I teach English to elementary students in Korea. One day, I noticed an African American female teacher pronounce the word,"singer" differently- "sinGer" , a strong G-sound. Is it common in America? Recently while watching CNN, I saw an basketball star pronounce this word the same way. I just want to know whether it has to do with region, ethnicity, or etc. I would appreciate if you could let me know. Thanks.

  • 3
    It is an affectation common in certain areas of NY. In fact, if you hear it, ask the person where they grew up - chances are pretty good they'll say LonG Island.
    – Oldbag
    Jan 28, 2015 at 9:22
  • 4
    @Oldbag: Why do you call it an affectation? It seems to me it could just be their natural way of speaking.
    – herisson
    Jan 28, 2015 at 13:23
  • 1
    You'd soon get the idea if you spent time there... Native inhabitants - the women especially - tend to (hmm... how to say this...) "overcompensate". (Like they think the movie cameras are going to arrive any second.) In order to distance themselves from the "riff-raff" of the urban areas, they have eschewed the characteristic "New York Accent" in favor of a bizarre (and selective) annunciation, which they think makes them sound "classy".
    – Oldbag
    Jan 28, 2015 at 15:16
  • 3
    I lived in Staten Island, New York, for a couple of years, and to me the "Lawn Giland" emphasized g pronunciation seemed as natural and un-self-conscious a part of the pronunciation style of lifelong residents there as the "A'm fan" long i pronunciation was among lifelong inhabitants of my native southeast Texas.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 14, 2015 at 17:47
  • @Oldbag: I don't think it's any more common in Long Island than in any of the other New York City suburbs (well ... I don't think Connecticut has much of an NYC accent, so leave them out). It's just that Long Island has a name where you notice this pronunciation. May 16, 2016 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


The pronunciation of /ŋg/ where standard English uses just /ŋ/ is a common feature of many different varieties of English. Within the UK it is very common in areas such as Norfolk and Birmingham. It is also a feature of many varieties of USA English.

Learners of English quite often use an inserted /ɡ/ or /k/ after /ŋ/. The reason for this is that in many languages [ŋ] only appears as an allophone of /n/. This happens when the /n/ precedes a velar consonant, in other words /ɡ/ or /k/.

  • It's also common in Derbyshire and NottinGhamshire where children often have sinGinG classes. It's just part of the accent.
    – BoldBen
    Mar 24, 2018 at 20:30

It varies from dialect to dialect, with guidelines for when it's pronounced [ŋ] and when it's pronounced [ŋg] spelled out for RP (UK "received pronunciation") in A manual of English phonetics and phonology : twelve lessons with an integrated course in phonetic transcription, page 53. In summary, it's [ŋg] when it's found in the middle of a morpheme, or at the end of an morpheme to which the comparative suffix -er or the superlative suffix -est is added, and [ŋ] any other time it's at the end of a morpheme.


It depends on where the syllable break is. In singer the break is between the g and e, making the ING a sound of its own without the hard g sound. This also applies to ng with other vowels such as ang, ung, ong. To further illustrate, finger where the hard g is pronounced has the syllable break between the n and g, thus separating the g from the ing pronunciation. If the g is in a syllable with the vowel n combination, then it is a sound of its own, if separated by a syllable break the g is heard in the pronunciation. Any other pronunciation is incorrect and butchery of the word as they are changing the syllable breaks.

  • NO! "Any other pronunciation" is the normal way that English is pronounced in certain areas (see Araucaria's answer).. This has nothing to do with syllable breaks: in some areas "ng" is /ŋg/ even if it is final in a word.
    – Colin Fine
    May 6, 2016 at 12:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.