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N or n (pronounced: [ ʔɛn ]) is the 13th letter of the classical and the 14th letter of the modern Latin alphabet . It's a consonant . The letter N has an average frequency of 9.78% in German texts. This makes it the second most common letter in German texts after the E and thus the most common consonant in German texts.

Letter N in Fingeralphabet

The finger alphabet for the deaf or hard of hearing represents the letter N with the hand pointing down, the index and middle fingers pointing down and the remaining fingers on the palm. The back of the hand points forward.


The pronunciation of N as a single letter is different. In German it is generally spoken as [n] ; before a K ( C ) or in connection with G the pronunciation [ŋ] can be, as long as the following letter belongs to the same syllable .


Snake (protosinaitic) Phoenician Nun Greek Ny Etruscan N Latin N
Snake (protosinaitic) Phoenician Nun Greek Ny Etruscan N Latin N

In the Protosinaite script the letter is the symbol for a snake. In the Phoenician alphabet , the snake symbol became the letter nun (snake). Already in Phoenician the letter had the sound value [n].

The Greeks adopted the Nun in their alphabet as Ny and kept the sound value. From the lightning-like letter to the classical Greek, a second stroke on the left became a letter that already had the shape of the N. As with the M , the stroke may have been added to improve writing when changing the writing direction from right to left to left to right.

The Etruscans adopted the N in its early Greek form, as did the Romans first. However, the letter was later given a stroke on the left in Latin as well.


The diacritics Ñ , Ń , Ň , Ņ , and Ŋ as well as the corresponding lower case letters are based on N.

Definition according to the German dictionary

N is the fourteenth letter of our alphabet (before the separation of I and J the thirteenth. Hederich 1654), belongs to the group of so-called liquid and often touches with m, from which it often emerges and how it sounds in full can become sonorous, that is, fade away and fail or fall away, which is dealt with below. the real n corresponds in all positions to a lingual n of the primordial related languages ​​(night of a hahn from Latin nox unus canere). as guttural nasal it is written ng nk (see below 9, b). the detailed treatment of the sound belongs in the grammar; only the most important can be emphasized here. [...] "

See also

  • ن , the Arabic letter Nūn
  • נ or ן , the Hebrew letter Nun

Web links

Commons : N  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: N  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: n  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. N. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 13 : N, O, P, Q - (VII). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1889, Sp. 1–4 ( woerterbuchnetz.de ).