Friday, 2 December 2011

Annoying nasals


ñ ň

m ɱ n ñ ň ŋ ɲ ɳ ɴ

Unfortunately for linguists typographers writers teachers and others the Sinai alphabet had only two symbols for nasals. M and N. Many Indo-european and other languages have palatal and other nasals.

Nowadays I can imbed Unicode in a html file which I cut and pasted into this blogpost interface to show you the IPA symbols but what do people who don't have access to IPA fonts do?

There are many writing systems that have special extra signs added for "ng" and "ny" signs.

These are the three main methods that have been used over the centuries for languages written with a Roman abc system.

A Tilde  ~ over a vowel or consonant. Spanish Portugese Languages with nasalized vowels.

A h or y or g added to an N. Provencal Catalan Vietnamese

GN for the palatal nasal in Italian and French

NG is Velar the sixth symbol in the line. I have also shown the Retroflex and Palatal Nasal symbol.
The N that looks like an Upper capital N reduced in size is an UVULAR NASAL.

Wikipedia has a very useful article on IPA signs and you cna click on each symbol for more information.

To insert IPA symbols into ordinary text check your computer uses the full Western European encoding not just ANSI and use Insert Special Characters.
Do check you have used a font that has the IPA Extensions set as well as Latin Extended!

Try Lucida Sans Unicode or Palatino Linotype?

Maybe some day in the future most fonts will include a full IPA set of symbols?