THE 14th letter and the 11th conso-, nant of the English alphabet, corresponding to the 14th letter of the Phoenician alphabet, the nun, the name of which in the Semitic languages signifies fish. The usual sound of the English N, or that which it naturally has when not affected by the neighboring consonants, is that of a lingual nasal. This is in the English language an original sound, derived without change from the earlier languages. There is an epenthetic n in bring (comp. brought), think (comp. thought); also in some words of Latin origin, as frangible (comp. fracture), tangent (comp. tact). The letter n final, after I or m, is silent in English, as condemn, kiln, column, hymn; but this n was originally sounded. The omission of an n is sometimes indicated merely by the lengthening of the preceding vowel, as goose (Ger. Gans), tooth (Lat. dens, genit. dentis; Moeso-Gothic, tunthus), tithe (comp. tenth). The English n, when it comes immediately before a palatal mute, as c, ch (when pronounced like k), g, k, q, or x, is a palatal nasal, or has the sound of ng final. In ng final, the palatal sound has arisen in the same way, although the sound of g has been dropped in English. But the suffix ing appears to have arisen from the infinitive termination an in the earlier language.

The Anglo-Saxon and Latin have the same two nasal sounds of n as the English. The Moeso-Gothic and the Greek have the two nasal sounds, but express the palatal nasal by g. The Latin of the earliest authors had some-times g and sometimes n for the palatal nasal. The Sanskrit language has a great variety of n sounds. - In numeration, the Greek N signified 50. Among the Romans, according to some authors, X signified 90; according to others 900, and with a horizontal line above it, 90,000.