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ン (n) – Katakana


– Pronounced as the Japanese ‘n’, similar to the English ‘n’ as in ‘new’.


ん, in hiragana, or ン in katakana, is one of the Japanese kana, which each represent one mora. It is the only kana sound ending with a consonant.

This kana is unique in several aspects; it can never begin a standard Japanese word (but it can however begin a foreign loan word). In some dialects of Japanese, ん may begin a contraction of a phrase, but such uses are generally for informal conversation only.

The kana is followed by an apostrophe in some systems of transliteration whenever it precedes a vowel or a y- kana, so as to prevent confusion with other kana. But like every other kana, it represents an entire mora – and so its pronunciation is, in practice, as close to ‘nn’ as ‘n’.


Mnemonic 1: You remember a similar sort of shape for the katakana symbol for ‘shi’, which represented a girl. She now has one eye closed and is winking at you. “n-” you were about to say something however since she has winked at you you’ve suddenly stopped what you were about to say and become speechless.

Mnemonic 2: In order to write the hiragana symbol, you drew the letter n badly. Now the English teacher (who doesn’t realise that you are writing Japanese) is telling you off for doing so. You can see his head and his arm which he is waving in agitation.

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