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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ą (minuscule: ą) is a letter in the Polish, Kashubian, Lithuanian, Creek, Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Gwich'in, Tutchone, and Elfdalian alphabets. It is formed from the letter a and an ogonek and usually denotes a nasal a sound.



In Polish and Kashubian ą is right after a in the alphabet but it never appears at the start of a word.

Originally ą was a nasal a but in modern times the pronunciation of this vowel has shifted to a nasal o sound.

Unlike those in French (but rather like Portuguese ão), nasal vowels in Polish are asynchronous, meaning that they are pronounced as an oral vowel + a nasal semivowel, or a nasal vowel + a nasal semivowel. For instance, ą might be more accurately represented as [ɔw̃] but for the sake of simplicity, it is usually represented as /ɔ̃/.

Some examples,

  • obowiązek ("duty", "obligation"), pronounced [ɔbɔˈvjɔ̃zɛk]
  • robią ("They are making"), pronounced [ˈrɔbjɔ̃]
  • wciąż ("still"), pronounced [ˈftɕɔ̃ʂ]

Before all stops and affricates, it is pronounced as an oral vowel + nasal consonant. The nasal consonant may be either m (before p or b) or n (all other cases). For example,

  • kąpać ("to bathe") is pronounced [ˈkɔmpatɕ]
  • pająk ("spider") is pronounced [ˈpajɔŋk]
  • Bądź cierpliwy! ("Be patient!") is pronounced [ˈbɔɲtɕ]
  • oglądając ("(by) watching") is pronounced [ɔɡlɔnˈdajɔnts]


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

Late Proto-Slavic /ẽ/ and /õ/, represented by ę and ǫ
Medieval Polish long and short /ã/, sometimes written approx. as ø
Modern Polish long /ã/ → short /ɔ̃/, written ą

short /ã/ → short /ɛ̃/, written ę


ą often alternates with ę, for example:

  • tooth: ząbzęby (teeth), thousand: tysiąctysięcy (thousands), snake: wążwęże (snakes)
  • husband in nominative: mąż → z mężem (with husband, in instrumental case)
  • row in nominative: rząd → cztery razy z rzędu (four times in a row, in genitive case)

[but note that in words derived from rząd (government) the vowel does not change]
government in nominative: rząd → rozporządzenie rządu (government's ordinance, in genitive case)

  • weight: ciężarciążyć (to weigh down, to be a burden), month: miesiącmiesięczny (monthly)

Audio examples

  • About this sound wąż (snake)
  • About this sound mąż (husband)


In Lithuanian, it formerly indicated a nasal a but the nasal quality has since been lost. In the modern language ą is pronounced as a long a.

The Americas

In some indigenous languages of the Americas, ą denotes a nasal a sound.


Computer use

See also

The Basic modern Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letter A with diacritics
Letters using ogonek sign

history palaeography derivations diacritics punctuation numerals Unicode list of letters ISO/IEC 646


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



The Latin script
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Variations of letter A
Letters using ogonek sign

Ąą Ęę Įį Ǫǫ Ųų


Ą upper case (lower case ą)

  1. The letter A with an ogonek.



Ą (upper case, lower case ą)

  1. The second letter of the Polish alphabet, following A and preceding B, representing the phoneme /ɔ̃/.

Simple English

This page is about the first letter in the alphabet.
For the indefinite article, see Article (grammar).
For other uses of A, see A (disambiguation)
The Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

A is the first letter of the English alphabet. a is a usual symbol for a low central vowel, as in "father"; the English long a (ā) is pronounced as a diphthong of ĕ and y. The corresponding letter of the Greek alphabet is named alpha. Alpha and omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, symbolize the beginning and the end. In musical notation the letter A is the symbol of a note in the scale, below B and above G.

  • A is the letter that was formerly used to represent a team in an old TV show, The A Team.
Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

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