Ą (minuscule: ą) is a letter in the Polish, Kashubian, Lithuanian, Creek, Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, 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 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. It is most commonly pronounced as,, .
Unlike 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 the sake of simplicity, it is sometimes represented as .
Loss of all nasal quality is rare with ą, occurring only before Ł, thus, zajął .
In dialects of some regions, ą in final position is also pronounced as, thus, robią is occasionally pronounced as .
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||and, transcribed ⟨ę⟩ and ⟨ǫ⟩|
|Medieval Polish||short and long, sometimes written approx. ⟨ø⟩|
|Modern Polish||short →,,, written ⟨ę⟩|
long →,,, written ⟨ą⟩
ą often alternates with ę, for example:
In Lithuanian language ą is pronounced as a long a. It is the second letter of Lithuanian alphabet called "a nosinė" - "nasal a". Ą can be found at the beginning of a word (ąsotis [a:so:tis] (jug)) or to construct an ending of accusative case as in aslą [a:sla:] - accusative of asla (ground, floor) - where 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 have transitioned to pronouncing [a:] as in sąrašas (list) ~ san-grąža (turnover, return).
In some indigenous languages of the Americas, ą denotes a nasal a sound.
|Unicode name||colspan=2||LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH OGONEK||colspan=2||LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH OGONEK|
|UTF-8||196 132||C4 84||196 133||C4 85|
|Numeric character reference||&||&||&||&|
|ISO-8859-2 and ISO-8859-4||161||A1||177||B1|
|Mac Central European||132||84||136||88|