I have observed some English speakers in North America who seem to produce this assimilation in words like running /ˈrʌnɪŋ/ (as [ˈrʌnin]) or winning /ˈwɪnɪŋ/ (as [ˈwɪnin]). I'm specifically interested in when the final vowel becomes [i] or [iː] and not /ɪ/ (as in some Southern American English accents, which produce [ˈrʌnɪn] and [ˈwɪnɪn]).

Is this a regional accent?

I found some additional anecdotal discussion at the following links:

  • 7
    This seems like it's the combination of two seemingly contradictory processes. (1) the change of /ɪ/ to /i/ or /i:/ before /ŋ/, common in the U.S., particularly on the West Coast (discussed here). (2) the change of /ŋ/ to /n/ in the suffix -ing, quite common in many dialects. I would think that (2) would inhibit (1). Possibly you're only noticing the change of /ɪ/ to /i/ for these speakers because there is no longer an /ŋ/ after the /i/, and you don't notice the same change before /ŋ/ because it's so common in the U.S. Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 14:32
  • 3
    For only $250,000 per 100 speakers per year, sociolinguists can find out precisely what's going on, if you really want to know that badly. Without a longitudinal survey, however, it's impossible to know how the two processes Peter mentioned will interact, except that it's very like to vary with all kinds of socioeconomic factors, which are themselves changing. Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 16:23
  • 3
    @Hunter Morris: No, it's a good question. It's just that nobody knows the answer, and it's very expensive to find out for sure. Plus the funding level for sociolinguistics is pretty low these days, and expensive projects like this are unlikely. Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 20:12
  • 2
    have a look at Professor Wells' blog post about this vowel shift phonetic-blog.blogspot.com/2009/11/i.html
    – Alex B.
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 23:47
  • 2
    "/i/ The vowel in him, sit, and bid is moving in two directions. Before ng, it shifts towards the vowel in beam, bean Example: think sounds like theenk " stanford.edu/~eckert/vowels.html
    – Alex B.
    Commented Jun 18, 2012 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


As @JohnLawler points out, it would take an extensive sociolinguistic study to arrive at something definitive. Based on various bits of research provided in the comments, this accent appears often in speakers from California who perform a "velar pinch." I'm marking this answered because I think until a deeper study is done, this is what we have:

  • From the blog post: Western Canadians, and just plain westerners in general, ‘bag’ can rhyme perfectly with ‘vague.’ Does that mean they would say: Those are the bayggiest pants I have ever seen? :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 16:22

I'm not completely sure that I'm understanding you but it sounds like you are describing the "yankee" accent..? I would describe this as a slight tendency not to open the mouth fully while speeking and thereby pushing certain vowel sounds into the nasal cavity.

  • Please see comments above. It seems to be a marker of people in California and the Pacific northwest. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:51

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