Ę (minuscule: ę; Polish E z ogonkiem, "E with a little tail"; Lithuanian e nosinė, "e nasal") is a letter in the Polish alphabet, Lithuanian alphabet, and the Dalecarlian alphabet. It is used in Navajo to represent the nasal vowel . In Latin, Irish, and Old Norse palaeography, it is known as E caudata (tailed E).

In Polish

In Polish, ę comes after e in the alphabet but is never the start of a word. It is most commonly pronounced as /ɛw̃/, /ɛn/, /ɛm/, or /ɛ/, depending on the context.

Unlike in French, a Polish nasal vowel is asynchronous and so is pronounced as an oral vowel + a nasal semivowel [ɛw̃] or a nasal vowel + a nasal semivowel. For the sake of simplicity, it is sometimes transcribed [ɛ̃].

Some examples,

Before all stops and affricates, it is pronounced as an oral vowel + nasal consonant, with /ɛn/ before most consonants, while /ɛm/ appears before p, b, w, or f; and /ɛɲ/ appears before palatal consonants ć, ; before palatal sibilants ś and ź it is either /ɛɲ/ or (more frequently) [ɛj͂]. For example,

If ę is the final letter of a word, or if it is followed by either L or Ł, some Poles will pronounce it simply as [ɛ]. For example, będę ("I will (be)") can be either [ˈbɛndɛ] or [ˈbɛndɛ̃], similarly dziękuję ("thank you") can be either [dʑɛŋˈkujɛ] or [dʑɛŋˈkujɛ̃].

In dialects of some regions, ę in final position is also pronounced as /ɛm/, thus, robię is occasionally pronounced as [ˈrɔbjɛm]. Such a way of nonstandard speaking is a "trademark" of the former Polish President Lech Wałęsa, and some of his sentences, often transcribed to reflect the pronunciation, e.g. "Nie chcem, ale muszem" (properly written "Nie chcę, ale muszę"; eng. "I don't want to, but I have to") became a part of popular language.


Polish ę evolved from short nasal a of medieval Polish, which developed into a short nasal e in the modern language. This medieval vowel, along with its long counterpart, evolved in turn from the merged nasal *ę and *ǫ of Late Proto-Slavic. Thus,

Early Proto-Slavic *em/*en and *am/*an
Late Proto-Slavic /ẽ/ and /õ/, transcribed by ę and ǫ
Medieval Polish short and long /ã/, written approximately ø
Modern Polish short /ã//ɛw̃/, /ɛn/, /ɛm/, written ę

long /ã//ɔw̃/, /ɔn/, /ɔm/, written ą


ę often alternates with ą, for example:

Audio examples


With some forms of noun, ę is used at the end of the word to construct accusative case, as in eglę, accusative of eglė (spruce). It is also used when converting the past tense verb into participle (tempęs - somebody who has pulled (lit. tempė) in the past.

Nasal en/em forms have transitioned to being pronounced [e:] as in kęsti (to suffer) - kenčia (is suffering or suffers) so ę is no longer nasal.

In some cases ą, ę and į (never ė) may be used in different forms interchangeably, as in tąsa (extension) - tęsia (extends) - tįsoti (to lie extended). Finally, some verbs have it in the middle of the word, only in the present tense (gęsta - is going off (fire, light), but not užgeso (went off).[1]

Unlike with į or ą, no known Lithuanian word starts with ę.[2]

Computer use

Character Ę ę
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 280 U+0118 281 U+0119
UTF-8 196 152 C4 98 196 153 C4 99
Numeric character reference Ę Ę ę ę
ISO 8859-2 / ISO 8859-4 202 CA 234 EA
ISO 8859-10 221 DD 253 FD

See also


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/14/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.