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



Slang from そんなばかな


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!”



Slang for: このやろう

Meaning: bastard, you…



Meaning: umm…



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.