When I first started discovering Spanish, i was perplexed why there to be a squiggle or squiggly dash end the letter N. After some research study on this topic, I determined to create a helpful write-up to explain the squiggle or squiggly dash over the letter N in Spanish.

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What is the squiggle over the letter N in Spanish? The squiggle over the letter Ñ in Spanish is dubbed a tilde (also referred to as a virgulilla in Spanish). Ñ is a letter the the alphabet developed by place a tilde over an uppercase or lowercase N.

But there’s much more to just placing the squiggly dash above an N. Us don’t usage it every time we have actually a word through the letter N in Spanish. So when you usage a consistent N or the one-of-a-kind Ñ, that is necessary to know the difference. Below, us take a deep dive right into the letter Ñ’s history, pronunciation, provide examples and discuss the cultural significance.

Detailed information on the Letter Ñ and How to usage It

As we disputed above, a squiggly dash or a squiggle over an “N” is dubbed a tilde. The tilde is offered to distinguish an “N “from one “Ñ”. In fact, this tilde above the N renders the letter “Ñ” a separate letter in the Spanish alphabet.

But whereby did the letter Ñ come from and also why execute we usage it today?

History of the Letter Ñ

Originally, the old Spanish language provided words with two continuous letters, such together nn. During the 12th century, Spanish scribes (whose task was come copy papers by hand) began using tildes over letters to show that the letter was doubled (scribes used ñ for nn and ã for aa). Over time, the popularity for making use of tildes above different letter faded, other than the letter Ñ survived.

Here is a attach to the middle ages scribe uncovered on Wikipedia showing the countless scribal abbreviations. Scribes do these abbreviation to conserve time and writing space on parchment (medieval paper), which was expensive. You deserve to see from the parchment photo found on Wikipedia that the scribes abbreviated several letters and words.

The transforms made by the middle ages scribes at some point resulted in a new letter to the Spanish alphabet. The letter Ñ come after N in the Spanish alphabet. Once you need to pronounce the letter Ñ, you say eñe (pronounced eh-nyeh). Below is an ext information on how to pronounce the letter Ñ in various words.

Pronunciation of the Letter Ñ

The letter Ñ has a various pronunciation than the letter N. The squiggly dash or tilde over the letter Ñ shows a different pronunciation, additionally called a palatal “n”. A palatal “n” is the sound made once you put your tongue top top the roof of her mouth to do the sound.

Here is a connect to Wikipedia the will offer you a rapid pronunciation of the letter Ñ (In the Wikipedia article, click the connect in the first sentence in ~ the height of the web page for “pronunciation”. Over there is a small speaker icon instantly to the left of words “pronunciation”.).

You can shot to make the sound through using some of the words we typically use in English. In English, the joint of the letter Ñ is comparable to the sound that “ny”, which is offered in the complying with words below:


Here are some examples in Spanish for exactly how to pronounce the letter Ñ in a word:

Mañana – pronounced as “man-YAN-a”Niña – pronounced as “NEEN-ya”Niño – pronounced as “NEEN-yo”

If girlfriend want an ext practice pronounce the letter Ñ, here is a link to a helpful video clip on YouTube.

Examples the the Letter Ñ supplied in Spanish Language

Año (“Year”)Mañana – this word equates to “tomorrow”, “morning” or “later”España (“Spain”)Señor (“Sir” or “Mister”)Señora (“Mrs.”)Señorita (“Miss”)Baño (“Bathroom”)Niño (“Boy”)Niña (“Girl”)Sueño (“Dream”)

Cultural meaning of the Letter Ñ to Spanish Language

Throughout the years, the letter Ñ has grown to stand for a feeling of pride for the Spanish language community.

Organizations choose Instituto Cervantes and the national Association of spain Journalists have adopted the letter Ñ. Spanish-language CNN has adjusted its logo design to place the tilde “~” over both NN’s. And as a funny nickname, the Spanish men’s nationwide basketball team is referred to as “ÑBA”, i m sorry is comparable to the USA men’s basketball league of the national Basketball association (NBA).

