ] 'clean' Alveolo-palatal; occurs mostly in loanwords from Tibetan.[6]

See also[edit]



  • Árnason, Kristján (2011), The Phonology of Icelandic and Faroese, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-922931-4
  • Chirkova, Katia; Chen, Yiya (2013), "Xumi, Part 1: Lower Xumi, the Variety of the Lower and Middle Reaches of the Shuiluo River" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (3): 363–379, doi:10.1017/S0025100313000157[permanent dead link]
  • Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-19815-4.
  • Þráinsson, Höskuldur; Petersen, Hjalmar P.; Jacobsen, Jógvan í Lon; Hansen, Zakaris Svabo (2012), Faroese – An Overview and Reference Grammar, Tórshavn: Føroya fróðskaparfelag, ISBN 9789991841854

External links[edit]