The Nasal Sounds

m (mom, Mary, name)

n (nine, name, Nancy)

ng (sing, ring, long)

English Pronunciation, Lesson 19

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The M and N and ng sounds are often studied together because all are classified as nasal sounds. Nasal means "produced by sending a stream of air through the nose."

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

The M, N, and ng sounds are produced with air movement through the nose. If you hold your nose, you cannot produce these sounds in the same way. (Try that!)

The only differences in these sounds is the position of the lips and tongue.

Let's look at each sound individually.

The M consonant sound

The M consonant sound (IPA symbol: /m/) is made by lightly pressing your lips together while making the sound with your vocal chords.

Although most of the air moves over your soft palate, some air moves through the nose, and it feels like it is vibrating through your nasal passage. This is why the M consonant is referred to as a nasal sound.

Rachel from Rachel's English explains the M consonant in this video:

Practice the M sound by saying these words aloud:

1) mom

2) come

3) my

4) miss

5) time

6) man

7) Mary

8) dim

9) may

10) ram

The N consonant sound

The N consonant sound (IPA symbol: /n/) is made by moving air through the nasal passage. Your lips will be slightly parted. The tongue touches the roof your mouth just behind your teeth. You should feel a vibration in your nose.

Watch this video from BBC Learning English to learn how to pronounce the N sound:

Practice the N sound by saying these words aloud:

1) nap

2) man

3) no

4) none

5) not

6) nine

7) ten

8) win

9) tiny

10) running

Can you feel the vibration in your nose?

The ng sound

You can't study the N sound without also studying the ng sound (IPA symbol: /ŋ/). This is the third nasal sound in English. It is also produced by moving air through your nasal passage, but the tongue placement is different than the N sound. Your tongue is raised and further back in your mouth.

In this video, Rachel explains the N and ng sounds, illustrating their differences:

In this video, Rachel demonstrates how to end a word with the N and ng sounds:

Practice the ng sound by saying these words aloud:

1) sing

2) singer

3) ring

4) thing

5) string

6) wings

7) bring

8) bringing

9) hang

10) English

Now say these sentences out loud. Take your time and practice the placement of the tongue to make the proper N and ng sounds.

The M sounds are blue. The N sounds are green. The ng sounds are red.

1) My mom sings.

2) No, the dog is not mine.

3) That ring is nice.

4) Come here now!

5) What is the man's name?

6) Bring mnine things.

7) Nancy knows him.

8) Bring the hangers to me!

9) Mary sings at night.

10) Learning English is fun!

Have you finished them all? Awesome! Keep practicing!

great job

Well done! You have completed this lesson.

Let's move on...

List of Lessons

Lesson 01: International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

Lesson 02: Word Stress and Syllables

Lesson 03: Long E sound (meet, see)

Lesson 04: Short I Sound (sit, hit)

Lesson 05: UH Sound (put, foot)

Lesson 06: OO Sound (moon, blue)

Lesson 07: Short E sound (pen, bed)

Lesson 08: Schwa Sound (the, about)

Lesson 09: UR Sound (turn, learn)

Lesson 10: OH Sound (four, store)

Lesson 11: Short A Sound (cat, fat)

Lesson 12: UH Sound (but, luck)

Lesson 13: Soft A Sound (arm, father)

Lesson 14: Long O Sound (boat, know)

Lesson 15: Long A Sound (say, pain, make)

Lesson 16: Short O Sound (not, off, socks)

Lesson 17: Diphthong (a combination of two vowel sounds)

Lesson 18: P Sound (cup, punch, pull) and B sound (cub, bunch, bull)

Lesson 19: The Nasal Sounds (M, N, NG)

Lesson 20: F Sound (four, lift, graph, tough) and V Sound (love, knives, grave, vine)

Lesson 21: W Sound (wow, quit, where)

Lesson 22: R Sound (red, sorry, write)

Lesson 23: H Sound (he, behind, who)

Lesson 24: T Sound (top, it, later) and D Sound (do, had, made)

Lesson 25: S Sound (sit, box, cats) and Z Sound (zip, buzz, boys)

Lesson 26: K Sound (kid, talk, black) and G Sound (go, big, dog)

Lesson 27: L Sound: Light L & Dark L (tall, like, English)

Lesson 28: Y Consonant Sound (yes, you, beyond)

Lesson 29: CH Sound (China, century, watch) and J Sound (Germany, educate , judge)

Lesson 30: TH Consonant Sounds – voiced TH sound (the, father, them) and voiceless (unvoiced) TH sound (think, birthday, south)

Lesson 31: SH (shop, chef, special) and ZH (usual, massage, Asia)

Lesson 32: T and TT Sounds (true T sound, D sound, stop sound, silent T)

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