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I'm hearing more and more people pronounce "language" as [laŋ-wij] instead of [laŋ-gwij]. The same goes for the word "English": [iŋ-lish] instead of [iŋ-glish].

How prevalent has this pronunciation become in the "inner circle" of English speakers? How do you pronounce these words?

  • Yes, we still do pronounce the g in both the words. If some don't, nothing official about it. – Kris Feb 8 '14 at 9:24
  • The variant pronunciation's already been entered in Merriam Webster, which implies that it's being used by educated speakers (in America, at least). merriam-webster.com/dictionary/language – Louel Feb 8 '14 at 9:28
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    I have a feeling I may just switch randomly between the two. In careful speech, I'm sure I'd pronounce the g, but in rapid speech, I don't doubt I'd easily drop it sometimes. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 8 '14 at 9:43
  • @virtualxtc - AmE here, have never heard them pronounced that way North or South nor even in Texas. What makes you say that? I'm very curious. (btw, it's states. You can correct me on my frequent it's for its.) Are you sure it's not a Boston thing? (see Peter Shor) – anongoodnurse Feb 8 '14 at 10:57
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    In Britain a middle or final consonant is pronounced far more heavily in the north than in the south, where it can be replaced with a glottal stop. (London and Home Counties) But in the north a word like 'ringing' is pronounced almost as if it had a double g in the middle.- 'ringging'. My young grandson who is at primary school in Manchester will say 'The telephone is rinGGinG' or 'Please will you help me with my lanGuage and literacy homework'. – WS2 Feb 8 '14 at 16:23
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I've personally never heard the mispronunciations to which you are referring. I always hear the 'g' in both those words in everyday conversations.

Unfortunately, I also hear the 't' in 'often' FAR too often… ;-)

  • Though pronouncing the "t" isn't wrong, is it? At least Oxford doesn't think so. – Louel Feb 8 '14 at 11:06
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    Strangely enough, I thought it was very "British" to pronounce the "t" (maybe because I don't pronounce the "t"). I thought it was the standard pronunciation in the past. – Louel Feb 8 '14 at 12:37
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    @Louel: I am fairly sure the standard pronunciation of often in the 19th century was without the 't': the 1892 Webster's International Dictionary (searchable on Google books) only gives that pronunciation, as does John Walker's 1827 Pronouncing Dictionary (published in London, also searchable on Google books). I don't know how the 't' got reintroduced (it must have been there in the 16th century, as otherwise it wouldn't be in the spelling). – Peter Shor Feb 8 '14 at 12:56
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    There's always been a "t" as the root word is "oft". answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060706193650AAmjRiw – Louel Feb 8 '14 at 13:31
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    Yes, but the 't' is/was silent. My favorite lexicomane, Charles Harrington Elster, is quoted on a page devoted to this very subject: dailywritingtips.com/how-do-you-pronounce-often . Here's an excerpt: "… analogy is entirely unsupportive: no one pronounces the t in soften, listen, fasten, moisten, hasten, chasten, christen, and Christmas—so, once and for all, let’s do away with the eccentric AWF-tin." – MrWonderful Feb 8 '14 at 18:12
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I might have heard the /g/ dropped in 'language' once or twice, but don't think I've ever heard it dropped in 'English' (even by Finns, whose corresponding word 'englanti' lacks the /g/ sound).

For me, both certainly do have the /g/ sound in them. /ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ/ and /ˈɪŋɡlɪʃ/ respectively. As far as I know, everybody I know pronounces them them the same.

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The only times I have heard the words used with a dropped "g" have been on television soaps which are frequented by glottal stops and lazy pronunciation. At all other times the hard "g" has been pronounced. In the case of the extension to the answer,I have never heard often with a pronounced t. I often hear it as: offd'n or off'n.

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    This doesn't answer the OP's question. – some user Feb 8 '14 at 12:48

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