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A nasal vowel is a
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
that is produced with a lowering of the
soft palate The soft palate (also known as the velum, palatal velum, or muscular palate) is, in mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origin ...
(or velum) so that the air flow escapes through the
nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for Respiration (physiology), respiration alongside the mouth. Behind the nose are the olfactory mucosa and the Paranasal sinus, sinuses. Be ...
and the
mouth In animal anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is ...

mouth
simultaneously, as in the
French
French
vowel or
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...
[]. By contrast, oral vowels are produced without nasalization. Nasalized vowels are vowels under the influence of neighboring sounds. For instance, the [] of the word ''hand'' is affected by the following nasal consonant. In most languages, vowels adjacent to
nasal consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical ...
s are produced partially or fully with a lowered velum in a natural process of assimilation and are therefore technically nasal, but few speakers would notice. That is the case in English: vowels preceding nasal consonants are nasalized, but there is no
phonemic In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any partic ...
distinction between nasal and oral vowels, and all vowels are considered phonemically oral. However, the words "huh?" and "uh-huh" are pronounced with a nasal vowel, as is the negative "unh-unh". The nasality of nasal vowels, however, is a
distinctive feature In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
of certain languages. In other words, a language may contrast oral vowels and nasalized vowels phonemically. Linguists make use of
minimal pair In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, spoken or Sign language, signed, that differ in only one phonological element, such as a phoneme, toneme or chroneme, and have distinct meanings. They are used to ...
s to decide whether or not the nasality is of linguistic importance. In French, for instance, nasal vowels are distinct from oral vowels, and words can differ by the vowel quality. The words ''beau'' "beautiful" and ''bon'' "good" are a
minimal pair In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, spoken or Sign language, signed, that differ in only one phonological element, such as a phoneme, toneme or chroneme, and have distinct meanings. They are used to ...
that contrasts primarily the vowel nasalization even if the /ɔ̃/ from ''bon'' is slightly more
open Open or OPEN may refer to: Music * Open (band) Open is a band. Background Drummer Pete Neville has been involved in the Sydney/Australian music scene for a number of years. He has recently completed a Masters in screen music at the Australian ...
.
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
allows nasal
diphthong A diphthong ( ; , ), also known as a gliding vowel, is a combination of two adjacent vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of spe ...
s, which contrast with their oral counterparts, like the pair ''mau'' "bad" and ''mão'' "hand". Although there are French
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
s into English with nasal vowels like ''croissant'' [], there is no expectation that an English-speaker would nasalize the vowels to the same extent as French-speakers or Portuguese-speakers. Likewise, pronunciation keys in English dictionaries do not always indicate nasalization of French or Portuguese loanwords.


Influence on vowel height

Nasalization In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of eve ...
as a result of the assimilation of a
nasal consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical ...
tends to cause a raising of
vowel height A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel height
; phonemically distinctive nasalization tends to lower the vowel. In most languages, vowels of all heights are nasalized indiscriminately, but preference occurs in some language, such as for high vowels in
ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorro Party, a 19th-century Portuguese political party (See L ...
and low vowels in
Thai Thai or THAI may refer to: * Of or from Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia ** Thai people, the dominant ethnic group of Thailand ** Thai language, a Tai-Kadai language spoken mainly in and around Thailand *** Thai script *** Thai (Unicode block) ...

Thai
.


Degree of nasalization

A few languages, such as
Palantla Chinantec Palantla Chinantec, also known as ''Chinanteco de San Pedro Tlatepuzco'', is a major Chinantecan language of Mexico, spoken in San Juan Palantla and a couple dozen neighboring towns in northern Oaxaca. The variety of San Mateo Yetla, known as Valle ...
, contrast lightly nasalized and heavily nasalized vowels. They may be contrasted in print by doubling the IPA diacritic for nasalization: vs . Bickford & Floyd (2006) combine the tilde with the
ogonek 100px, Ogonek The ( Polish: , "little tail", the diminutive of ; lt, nosinė, "nasal") is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter or basic glyph. The t ...

ogonek
: vs . (The ogonek is sometimes used in an otherwise IPA transcription to avoid conflict with tone diacritics above the vowels.)


Origin

Rodney Sampson described a three-stage historical account, explaining the origin of nasal vowels in modern
French
French
. The notation of Terry and Webb will be used below, where V, N, and Ṽ (with a tilde above) represent oral vowel, nasal consonant, and nasal vowel, respectively.Terry, Kristen Kennedy & Webb, Eric Russell. (2011). Modeling the emergence of a typological anomaly: Vowel nasalization in French. In ''Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 37''(1), 155–169. In the
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular o ...
period, vowels become nasalized under the regressive assimilation, as VN > ṼN. In the
Middle French Middle French (french: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured ...
period, the realization of the nasal consonant became variable, as VN > Ṽ(N). As the language evolves into its modern form, the consonant is no longer realized, as ṼN > Ṽ.


Orthography

Languages written with
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequ ...

Latin script
may indicate nasal vowels by a trailing
silent Silent may mean any of the following: People with the name * Silent George, George Stone (outfielder) (1876–1945), American Major League Baseball outfielder and batting champion * Brandon Silent (born 1973), South African former footballer * Ch ...
''n'' or ''m'', as is the case in French, Portuguese,
Lombard The term Lombard refers to members of or things related to Lombardy (man) it, Lombarda (woman) lmo, Lombard (man) lmo, Lombarda (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 ...

