The letter N can represent a few different sounds.
In normal situations, N has the same sound as the English N.
- nei, nýir, núll, kynnast, nágranninn
The breathy N sound is pronounced by moving your tongue into position to say N, but blowing air out of your nose instead of using your voice.
It appears when the next letter is t:
- planta, prenta, kynntist, beint
The same breathy N sound appears at the start of the words “hnífur, hné” where “hn” represents a breathy N.
N in the roof of the mouth
In the English word “long” the n is pronounced not with the tip of the tongue but instead by lifting the backwards part of your tongue up to the roof of your mouth.
The same appears in Icelandic when the letters “ng” are together:
- ungur, löng, lengi, syngja
Breathy N in the roof of the mouth
This sound is the same as the one above except that instead of using your voice you blow air out of your nose. To pronounce it, start with the “ng” in the English “long”, then silence your voice and blow air out of your nose.
- In “nk”:
- banki, frænka, punktur, Helsinki, einkunn, minnkaði
- In “ngt”:
- langt, algengt, rangt, þröngt
- nn – “nn” sounds like “dn” if it comes after an “ú” or an “í” sound (both are sounds where the tongue is close to the roof of the mouth). The letters that end in such sounds are ú, ó, á (all end in an ú sound) and í, ý, au, ei, ei, æ (all end in an í sound). The final “n” is not pronounced with the voice, instead you just place your tongue into the position of an “n” without making a sound.
- einn, fínn, brúnn, steinn, óhreinn, seinn, grænn
- sn – The letter cluster “sn” is pronounced “sdn”.
- snúa ([sdnúa]), asnalegt ([asdnalegt]), losnaði ([losdn])
The name of the letter is “enn”, same as in English.