Nh (digraph)

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


African languages

In some African languages, nh is used to represent a dental [].[clarification needed]

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

Asian languages

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 sometimes used nh to represent a prepalatal [[[Error using {{IPAsym}}: IPA symbol "ɲ̟" not found in list|ɲ̟]]]. 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

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

European languages


In Occitan, nh represents a palatal [ɲ].

For n·h, see Interpunct#Occitan.


In Portuguese, nh represents a palatal [ɲ]. It is not considered a distinct letter. Portuguese borrowed this digraph from Occitan.[1]


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

  • According to the Real Academia Galega norm, nh represents a velar [ŋ], while ñ represents a palatal [ɲ].
  • According to the reintegrationist norm, mh represents a velar nasal [ŋ], while nh represents a palatal [ɲ].

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


In Welsh, nh is a voiceless /n/.


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

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