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IPA – number 119
IPA – text ŋ
IPA – image [[File:|{{{imagesize}}}]]
Entity ŋ
Kirshenbaum N
Sound sample

The velar nasal is the sound of ng in English sing. It is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is <ŋ>, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is N.

As a phoneme, the velar nasal does not occur in many of the indigenous languages of the Americas, nor in a large number of European or Middle Eastern languages. While almost all languages have /m/ and /n/, /ŋ/ is rarer.[1] Only half of the 469 languages surveyed in Anderson (2008) had a velar nasal phoneme. As with the voiced velar plosive, the relative rarity of the velar nasal is undoubtedly due to the fact that the small oral cavity used to produce velar consonants makes it more difficult for voicing to be sustained.Template:Fact It also makes it much more difficult to allow air to escape through the nose as is required for a nasal consonant.

In many languages that do not have the velar nasal as a phoneme, it occurs as an allophone of other nasals before velar consonants.



Features of the velar nasal:

The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter n with a leftward tail protruding from the bottom of the right stem of the letter. Compare n and ŋ. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly called as "eng" or "engma" and sometimes in reference to Greek, "angma". The symbol ŋ should not be confused with ɳ, the symbol for the retroflex nasal, which has a rightward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the right stem or with ɲ, the symbol for the palatal nasal, which has a leftward-pointing hook extending from the bottom of the left stem.

Varieties of [ŋ]

IPA Description
ŋ plain ŋ
ŋ̊ voiceless ŋ
ŋ̍ syllabic ŋ
ŋ̈ breathy voiced ŋ
ŋ̃ creaky voiced ŋ
ŋʷ labialized ŋ


Language Word IPA Meaning Notes
Aleut[2] chaang [tʃɑːŋ] 'five'
Bai Dali dialect ? [ŋv˩˧] 'fish'
Chinese Cantonese /ngong4 [ŋɔːŋ˩] 'raise' See Standard Cantonese
Mandarin 北京/Běijīng [peɪ˨˩ tɕiŋ˥˥]'Beijing' See Standard Mandarin
Catalan[3] sang [saŋ] 'blood' See Catalan phonology
Chukchi ңыроқ [ŋəɹoq] 'two'
Czech tank [taŋk] 'tank' See Czech phonology
Dinka ŋa [ŋa] 'who'
Danish sang [sɑŋˀ] 'song' See Danish phonology
Dutch[4] angst [ɑŋst] 'fear' See Dutch phonology
English sing [sɪŋ] 'sing' Restricted to the syllable coda. See English phonology
Fijian gone [ˈŋone] 'child'
Filipino ngayon [ˈŋajon] 'now, today'
Finnish langan [lɑŋːɑn] 'of the thread' See Finnish phonology
French[5] parking [paʀkiŋ] 'parking lot' See French phonology
Galician unha [ˈuŋa] 'one', 'a' (feminine)
German lang [laŋ] 'long' See German phonology
Greek αποτυγχάνω [aˌpo̞tiŋˈxano̞] 'I fail (to fail)' See Modern Greek phonology
Hebrew בנק [baŋk] 'bank' Allophone of /n/ before velar consonants. See Hebrew phonology
Hindi रङ्ग [rəŋg] 'color' See Hindi-Urdu phonology
Hungarian ing [iŋg] 'shirt' See Hungarian phonology
Icelandic ng [ˈkøyŋk] 'tunnel' See Icelandic phonology
Indonesian bangun [baŋun] 'wake up'
Inuktitut ᐆᖅ/puunnguuq[pu:ŋŋu:q] 'dog' for shaman's word
Inuvialuktun qamnguiyuaq [qamŋuijuaq] 'snores'
Irish ceann carrach [caŋ ˈkaɾˠəx] 'a scabbed one' See Irish phonology
Italian[6] anche [ˈaŋke] 'also' See Italian phonology
Itelmen қниң [qniŋ] 'one'
Japanese Standard 南極/nankyoku [naŋkʲokɯ] 'the South Pole' See Japanese phonology
Eastern dialects[7] /kagi [kaŋi] 'key'
Ket аяң [ajaŋ] 'to damn'
Korean /bang [paŋ] 'room' See Korean phonology
Macedonian aнглиски [ˈaŋgliski] 'English' Occurs occasionally as an allophone of /n/ before /k/ and /g/. See Macedonian phonology
Malayalam[8] ? [məŋŋi] 'faded'
Nivkh ңамг [ŋamg] 'seven'
Norwegian gang [gɑŋ] 'hallway' See Norwegian phonology
Polish[9] bank [baŋk] 'bank' See Polish phonology
Occitan Provençal vin [viŋ] 'wine'
Rapanui hanga [haŋa] 'bay' Sometimes transcribed as
Russian функция [ˈfuŋkt͡sɨjə] 'function' Informal and occurs only irregularly before /k/ or /g/. See Russian phonology
Seri comcáac [koŋˈkaak] 'Seri people'
Shona 'nanga [ŋaŋga] 'witch-doctor'
Slovene tank [taŋk] 'tank'
Spanish[10] domingo [d̪o̞ˈmĩŋgo̞] 'Sunday' See Spanish phonology
Swahili ng'ombe [ŋɔmbɛ] 'cow'
Swedish bank [baŋkʰ] 'bank' See Swedish phonology
Thai าน [ŋaːn] 'work/job'
Vietnamese ưng [ɯŋ] 'to accept'See Vietnamese phonology
Yup'ik ungungssiq [uŋuŋssiq] 'animal'
Zapotec Tilquiapan[11] yan [jaŋ] 'neck' Word-final allophone of lenis /n/

See also

  • List of phonetics topics



  • Anderson, Gregory D. S. (2008), "The Velar Nasal", in Haspelmath, Martin; Dryer, Matthew S; Gil, David et al., The World Atlas of Language Structures Online, Munich: Max Planck Digital Library,, retrieved on 2008-04-30 
  • Carbonell, Joan F.; Llisterri, Joaquim (1992), "Catalan", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (1-2): 53-56 
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1992), "Dutch", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 22 (2): 45-47 
  • Jassem, Wiktor (2003), "Polish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (1): 103-107 
  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255-259 
  • Merrill, Elizabeth (2008), "Tilquipan Zapotec", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 38 (1): 107-114 
  • Okada, Hideo (1991), "Phonetic Representation:Japanese", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 21 (2): 94-97 
  • Rogers, Derek; d'Arcangeli, Luciana (2004), "Italian", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (1): 117-121 
  • Wells, J.C. (1989), "Computer-Coded Phonemic Notation of Individual Languages of the European Community", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 19 (1): 31-54 



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