¿Cuál es el origen de la letra ñ?

La ñ es la letra más característica del español. Incluso del Instituto Cervantes tiene una ñ escondida en su logo. Pero, ¿cuál es su origen y cuándo comenzó a utilizarse?

Según nos indican todas las fuentes, la letra ñ nació en la Edad Media, cuando los monjes copistas y escribanos de los monasterios, ante la falta de papel y pergamino, se vieron obligados a abreviar algunas letras para poder encajar el mayor número de palabras en cada línea de texto.

Letter Ñ. Instituto Cervantes Logo.

Concretamente, la ñ era originalmente una n doble (nn).

Para ahorrar espacio, lo que se hizo fue hacer la n normal y añadir otra, de tamaño pequeño, sobre ella, dando lugar a la virguilla achatada que todos conocemos (~).

No fue el único caso abreviatura de letras: por ejemplo, la doble v (vv) se transformó en una letra propia (la w).

También es posible que la ñ naciera para “dar voz” a algunos fonemas heredados del latín y que a los hispanohablantes nos resultaba complicado pronunciar.

the letter ñ originated in the Middle Ages

Hablamos de la combinación “nn” (por ejemplo, en annus o en donna), pero también de otras como “mn” (en palabras como somnus), “gn” (en palabras como pugnus), “ng” (en palabras como ringere) o “ni” + vocal (en palabras como senior).

Este sería el origen de palabras de origen latino españolizadas como año, doña, sueño, puño, reñir o señor.

Aun así, la Real Academia Española no incorporó oficialmente la letra ñ en el abecedario español ¡hasta 1803!

Royal Spanish Academy

Pero el español no es el único idioma que utiliza la ñ. También la incluyen en su abecedario otras lenguas oficiales de España, como el gallego, el asturiano o el euskera, además del mapuche, el quechua, el kiliwa (estos tres últimos, en América Latina), el bretón, las lenguas nilo-saharianas, el tagalo filipino o el tártaro de Crimea.

Aquí tienes algunas palabras con ñ. ¿Sabes qué significan? ¿Conoces alguna más?

  • Acuñar (To coin)
  • Albañil (Bricklayer)
  • Añil (Indigo)
  • Bañador (Swimsuit)
  • Buñuelo (Fritter)
  • Castaña (Chestnut)
  • Mañana (Tomorrow/Morning)
  • Champiñón (Mushroom)
  • Aliño (Dressing)
  • Cariño (Affection)
  • Dueño (Owner)
  • Aguileño (Aquiline)
  • Sueño (Dream)
  • Alimaña (Vermin)
  • Apaño (Fix)
  • Campiña (Countryside)
  • Caña (Cane/Rod)
  • Empuñar (To grasp)
  • Engañar (To deceive)
  • Escrudiñar (To scrutinize)
  • Hogareño (Homey)
  • Isleño (Islander)
  • Montaña (Mountain)
  • Leña (Firewood)
  • Otoño (Autumn)
  • Pañal (Diaper)
  • Rapiñar (To plunder)
  • Piñata (Piñata)
  • Muñeca (Doll/Wrist)
  • Patraña (Hoax)
  • Señal (Signal)
  • Ponzoña (Poison)
  • Desteñido (Faded)

Esta es la fascinante historia de la letra ñ, una parte integral y única de la lengua española y de otras lenguas del mundo.

