|Writing system||Latin script|
|Type||Alphabetic and Logographic|
|Language of origin||Latin language|
|Time period||1619 to present|
|Other letters commonly used with||n(x), ng|
Eng or engma (capital: Ŋ, lowercase: ŋ) is a letter of the Latin alphabet, used to represent a velar nasal (as in English singing) in the written form of some languages and in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
The First Grammatical Treatise, a 12th-century work on the phonology of the Old Icelandic language, uses a single grapheme for the eng sound, shaped like a g with a stroke ⟨ǥ⟩. Alexander Gill the Elder uses an uppercase G with a hooked tail and a lowercase n with the hooked tail of a script g ⟨ŋ⟩ for the same sound in Logonomia Anglica in 1619. William Holder uses the letter in Elements of Speech: An Essay of Inquiry into the Natural Production of Letters, published in 1669, but it was not printed as intended; he indicates in his errata that “there was intended a character for Ng, viz., n with a tail like that of g, which must be understood where the Printer has imitated it by n or y”. It was later used in Benjamin Franklin's phonetic alphabet, with its current phonetic value.
Lowercase eng is derived from n, with the addition of a hook to the right leg, somewhat like that of j. The uppercase has two variants: it can be based on the usual uppercase N, with a hook added (or "N-form"); or it can be an enlarged version of the lowercase (or "n-form"). The former is preferred in Sami languages that use it, the latter in African languages, such as in Shona from 1931–1955, and several in west and central Africa currently.
Early printers, lacking a specific glyph for eng, sometimes approximated it by rotating a capital G, or by substituting a Greek letter η (eta) before modified to present form ⟨ŋ⟩ for it (encoded in Unicode as the Latin letter n with long leg: Ƞ ƞ).
An 1856 text in Gamilaraay, using a rotated capital G as a substitute for ŋ.
In most languages eng is absent in the Latin alphabet but its sound can be present in the letter n in words. In English, it is heard in the potential digraphs nc (hard c), ng (hard g), nk, nq and nx, often at the end of words. For the pronunciation of ng with eng, it can be /ŋ/ in words such as singer and hanged and when it is in final position or /ŋg/ in words such as finger and angle.
In British English, n is pronounced eng in the prefixes en- and in- when they are followed by c, g and q, as in encroachment, engagement, enquiry, incursion, ingredient, inquiry and others. In other English dialects, the n is pronounced /n/ instead. In many British dialects, the ng in strength and length is simply pronounced /n/, with g a silent letter, and the ng is otherwise pronounced /ŋ/ in those words.
Languages marked † no longer use eng, but formerly did.
Eng is encoded in Unicode as U+014A LATIN CAPITAL LETTER ENG and U+014B LATIN SMALL LETTER ENG, part of the Latin Extended-A range. In ISO 8859-4 (Latin-4) it's located at BD (uppercase) and BF (lowercase).
In African languages such as Bemba, ng' (with an apostrophe) is widely used as a substitute in media where eng is hard to reproduce.
Similar Latin letters:
Similar Cyrillic letters: