The Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye, the treatise introducing the principles behind the Korean alphabet written by its inventor King Sejong in 1446, explains that this glyph was derived from the "outline of the tongue touching the upper palate" (presumably in profile of a person facing left), reflecting the coronal nature of the consonant /n/. According to Sejong, the letters ㄷ (d) and ㅌ (t) were created by adding strokes to ㄴ, because all three are coronal sounds.
Gari Ledyard proposes that Sejong derived ㄴ from the lower part of ㄷ, which he believes was itself inspired by the the 'Phags-pa letter ꡊ (t). Ledyard gives evidence that that Sejong was inspired by 'Phags-pa for the basic glyph forms, although he changed the shapes of the letters drastically in order to enhance the simplicity and rationality of his script, and the ultimate shape of the letters may indeed have been influenced by that of the speech organs (Ledyard 1997).
- IPA(key): /n/
- Actual realisation:
- (mostly) IPA(key): [n]
- (after /l/) IPA(key): [l]
- (before /l/, in some words) IPA(key): [l]
ㄴ • (n)
- 니은 (nieun, “nieun”), the second jamo (letter) of hangeul; the alveolar nasal (/n/)
- ㄷ (d) (according to Sejong)
From Middle Korean ㄴ (n). See 은 (eun) for more.
ㄴ • (n)
- Colloquial spoken post-vowel allomorphic form of 은 (eun, topic marker).
This form is especially frequent after very common words, such as personal pronouns or 거 (geo, “thing”). It is not used in writing other than highly colloquial registers.
||는 (neun) (general)
||ㄴ (n) (colloquial)
First attested in the Yongbi eocheonga (龍飛御天歌 / 용비어천가), 1447, as Middle Korean ᄂᆞ (Yale: no).
—ㄴ • (-n)
- a present tense suffix
- 가다 (gada, “to go”) → 그녀도 간다. (Geunyeodo ganda, “She goes as well.”)
나는 그녀도 간다는 소식을 들었다.
- Naneun geunyeodo gandaneun sosigeul deureotda.
- I heard the news that she goes as well.
The suffix ㄴ (-n-) is directly attached to the stem of a verb ending in a vowel or the consonant ㄹ (l), which drops out.
- E.g. 살다 (salda, “to live”) → 나는 강릉에 산다. (Naneun Gangneung-e sanda., “I live in Gangneung.”)
—는— (neun-) is used instead when the stem ends in a consonant other than ㄹ (l).
First attested in the Seokbo sangjeol (釋譜詳節 / 석보상절), 1447, as Middle Korean ᄋᆞᆫ, 은 (Yale: on, un).
—ㄴ • (-n)
- past adnominal suffix for verbal stems, loosely equivalent to English "that" or "which"
너가 어제 빌린 사전
- neoga eoje billin sajeon
- The dictionary which you have borrowed yesterday
그것이 그녀가 남편을 죽인 이야기이다.
- Geugeosi geunyeoga nampyeoneul jugin iyagiida.
- That is the story, in which she kills her husband.
- realis adnominal suffix for adjectival stems
The suffix ㄴ (-n) is appended to the sequential form. If the stem ends in the consonant ㄹ (l), it drops out.
- e.g. 새벽 하늘이 아름답다. (아름다우니) (Saebyeok haneuri areumdapda. (areumdauni), “The sky at daybreak is beautiful.”) → 아름다운 새벽 하늘 (areumdaun saebyeok haneul, “the beautiful sky at daybreak”)
- 트럭에 목재를 싣다 (실으니) (teureoge mokjaereul sitda (sireuni), “to load a truck with wood”) → 목재를 실은 트럭 (mokjaereul sireun teureok, “a truck which sb had loaded with wood”)
- 비바람이 모질다. (모지니/모질면) (Bibarami mojilda. (mojini/mojilmyeon), “The storm is harsh.”) → 모진 비바람 (mojin bibaram, “the harsh storm”)
- 는 (neun, “present tense marker for a verb”)
- 던 (deon, “retrospect past tense marker”)
- ㄹ (l, “future tense marker”)
Contraction of 너라 (neora).
—ㄴ • (-n)
- a plain style imperative ending used only for 오다 (oda, “to come”); usually told to babies and pets, offering friendlier and softer sense.
아가, 이리 온.
- Aga, iri on.
- Dear baby, come here!