In the early 1990’s, a European ar report recommended the reversal that a regulation that forced the revenue of all computer assets in Spain to support the characters of the Spanish language and also writing system. This would certainly have allowed Spanish keyboards and also other standard products to not have actually the letter Ñ displayed. The reaction native the Spanish community was strongly versus the reversal of the regulation.

How to type the Squiggly Dash over the Letter N

Now that we know the use of the letter Ñ, exactly how do we type “Ñ” and “ñ” on our computers, smartphones, and tablets?

Spanish and also Latin American keyboards have actually their own separate keys for “Ñ” and “ñ”. In modern Spanish, there are no various other letters that use a tilde besides the “Ñ” and “ñ”. To make things easy for Spanish language keyboards, both the “Ñ” and “ñ” were assigned come a solitary mechanical typebar, which abandoned a an essential that was deemed insignificant, commonly the ​1⁄2—​1⁄4 key.

Below room tips and instructions that apply only come English-language keyboards, smartphones, and also tablets.

If you think you might forget these tips, make a cheat sheet next to your computer or develop a faster way on her device. When you go v these steps, girlfriend should have no trouble keying the letter ñ or Ñ.

On a Mac Computer

On one Apple Mac computer, keying the letter ñ or Ñ is quick and also easy. Merely press and also hold the alt/option key, then type the letter “n”. A tilde “˜” have to appear. Next, kind a lowercase or uppercase “n”. The an outcome will be either an ñ or Ñ.

Here that is again for fast reference:

Alt/Option + n, then n again = ñ

On a computer with Microsoft Windows

On a pc with Microsoft Office because that Windows, press “Ctrl” and “~” at the same time. Then, press the letter n to create ñ.

Here it is again for quick reference:

Press Ctrl + ~, then the letter n (Ctrl + ~ + n = ñ)

Another method I have uncovered to develop the letter ñ is to additionally include “Shift” when you are pressing Ctrl + ~. See below for a quick reference:

Press Ctrl + shift + ~, climate the letter n (Ctrl + shift + ~ + n = ñ)

On an iOS maker (i.e., iPhone, iPad, etc.)

Once again, the iOS device for iPhones and also iPads makes typing the letters ñ or Ñ super easy and intuitive. I had the ability to quickly produce these symbols on my wife’s iPhone and also my iPad.

First, traction up the keyboard on your an equipment whether it it is in under iMessage or one more app on her iOS device. Then, press and also hold “N”. After a short moment, a bubble must appear over the “n”. When the balloon appears, slide your finger as much as the ñ.

Be certain to slide your finger as much as the symbol. If you take her finger off of the keyboard, climate the ñ symbol will certainly disappear.

Also, if you want a capital Ñ, be certain that the capital letter Upper arrowhead on the keyboard has a white background through a black arrow pointing up. This will create the resources Ñ for you by adhering to the procedures above.

On one Android device

This time, Android devices additionally make that super easy and also intuitive for inputting the letters ñ or Ñ.

First, traction up the key-board on your Android device, such together your Message application for texts. Then, press and hold “N”. After a short moment, a bubble have to appear over the “n”. As soon as the balloon appears, slide your finger as much as the ñ.

Just prefer on the iphone phone or iPad, be sure to slide your finger approximately the symbol. If girlfriend take her finger turn off of the keyboard, then the ñ symbol will certainly disappear.

And if you desire a capital Ñ, be sure that the capital letter Upper arrow on the keyboard has a gray background through the arrowhead pointing up outlined in blue (FYI – this is what appears on mine Samsung Galaxy). This will produce the resources Ñ because that you by complying with the measures above.

Related Questions

Is a squiggle used over an N in various other languages as well as Spanish? other languages that use the letter Ñ in some kind are Galician, Asturian, Basque, Chavacano, some Phillippine languages (especially Filipino and Visayan), Chamorro, Guarani, Quechua, Mapudungun, Mandinka, and Tetum alphabets. For a comprehensive explanation, visit Wikipedia here.

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Why is a tilde likewise referred to as a virgulilla in Spanish? In some instances, Spanish language users have adopted the indigenous virgulilla to describe the tilde and also the “~” is not even considered an accent mark in Spanish, yet instead considered a component of the letter Ñ. Further, over there is controversy on web forums even if it is the term tilde or virgulilla space the suitable terms come properly define the “~” in the Spanish language.