Nh (digraph)

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Nh is a digraph of the Latin alphabet, a combination of N and H. Together with ilh and the interpunct, it is a typical feature of Occitan, a language illustrated by medieval troubadours.

African languages[edit]

In some African languages, such as Gogo, nh is a voiceless /n̥/.

In the pre-1985 orthography of Guinea for its languages, nh represented a velar [ŋ], which is currently written ŋ.

Asian languages[edit]

In the Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization of Mandarin Chinese, initial nh- indicates an even tone on a syllable beginning in [n], which is otherwise spelled n-.


Early romanizations of Japanese, influenced by Portuguese orthography, sometimes used nh to represent a prepalatal. Today, this is usually written ny.


In Vietnamese, nh represents a palatal [ɲ] word-initially. It was formerly considered a distinct letter, but is no longer. When this digraph occurs word-finally, its phonetic value varies between dialects:

  • In the northern dialect, it represents a velar nasal (ŋ), just as ng does; however, its presence may alter the pronunciation of the preceding vowel. For example, banh is pronounced /baɪŋ/, as opposed to /baŋ/ (bang).
  • In the southern dialect, it represents an alveolar nasal (n) and shortens the preceding vowel.

The Vietnamese alphabet inherited this digraph from the Portuguese orthography.

Australian languages[edit]

In the transcription of Australian Aboriginal languages, nh represents a dental []. Due to allophony, it may also represent a palatal [ɲ].

American languages[edit]

In Purépecha and Pipil, it's a velar nasal, [ŋ].

European languages[edit]


In Occitan, nh represents a palatal [ɲ].

For n·h, see Interpunct#Occitan.


In Portuguese, nh represents a palatal [ɲ]. Due to allophony, it may represent the nasal approximant [ȷ̃] in most Brazilian, Santomean and Angolan dialects. It is not considered a distinct letter. Portuguese borrowed this digraph from Occitan.[1]


In Galician, there are two diverging norms which give nh differing values.

In both norms, nh is not considered a distinct letter.


In Welsh, nh is a voiceless alveolar nasal, /n̥/.


  1. ^ Jean-Pierre JUGE (2001) Petit précis - Chronologie occitane - Histoire & civilisation, p. 25

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