IPA phoneme /n/

From Teflpedia

n

noon /nuːn/

In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /n/ corresponds to the initial consonant sound in words like "nice" and "know" and the final one in "one" and "can".

Common words[edit]

Initial pronunciation of /n/:

  • knee - knife - knock - know - name - near - need - never - new - next - nice - night - note - nothing - now - number

Final pronunciation of /n/:

  • again - begin - between - can - down - even - happen - man - mean - own - question - run - then - turn - when - woman

Middle pronunciation of /n/:

  • as "n": company - country - end - enough - interest - many - money - understand
  • as "nn": announce - annual - channel - connection - dinner - funny - manner

/n.n/ vs /n/[edit]

  • /n.n/: meanness, unknown, unnatural, unnecessary
  • /n/: cannot, innate, innovation

If a word cannot be separated in two components (such as mean-ness or can-not) then there is no doubt that the pronunciation is /n/.

  • announce, annual, connection, dinner, funny

Assimilation[edit]

Before /k/ or /g/, /n/ can optionally be pronounced [ŋ] as in an alternative pronunciation of income as [ˈɪŋkʌm]. There are no minimal pairs in which the difference is /nk/ and /ŋk/, or /ng/ and /ŋg/.

In many words the combinations "nc", "nch", "nk" and "nq" represent /ŋk/, as in uncle, anchor, ink and banquet. In many words "ng" represents /ŋg/ as in finger and kangaroo.

Before /p/ or /b/, /n/ can be pronounced [m] as in an alternative pronunciation of input as [ˈɪmpʊt].[1] There are no minimal pairs in which the difference is /np/ and /mp/, or /nb/ and /mb/, however these two words are very similar:

  • impatient /ɪmˈpeɪʃənt/ - inpatient /ˈɪnpeɪʃənt/.

Before /f/ or /v/, /n/ and /m/ may be neutralized and pronounced [ɱ], a labiodental nasal.[2] This explains common misspellings such as *comfirmation.

Assimilation may occur across word boundaries: "in case" pronounced [ɪŋ ˈkeɪs], "in place" pronounced [ɪm ˈpleɪs] and "in front" pronounced [iɱ frʌnt].

Lack of assimilation[edit]

The following words are shown with /nk/ in most dictionaries.

  • With "nc": conclude - conclusion - encourage - include - income - incorporate - increase - unclear
  • With "nch": melancholic - melancholy
  • With "nk": mankind - painkiller - pancake - unkind
  • With "nq": enquire - inquire - unquestionable

The following words are shown with /ng/ in most dictionaries.

  • congratulate, engage, engrave, ingrained, ingredient, sunglasses, ungrateful

The following words are shown with /nb/ in most dictionaries.

  • bonbon, cranberry, rainbow, sunbathe, unbearable, unbelievable

The following words are shown with /np/ in most dictionaries.

  • gunpowder, inpatient, input, unpack, unpleasant, unpopular

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit]

Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.

Spanish[edit]

Assimilation is normal in Spanish. Not only [ˈimput] as a Spanish word is more common than [ˈinput], the latter can hardly be pronounced.

Chinese[edit]

Southern Chinese often confuse /n/ with /l/.

See also[edit]

References[edit]