Lombard
(central classic orthography),
Bamana Bambara or Bambarra may refer to: * Bambara people, an ethnic group, primarily in Mali ** Bambara language, their language, a Manding language ** Bamana Empire, a state that flourished in present-day Mali (1640s–1861) * Bambara (beetle), ''Bambara ...
,
Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part ...
, and
Yoruba Yoruba may refer to: * Yoruba people The Yoruba people () are a Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the U ...
. In other cases, they are indicated by
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
s. In the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest s ...
, nasal vowels are denoted by a
tilde The tilde (
in the American Heritage dictionary
), or , is a

tilde
over the symbol for the vowel. The same practice can be found in Portuguese marking with a
tilde The tilde (
in the American Heritage dictionary
), or , is a

tilde
in diphthongs (e.g. ''põe'') and for words ending in /ɐ̃/ (e.g. ''manhã'', ''irmã''). While the tilde is also used for this purpose in Paraguayan Guaraní, phonemic nasality is indicated by a diaeresis ( ¨ ) in the standardized orthographies of most varieties of Tupí-Guaraní spoken in
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of g ...

Bolivia
.
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
,
Navajo The Navajo (; British English: Navaho; nv, Diné or ') are a of the . At more than 399,494 enrolled tribal members , the is the largest federally recognized tribe in the U.S. (the being the second largest); the Navajo Nation has the larges ...
, and
Elfdalian Elfdalian or Övdalian ( or , pronounced in Elfdalian, or in Swedish) is a North Germanic language variety spoken by up to 3,000 people who live or have grown up in the locality of Älvdalen ('), which is located in the southeastern part of ...
use a hook under the letter, called an
ogonek 100px, Ogonek The ( Polish: , "little tail", the diminutive of ; lt, nosinė, "nasal") is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter or basic glyph. The t ...

ogonek
, as in ''ą, ę''. The
Pe̍h-ōe-jī (; abbreviated POJ; literally ''vernacular writing''; also sometimes known as the Church Romanization) is an orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the re ...
romanization of
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
and
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...
uses a superscript ''n'' (''aⁿ'', ''eⁿ'', ...). The
Brahmic scripts The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida An abugida (, from : አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental in which consonant-vowel sequences are ...
used for most
Indic languages The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages form a major language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages h ...

Indic languages
mark nasalization with the anusvāra (ं, homophonically used for
homorganic In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of ever ...
nasalization in a consonant cluster following the vowel) or the
anunāsika Anusvara (Sanskrit: ') is a symbol used in many Indic scripts to mark a type of nasalization, nasal sound, typically transliterated . Depending on its location in the word and the language for which it is used, its exact pronunciation can vary. I ...

anunāsika
(ँ) diacritic (and its regional variants). Nasalization in
Nastaliq in a Naskh (script), Naskh styled typeface: Nastaʼlīq (; fa, , ) is one of the main calligraphic hands used to write the Perso-Arabic script in the Persian language, Persian and Urdu languages, and traditionally the predominant style i ...

Nastaliq
-based Arabic scripts of languages in
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, such as
Punjabi Panjābī (pʌnˈdʒɑːbi) (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) (پنجابی) Punjabi or Panjabi most often refers to: * Something of, from, or related to Punjab Punjab ( Gurmukhi: ; Shahmukhi: ; , ; , ; ; also romanised as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a ge ...
, Saraiki and
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...
etc, is indicated by placing the nasal vowel, a dotless form of the Arabic letter nūn () or the letter marked with the ''maghnūna'' diacritic: respectively (always occurring word finally) or , called "nūn ghunna". Nasalized vowels occur in
Classical Arabic Classical Arabic ( ar, links=no, ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلْفُصْحَىٰ, al-ʿarabīyah al-fuṣḥā) or Quranic Arabic is the standardized literary form of the Arabic language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, ...
but not in contemporary speech or
Modern Standard Arabic Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or Modern Written Arabic (shortened to MWA), terms used mostly by Western linguists, is the variety of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standa ...
. There is no orthographic way to denote the nasalization, but it is systematically taught as part of the essential rules of ''
tajwid In the context of the of the , ''tajwīd'' ( ar, تجويد ', , '') is a set of rules for the correct pronunciation of the letters with all their qualities and applying the various traditional methods of recitation ('). In Arabic, the term ''t ...
'', used to read the
Qur'an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن , "the recitation"), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, God (''Allah''). It is widely rega ...

Qur'an
. Nasalization occurs in recitation, usually when a final nūn is followed by a yāʾ ().


Languages

The following languages use phonemic nasal vowels:


See also

*
Nasalization In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of eve ...
*
Vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

Vowel
**
front vowel A front vowel is a class of vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writin ...
**
back vowel A back vowel is any in a class of vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, ...


References


Further reading

*de Medeiros, Beatriz Raposo. (2011). Nasal Coda and Vowel Nasality in Brazilian Portuguese. In S. M. Alvord (Ed.), ''Selected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Romance Phonology'' (pp. 33–45). *Hajek, John & Maeda, Shinji. (2000). Investigating Universals of Sound Change: the Effect of Vowel Height and Duration on the Development of Distinctive Nasalization. ''Papers in Laboratory Phonology V: Acquisition and the lexicon'' (pp. 52–69). *Jeong, Sunwoo. (2012). Directional asymmetry in nasalization: Aperceptual account. ''Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology, 18''(3), 437–469. *Michaud, A., Jacques, G., & Rankin, R. L. (2012). Historical transfer of nasality between consonantal onset and vowel: from C to V or from V to C? ''Diachronica, 29''(2), 201–230. *Sampson, Rodney. (1999). ''Nasal Vowel Evolution in Romance''. Oxford University Press. {{DEFAULTSORT:Nasal Vowel Vowels
Vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...