How To Say N

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N is an earlier developing sound. Typically, children master N by 3 years of age.

How To Say N

Below is a brief explanation on what all the articulators (tongue, lips, teeth, jaw, breath, voice) must do to say /n/correctly. 

Lips: Lips are in a neutral position (not rounded) with a slight gap

Tongue: The tongue tip presses against the alveolar ridge (the bumpy part on the roof of mouth behind the top teeth)

Teeth: They are relaxed in a resting position

Jaw: The jaw is up and centered

Breath: /N/ is a nasal sound which means the air escapes through the nose. Say /n/ while touching your nose. You should feel a vibration! 

Voice: /N/ is a voiced sound so the voice box is turned on

Please say N in front of a mirror and look and feel what all your muscles are doing. Once you have a good handle on how to say N, you can now better teach your child.

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How to use this section:

I will introduce all cues that I find helpful. Please read and become familiar with each one. You will not use all of them. Instead, when you are ready to start practicing, you will try a few and figure out which ones are most helpful for your child. Most likely, you will use a combination of a few. Please refer back to this section as needed!

Speech therapists use a variety of cues during therapy including tactile (touch), verbal (words), and visual (visual models/mirrors) to elicit a correct sound production. Below are the most useful cues for N.


  1. Get out a mirror and have your child put their tongue on the "bumpy part"
  2. Model what a correct /n/looks like and have your child copy
  3. Open your mouth wide, to show where the tongue is

For visual cues to work, make sure your child is looking at you. Point to my mouth to bring a child's attention there.


  1. Say “tongue up”
  2. Say “use /n/ sound”
  3. Say "make nose buzz”


  1. Touch your child's bumpy part (alveolar ridge) with a spoon or sucker to help him/her find it
  2. Place a dab of peanut butter or yogurt on the bumpy part and then have him/her find it with their tongue

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What's Next

Now that your know how to say N and what cues are helpful, head over to Teach N to start teaching and practicing!

› How To Say N


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