Can ん (N) start a Japanese sentence?

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Have you ever wondered if there are words or phrases in Japanese that start with hiragana ん (n)? The answer is YES, in this article we will examine some examples of words and phrases that start with this hiragana.

ん is the only kana that does not have a vowel, and there are few words that begin using that ん. Most of these words tend to be slang, dialect or words borrowed from foreign languages.

Slang and Dialects

んなばかな!

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Slang from そんなばかな

んなわけねぇだろう!

Slang from そんなわけねぇだろう

These 2 words are slang to give a strong emphasis on: “no way, it can't be like that!”

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んやろう 

Slang for: このやろう

Meaning: bastard, you…

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んと···

Meaning: umm…

んだと?!

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Slang for: なんだと!

Meaning: what the hell did you just say ?!

んだ = What?

We noticed a certain similarity between the syllable “un” and the hiragana ん (N).

Borrowed words

The ん (N) is used at the beginning of foreign words like "Ngorongoro", which is transcribed as ンゴロンゴロ. Some words originating from the Okinawa dialect as a word for miso, nnsu (written as ンース). 

The ん (N) is also used to create words that have Nwa, Nwi, Nwe, Nwo. Here are some examples:

  • んうぉ / んをンウォ / ンヲ = Nwoya District (ンウォヤ・ディストリクト Nwoya Disutorikuto)
  • んうぇ / んゑンウェ / ンヱ Nwenaing (ンウェナイング Nwenaingu)
  • んうぃ / んゐンウィ / ンヰ Nwisd (ンウィスド Nwisudo)

The ん also reminds us of the shiritori game whose objective is to form words that start with the kana that ends the inner word, whoever speaks a word ending with ん loses, since there are almost no words that start with ん, and it is forbidden to use slang and foreign words.