5

Examples:

I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later.

-Mitch Hedberg

The jazz boom was goin' on then so there was a lot happenin' in New York at that time.

-Mose Allison

The first speaker left out the -g in the second going, but not in the first. Why? When would a native English speaker omit it and when not?

(I'm interested in both oral and written form. But I guess the written omission is just to represent the former?)

  • Do you mean when they change the pronunciation from [iŋ] to [in] or do you mean when they change the spelling from ‑ing to ‑in? The former is quite common, while the latter is used only to represent eye-dialect. This is one area where speech and writing have diverged. The picture is more complicated than this, and I feel we do have some questions on it already, but it’s late and I must sleep now. – tchrist Mar 11 '15 at 5:07
  • Are you asking about when a writer writes "goin'", or are you asking about when a speaker pronounces "going" with a "n" at the end? (Practically no one says a "g" at the end of "going".) – Greg Lee Mar 11 '15 at 5:08
  • 1
    The short answer is, whenever they feel like it. There are lots of reasons and a lot of them can't be guessed by an outside observer. If they wanted to enunciate clearly they might be more likely to leave it in, but even then a given regional dialect might be more likely to leave it off or vice versa. – Jim Mar 11 '15 at 5:08
  • I updated the question. – janoChen Mar 11 '15 at 5:27
  • I think you're right that the written omission is generally used to represent the spoken. In writing, you'd virtually never omit the 'g' unless reproducing speech. – wys1wyg Mar 11 '15 at 5:31
1

This is not a rule, but dropping the "g" happens much more often before a vowel.

  • Even when dropped in "going to" it's changed to "gonna" so than the "n" sound is before a vowel. – wys1wyg Mar 11 '15 at 5:09
  • Oooh, and my favourite dropped "g" in "going" is when "I'm going to" is pronounced "I'ma" as in "I'ma getchoo." – wys1wyg Mar 11 '15 at 5:37
0

Taking going as an example, I hear 3 pronunciations: (1) goin' [goɪn], (2) going [goiŋ], (3) [goin]. The forms in brackets are the pronunciations in phonetic notation. Notice that none of the pronunciations ends in phonetic [g]. There are two syllables in each of the pronunciations. The [ɪ] sound is the vowel of hit, tin, ... The [i] sound is the vowel of he, wheat, ... The [ŋ] sound is the nasal consonant in think -- there is no letter in conventional spelling that corresponds to it.

(1) is either a dialectal form or one used to indicate a casual conversational tone. (2) is the maximally distinct form you might use if you were worried about misunderstanding, but otherwise, I would almost never use it. (3) is my normal pronunciation and the one I often hear. An approximation in conventional spelling would be go-een.

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