pronunciation: n / ng [sin / sing, tan / tang, sun / sung]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by stephenlearner, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. stephenlearner Senior Member


    When I listen to native speakers say sin and sing, tan and tang, sun and sung, I can definitely tell the difference between n and ng. But when I listen to them say fond, bond, found, and down, I feel the nasal n sounds like ng. I have been confused for a long time.

    Can you help?

  2. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Some people might pronounce n as ng in these words. It doesn't make much difference because we don't distinguish between n and ng in these positions: English does not distinguish between
    nd and ngd, or
    owng and own.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  3. stephenlearner Senior Member

    Thank you very much.
  4. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm puzzled by teddy's answer too.

    It seems to me that Stephen's question has something to do with the way that sounds in English are processed by speakers of Mandarin. Unfortunately, I don't speak Chinese:(.
  6. stephenlearner Senior Member

    In Chinese, we distinguish between n and ng.
  7. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    In AE we distinguish between n and ŋ. English has 26 letters but 44 phonemes (sounds that identify different words). There is a huge list of word pairs whose only difference is n vs. ŋ. Post #1 gives three examples.

    I am sure you hear a difference (one I can't hear, being an AE speaker) in how n is pronounced in the combination nd. I am surprised that it sounds like ŋd to you. And I can't think of any explanation.

    This seems unlikely to me. n and d/t are pronounced in the same spot and the release of the n creates the d sound naturally. ŋ and g/k are in the same spot, and releasing ŋ creates a g sound naturally. That is why, in AE, an n before g or k is pronounced ŋ. It's much easier to pronounce ŋg and ŋk than to pronounce ng and nk.

    The only cases of ŋd I can think of are verbs with "-ed" added: hanged, banged. It would be interesting for stephenlearner to hear the same speaker say "hand" and "hanged", "banned" and "banged".

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