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¿Cuál es el origen de la letra ñ? 2
Roderick C Avatar
Roderick C
5 star rating
Great Week at Taronja Both my children have been to Taronja to work on their their Spanish (my daughter four times so far) and have both made excellent progress. Then, at long last, Dad made it too! I was looking for an advanced course, which can be difficult to find in smaller schools so it was great to find somewhere that can offer courses at a more demanding level, and even better, that are well taught. All this was backed up with daily printouts of the topics and new vocabulary that arose as we went along. Plenty of great extracurricular laid on outside the formal teaching. Inevitably this was better suited for those a wee bit younger than myself but my two (18 and 21) had an absolute ball! I opted to stay with a Spanish family and was very lucky to be assigned someone who was not only great company but who upon discovering it was my birthday, even laid on a birthday party for me!
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sandra15x9
I spent 3 months at the Taronja School and had the best time ever! I started from scratch but the school and its methods taught me Spanish very well. You can make a lot of friends through the activities and experience a lot of culture for a small price. I'd recommend going there for your Spanish studies as well as for the fun.
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Elena De Lazzari Avatar
Elena De Lazzari
Hi guys! I'm Elena, a 30yo Italian girl from Venice. I spent 3 weeks in the beautiful city of Valencia 4 years ago, it was my first vacation in Spain and I decided to start learning the language doing a course in Taronja. What a great choice! Days passed by super quickly, I really enjoyed the time I spent there as I felt part of a huge family. They propose interesting activities every day and night and during the week end, supporting people in interacting and meeting new friends. I learnt a lot, Professors were kind and professional and the method they use is the best I tried up to now. I planned my vacations in Barcelona, Malaga and Madrid, always matching with Spanish lessons, during the following 3 years but Taronja remains my favourite. Swapping courses timing every day gives you a lot of free time to go to the beach or visit the city. Nice idea the cooking lessons, too! Super positive feedback for you guys! That's why I decided to come back this August to spend a month with you! See you soon Elena
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Julia Zisman Avatar
Julia Zisman
I would like to thank everyone for the experience! I really needed to improve the grammar, and I think this school was the first one where I could really feel some improvement (even though I was there for only two weeks). And they have many nice activities, so, you'll always have interesting options for how to spend your time outside the classroom. Another nice thing about the school is that they change the time of your classes during the high season (which is summer), so, you'll be able to have mornings and evenings free depending on the day. You also get to have classes with different teachers, cause they change every week, and then during one week you'll have two different ones. So, that's good too. Nice school! Definitely worth considering if you are thinking of learning Spanish in Valencia.
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45545 Avatar
45545
5 star rating
Amazing summer learning Spanish with Taronja I was here for two months in summer and had a really positive experience. I actually booked only for one month but ended up extending for an extra month. The classes were fun, interesting, and I felt comfortable talking, learning, (and making mistakes), with my classmates mad teachers. You need an intital assesment of your spanish skills (quick questionnaire, and a couple of minutes speaking) and then get placed into a class for your level. However, if it is too difficult, or easy, there is no problem with changing class, and I found the staff, and the headteacher, Jenny, very friendly and easy to talk to, and always happy to help with anything.
It is easy to make friends, which is important if you are coming here on your own (like me) and there were social acitivties every night. These ranged from paella nights, language exchanges, and generally drinking and socialising. Always fun. I was here in summer which would offer a bigger social life compared to low-season/ winter etc.
The lessons are varied and you use handouts, quiz games, group tasks, videos, songs, etc, in order to learn in a varied way.
I would recommend to anyone who values a more fun and social atmosphere to learn and I definitely feel like I improved a lot. In 2 months, I went from a low A2, to a B1 level, and I had a lot of practice actually speaking the Spanish that I had learned.
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Sarah Berryman Avatar
Sarah Berryman
A friendly school with great teachers and nice facilities. I was only there for a week but my confidence in speaking improved significantly. I came on my own but it was so easy to make friends through all the social activities and I loved meeting people from all over the world from ages 19-70. I had an amazing time and hope I can go back for longer next summer!
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rusa_viajadora
5 star rating
Замечательная школа Брала две недели уроков испанского языка, они просто пролетели за одно мгновение) Школа потрясающая-современные аудитории, индивидуальный подход, на протяжении всего обучения ощущается мощная поддержка, как будто оказываешься в кругу семьи. После занятий (а они идут зиг-загом, то есть в один день можно отоспаться подольше, а в другой день наборот-встать пораньше и посмотреть закат на пляже, к примеру. Сам город тоже очень интересный, есть множество мест, которые стоит посетить-например, по воскресеньям все муниципальные музеи бесплатны.
Жила в квартире, предложенной от школы, она располагалась в самом центре и в 10 минутах ходьбы от самой школы-очень удобно.Также в школе есть огромная вариация культурных мероприятий-после учебы не заскучаешь 🙂 Можно сходить послушать песни на испанскомкаждый вторник это вечера паэльи, когда собирается вместе вся школаеженедельные экскурсии по городу. В общем, замечательная школа и собираюсь сюда вернуться еще ни раз!!
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petersQ3664BU Avatar
petersQ3664BU
5 star rating
Great experience! Great classes, great way to learn new cultures and new people. Just an amazing experience! I highly recommend it to everyone!
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