|This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.|
Ą (minuscule: ą) is a letter in the Polish, Kashubian, Lithuanian, Creek, Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Osage, Hocąk, Mescalero, Gwich'in, Tutchone, and Elfdalian alphabets. It is formed from the letter a and an ogonek and usually, except for modern Polish, denotes a nasal a sound.
In Polish and Kashubian, ą is right after a in the alphabet but never appears at the beginning of a word. Originally ą was a nasal a but in modern times, its pronunciation has shifted to a nasal o sound. It is most commonly pronounced as /ɔw̃/, /ɔn/, /ɔm/.
Unlike French but rather like Portuguese ão, nasal vowels in Polish are asynchronous: they are pronounced as an oral vowel + a nasal semivowel [ɔw̃] or a nasal vowel + a nasal semivowel. For the sake of simplicity, it is sometimes represented as /ɔ̃/:
- obowiązek("duty", "obligation"), pronounced [ɔbɔˈvjɔw̃zɛk]
- robią ("They are making"), pronounced [ˈrɔbjɔw̃]
- wciąż ("still"), pronounced [ˈftɕɔw̃ʂ]
- kąpać ("to bathe") is pronounced [ˈkɔmpatɕ]
- pająk ("spider") is pronounced [ˈpajɔŋk]
- bądź (imperative be), as in Bądź cierpliwy! ("Be patient!") is pronounced [ˈbɔɲtɕ]
- oglądając ("(by) watching") is pronounced [ɔɡlɔnˈdajɔnts]
In dialects of some regions, ą in final position is also pronounced as /ɔm/, thus, robią is occasionally pronounced as [ˈrɔbjɔm].
Polish ą evolved from long nasal a of medieval Polish, which developed into a short nasal o in the modern language. The medieval vowel, along with its short counterpart, evolved in turn from the merged nasal *ę and *ǫ of Late Proto-Slavic.
|Early Proto-Slavic||*em/*en/*im/*in and *am/*an/*um/*un|
|Late Proto-Slavic||/ẽ/ and /õ/, transcribed ⟨ę⟩ and ⟨ǫ⟩|
|Medieval Polish||short and long /ã/, sometimes written approx. ⟨ø⟩|
|Modern Polish||short /ã/ → /ɛw̃/, /ɛn/, /ɛm/, written ⟨ę⟩
long /ã/ → /ɔw̃/, /ɔn/, /ɔm/, written ⟨ą⟩
Another explanation is connected to the adoption of the Old Czech-style orthography of the Latin alphabet to write Polish at the turn of the 16th century. In Poland-Lithuania, Latin still dominated in writing in the Kingdom of Poland, and the Cyrillic-based vernacular of Ruthenian had been in official use in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since the 13th century. In pronunciation, the Church Cyrillic letter big yus (Ѫ ѫ) corresponds to the pronunciation of the Polish ą. However, it is little yus (Ѧ ѧ) (phonetically similar to ęthat is strikingly similar to the Latin alphabet initial letter (A, a) plus the ogonek. Some believe that the letter gave the beginning to the diacritic of ogonek, resulting in the letter ą for denoting the nasal o, when it logically should have been rather ǫ than ą. When the ogonek had already been in place as the diacritic for marking nasality in vowels, it was appened to e, resulting in ę for nasal e.
The letter often alternates with ę:
- tooth: ząb → zęby (teeth), thousand: tysiąc → tysięcy (thousands), snake: wąż → węże (snakes)
- husband in nominative: mąż → z mężem (with husband, in instrumental case)
- weight: ciężar → ciążyć (to weigh down, to be a burden), month: miesiąc → miesięczny (monthly), a judge: sędzia → sądzić (to judge, think)
- row in nominative: rząd → cztery razy z rzędu (four times in a row, genitive case)
The letter is most often found at the end of the noun to construct an ending of accusative case, as in aslą [a:sla:], the accusative of asla (ground, floor); both a and ą in aslą are pronounced equally as two long a sounds. Thus, ą is used to distinguish between the transcription of accusative and the nominative cases of the noun asla.
Nasal an/am forms are now pronounced [a:] as in sąrašas (list) and san-grąža (turnover, return).
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 l, some verbs have it in the middle of a word but only in the present tense (bąla - is getting white, but not pabalo - has become white).
The letter can also be found at the beginning of several words (ąsotis [a:so:tis] (jug)).
|This section needs expansion.|
In some indigenous languages of the Americas, the letter denotes a nasal a sound:
|This section needs expansion.|
|UTF-8||196 132||C4 84||196 133||C4 85|
|Numeric character reference||Ą||Ą||ą||ą|
|ISO-8859-13 and Windows-1257||192||C0||224||E0|
|ISO-8859-2 and ISO-8859-4||161||A1||177||B1|
|Mac Central European||132||84||136||88|