How to pronounce the “ng” sound: /ŋ/
The “ng” sound, or /ŋ/ sound, is a voiced nasal consonant produced with the back of the tongue touching the soft palate. The air flows out of the nose. Don’t release your tongue when you pronounce the g.
In American English, you don’t drop the final g in the word ending -ing, but you don’t want to over-pronounce it either.
This sound is challenging for many English learners as they may easily confuse it with the /n/ and /nk/ sounds, depending on their native language influence. If this is something you struggle with, read on!
The “ng” sound /ŋ/ vs. /n/ and /nk/
Remember, to pronounce /n/ as in pin, the tip of the tongue touches the gum ridge, just behind the teeth.
To pronounce /ŋ/ as in king, the tip of the tongue is down, not touching anything. The back of the tongue is up, touching the soft palate at the back of your mouth.
Again, be careful not to release the tongue when pronouncing the final g, or this could be confused with a /nk/ sound, as in sink.
Practice the “ng” sound with commonly confused minimal pairs:
Focus on the difference in pronunciation between the /ŋ/ sound vs. /nk/ and /n/
- Thing – think – thin Sung – sunk- sun
- Wing – wink – win Ring – rink – Rin
- Rang – rank – ran
To learn more about other tricky consonant sounds, check out these articles:
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