Lesson 40: /ŋ/ Sound in ‘King’
English Jade: Practice Ng Sound /ŋ/

In this lesson, we will learn the pronunciation and spelling of the /ŋ/ sound in English. This phoneme is not represented by a letter in the English alphabet. Therefore, it is necessary to memorise the /ŋ/ sound along with its unique symbol when learning IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). The way I remember the /ŋ/ sound symbol is by imagining the shape of an elephant’s trunk:

The rules of pronouncing /ŋ/

  • /ŋ/ is spelt <ng> at the end of a word          

king                lung             bring               strong                wrong    

  • /ŋ/ is spelt <n> before a <k>

bank               hunk            skunk                junk                   punk

  • a letter <n> before <g> or <k> becomes /ŋ/

finger              ginger           fungus            drunken             bunker

  • the –ing suffix in gerunds and present participles includes an /ŋ/ sound:

playing           running        laughing          writing             shouting

  • the /ŋ/ sound never begins a word in English

How to Pronounce /ŋ/

/ŋ/ is a nasal consonant, meaning that the sound comes out through the nose. To make this sound, you put the back of your tongue against the velar (the soft tissue at the back of the throat). The position is slightly further back and higher up than for /g/ and /k/. When the back of the tongue is in this position, it blocks air from passing out the mouth. This then makes the /ŋ/ sound come out through your nose. 

/ŋ/ is a voiced consonant: you feel vibrations in the throat

/ŋ/ is a nasal consonant: you feel buzzing in your nose


Practice Soft /g/: Some Examples from the Lesson Recording

bang: bang the drum

gong: the gong‘s gone wrong

king: English king

kangaroo: kangaroos and dingoes

slang: Cockney rhyming slang

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About Jade Joddle Jade Joddle is a speech and voice teacher who gives her non-native speaker clients back the confidence they had in their native language. She teaches high-level professionals to Speak Well in English so that they thrive and succeed.