Voiced velar nasal

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Revision as of 05:13, 8 August 2016 by (talk) (/ŋk/)


sing /sɪŋ/

In both Received Pronunciation and General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /ŋ/ corresponds to the final consonant sound in words like "sang", "sing", "song" and "sung" and, of course -ing forms. Not all words with "ng" have that /ŋ/: cf. angle and angel. On the other hand, it should be pointed out that /ŋ/ is often, but not always, followed by /g/ cf. singer vs single or long vs longer.

/ŋ/ is spelled "n" when followed by a /k/ sound: ankle, inquest.


IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
dress face square
ɪ ɪə
kit fleece near
ɒ əʊ ɔː
lot goat taught
ʊ ʊə
foot goose mature
juː jʊə
cute cure
ʌ ə ɜː
strut comma nurse
price mouth choice
IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see
IPA Stress
ˈ Primary stress
hotel /həʊˈtel/
ˌ Secondary stress
IPA Syllabification
. nitrate /ˈnaɪ.treɪt/, night-rate /ˈnaɪt.reɪt/

/ŋ/ at the end of the word or followed by a vowel is always spelled "ng".

  • with /æ/: bang - gang - hang - hanger - hanging - rang - sang - slang
  • with /ɪ/: bring - evening - king - morning - ring - sing - singer - spring - sting - string - swing - thing - wing - wring
  • with /ɒ/BrE or with /ɔː/AmE: along - belong - long - song - strong - wrong
  • with /ʌ/: among - lung - sung - tongue - young


The spelling "ng" is sometimes pronounced /ŋg/.

  • with /æ/: anger - angle - angry - language - languid
  • with /ɪ/: finger - linger - single
  • with /ɒ/: Congo
  • with /ʌ/: Hungary - hunger - hungry

/ŋ/ - /ŋg/ alternation

In most words the root word and its derivatives sound similar: sing /sɪŋ/, singer /sɪŋər/.

Some particular words have "ng" pronounced /ŋ/ in the root and /ŋg/ in their derivatives: young /jʌŋ/, younger /jʌŋgər/.

  • long - longer, longest
  • strong - stronger, strongest
  • young - younger, youngest
  • diphthong - diphthongal
  • prolong - prolongation


See also IPA phoneme /n/ § Assimilation.

  • with /æ/: ankle - bank - blanket - drank - handkerchief /ˈhæŋkərtʃɪf/ - rank - sank - stank - tank - thank;
  • with /ɪ/: blink - drink - ink - link - pink - sink - sprinkler - stink - think - twinkle - rink - wink - wrinkle;
  • with /ɒ/: donkey
  • with /ʌ/: bunk - bunker - dunk - monkey - trunk
  • anchor - synchronisationBrE - synchronization
  • concrete - distinction - function - junction - sanction - uncle;
  • anxious - pharinx
  • conquest - relinquish - tranquilizerAmE - tranquilliserBrE - tranquillizerBrE
  • length /leŋkθ, leŋθ/ - strength /streŋkθ, streŋθ/


  • anxiety /æŋˈzaɪətɪ/


See main article Homophone.

  • ring - wring

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1

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.


In Spanish there is [ŋ] but only before [x], [k], [g] or [w]. Many Spanish speakers cannot pronounce /ŋ/ between vowels, and they say singer as */ˈsɪŋgər/ and singing as */ˈsɪŋgɪŋ/.

See also


External links