post thumbnail

Why do the nose and the letter N go together?  Well, of course, you need your nose to properly pronounce this letter. If you don’t believe me, either wait until you catch a bad cold, or close your nose with your fingers and pronounce something like ‘Nine nannies and nine nuns’. Together with its sister and neighbour M, N is the only nasal in English (and I can safely say in Italian too).

However, I might go as far as to say that, although M and N are almost twins and definitely sisters, N is a bit cooler. M is easy to pronounce, as it is formed by the lips, whereas N is heard when the tongue hits the hard palate.

So, now a bit of history about this cool geometric letter. N was actually invented by the Semitics or Egyptians by copying an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic picture of a snake. This is a bit confusing, as in the Phoenician alphabet the ancient nun meant ‘fish’, so nothing to do with a snake. In the ancient Semitic language, the word for snake was nahash, and this was probably what the letter was called at the beginning, since that term starts with N too. But later on, M and N were put one next to the other in the alphabet, as they were so similar. During the passing of time the shape of N started resembling more and more that of M and, in order to make it easier for the Semitic children to learn the alphabet, came to denote water (the M) and fish (the N), as they were easier associations to make than ‘water’ and ‘snake’.

N is quite a popular letter in the English alphabet. In printed English, it ranks 5th-6th among the most used letters, just behind E, T, A and O or I. In math, I am pretty sure that we have all seen the symbol n at least once. As in this equation 0 x n = 0, n indicates an indefinite number. In Italian, the symbol indicates Numero (number) and corresponds to the English Nr, but is used in addresses too, so it is often the case that you see something like Via Verdi N°3.

And finally, I have found a big N in the Italian translation of a recent film about Napoleon. Whereas the original title in English is Napoleon and me, the Italian version is N (io e Napoleone). Also, how can we forget the squashed N between 2 apostrophes as to replace and, such as in Grab’n’Go?

disney-institute-lingua-translations 178 × 75
amazon-lingua-translations 120 × 28
procter-gamble - Lingua Translations 114 × 92
london-partners-lingua-translations 154 × 101
Swansea City | Lingua Translations 154 x 146
Man City | Lingua Translations 154 × 154
FC_Barcelona_(crest) 154 × 156
Star_Wars_Logo.svg_-1 1280 × 773
FiFA | lingua Translations 154 × 86
The-Score 232x120
M & S 271 × 186
Walmart-Lingua Translations 232 × 65
Welsh Government & Lingua Translations 400 × 400
Costco & Lingua Translations 232 × 155

 

TUI-Group Testimonial 205 × 46 EN

Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

“Lingua Translations provides instant multi-lingual options for TUI’s 24/7 Holidayline, so 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year TUI’s customers are connected to an interpreter instantaneously. This service is designed to help holidaymakers who find themselves in difficulty and require non-English language assistance.

The service offered by Lingua Translations provides us with instant translation for every destination we travel to, and has proved invaluable.”

Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

The French open 2018 Roland Garros is almost here!     On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could …

Read More

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Russia

FIFA World Cup 2018 The domestic football season has ended we now know our national champions for the year. Next up are the finals of the Champions League and some domestic tournaments. This can only mean 1 thing now – the internationals are approaching! The FIFA world cup is 1 month away! Every 4 years …

Read More
Get a quote today