Don't native speakers in some regions pronounce [ŋ] simultaneously with the [n] sound in order to connect it without releasing the "g"?

For instance, can the word "singer" instead of sɪŋ·ər, be pronounced more like sɪŋn·ər?

I'm asking because every time I try to pronounce that word, the "g" sound is released automatically, even though it's very slight, and the only way to avoid it is adding the "n" sound.

My native language is Russian.

  • 3
    @Mick - but I doubt anybody would pronounce singer as "singNer"
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 19:32
  • 3
    If you look at the OP's use of IPA, you see that this is NOT the same question as why some accents pronounce singer like finger, but a question from a non-native speaker about how to produce the sound.
    – KarlG
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 19:47
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    In my fairly standard BrE dialect the word "singer" is pronounced with a slight g heard. It is soft. The word "finger" has a hard g. Both come from the tongue against the palate, but the hard g comes from further back in the mouth. The difference is slight, in the same way that the difference in tongue action between d and t is slight, in this case against the front teeth. Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 20:06
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    @WeatherVane: Unless you're a trained phonetician, it seems probable based on that description that you actually don't pronounce "singer" with any kind of [g] sound, but just with the velar nasal [ŋ]. This is a nasal consonant like [m] or [n], pronounced in the same place in the mouth as the sounds [k] or [g]. But phonetically, it doesn't contain the sound [g]--not even a "slight" or "soft" g--any more than [n] contains the sound [d], or [m] contains the sound [b] (compare words like "bomb" and "tomb", where the vast majority of speakers don't actually pronounce any [b] sound at the end)
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 20:13
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    @Weather Of course there is. They are different sounds. Sinner has [n]; singer has [ŋ]. There is also—apart from the initial s/f difference—an audible difference between singer and finger, which does have [ɡ]. It’s not the notion that [n] and [ŋ] are different sounds that is imaginary, but the notion that singer contains the same sound as the consonant found in go anywhere. It does not (except in a few dialects where singer and finger are in fact pronounced the same, apart from s/f). The relationship between [ŋ] and [ɡ] is the same as that between [n] and [d]: nasal vs plosive. Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


Firstly, native English speakers do not add an extra n after the /ŋ/ in the word singer, though some do have the same issue as you with having difficulty producing /ŋ/ in the middle of words like singer and singing.

The "ng" sound in medial and final word position can be challenging for native Russian speakers. What's happening is that /ŋ/ is a continuant sound, and if you release the tongue from the sealed position for the /ŋ/ while you are still producing airflow, you will make a /g/ or /k/ sound because the release of the built-up air produces the sound.

The way to avoid this problem is to begin to shape the vowel for the "-er" before releasing the /ŋ/ tongue position, and to release the tongue gently into the vowel. If no air is allowed to build up, the plosive/stop g sound will not be produced.

You can hear the pronunciation of singer in this video: https://youtu.be/c-3HtmE5muY and get more information about the /ŋ/ phoneme in American English in this video: https://youtu.be/-DZ5GICTHVU

I will be making a more specific video to help with words with "-nger" and "-inging" in the future, as I have heard from many Russian and other non-native speakers that these are particularly difficult to make without the "g" sound intruding. I'll add it to this post as an edit when it's complete.


I'm fairly certain "ng" sounds are always pronounced together. That being said, there would be certain dialects that add in a hard "g" sound but personally I never hear it.

I think the "er" sound at the end causes some dialects to pronounce the "g", but if you didn't have "er", the world "sing" would be simple and never have a hard "g" sound.

  • I am pretty certain that Professor Brian Cox, who is from Oldham, Lancashire, England, uses this pronunciation.
    – Mick
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 19:52
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    This isn’t actually what the question is asking about. The question is about adding an extra /n/, not an extra /ɡ/ (that’s what the other question, the one this has erroneously been marked a duplicate of, is about, but not this one). Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 20:14
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - or is it about moving from a velar nasal to an alveolar nasal? as in the questions english.stackexchange.com/questions/59653/ing-vs-in-ending and english.stackexchange.com/questions/71255/…
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 20:29

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