ng Sound in English

Sometimes pronouncing the ng sound in English can be a bit tricky for ESL learners because not all ng sound is written with the -ng endings, for example, hung, thing, song. The -nk endings are also pronounced as ng, as in think, sink, blink.

The IPA symbol for the ng sound is /ŋ/What’s an IPA symbol? IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. The IPA symbols are often found in dictionary to show how to pronounce the words. So, make sure you read the IPA transcription in the dictionary to know the correct pronunciation of a word.

 

ng spelling

When the ng spelling occurs in the middle of a word, it may be pronounced as an ng sound followed by a g sound, as in the words angry or finger. At the end of a word, or as part of the -ing ending, the pronunciation of this spelling does not typically include a g sound.

 

Americans use “in” regularly (instead of -ing) if they live in the south – this ending is part of the southern dialect. An -ing ending is used regularly in central, northern and western areas. People outside of the south may use “in” for informal speech, especially young people. In this case, a person may say “ing” sometimes and “in” at other times depending on the situation.

– happening ⇒ happenin’

– going ⇒ goin’

– fishing ⇒ fishin’

 

n + k spelling

Besides the ng spelling, the ng sound often occurs when a word is spelled nk.

Examples:

link /lɪŋk/

bank /bæŋk/

ankle /ˈæŋ·kəl/

 

n + c spelling

The letter n in the n + c spelling is only pronounced as the ng sound when the pronunciation of the letter c is pronounced as a k sound. If the letter c is pronounced as an s sound, the letter n will be pronounced as an n sound, as in the words dance and pencil.

 

More examples:

uncle /ˈʌŋ·kəl/

function /ˈfʌŋk·ʃən/

extict /ɪkˈstɪŋkt/

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