Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 5 02:06:46 UTC 2008

I'm trying this.  I'm saying the word "in" and alternating between a front "n", alveolar, and a back "n", velar.  It's a bit difficult to do a velar n after a short i.  In fact it (my mouth) wants to change short i ~i to long e ~ee.  With practice I can do it.  Those resulting "n" sounds are very very similar and I don't think discriminable.

What' can happen when "ing" is to be pronounced is two things.  The mind decides  whether it wants the mouth to say the "g" or not.  If no "g" then the typical word "in" is spoken with a velar n.  But if the intent is to include the "g", then the mouth anticipates this, and the tongue rises up even while prounouncing the "i" knowing it has to get to the "g" which is velar.  That makes the "i" come out ~ee.  The tongue then goes back toward where the "g" is to be pronounced and velorizes the "n" so it can get to the "g".  It could be a suppressed "g" like a glottal stop, but it still is the cause of the velar n.

I listened to Russion gymnasts in 1980, I think .  Every "ing" suffix was pronounced "in" (velar n).  They obviously were taught that way.  It did not sound right.

So my thinking is that the main way to tell a velar "n" is a telltail raising of ~i to ~ee and a "g" or velar stop in place of a "g".  Certainly if a "g" is pronounced, the "n" before it is velar.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
See - and the 4 truespel books plus "Occasional Poems" at

> Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 17:45:43 -0400
> From: mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU
> Subject: Re: Chinglish
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Michael Covarrubias
> Subject: Re: Chinglish
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>> ...
>> I would assume it was done by trained listeners to sound files instead of viewing spectrograms. I assume the key things were that if the "i" sounds like long e ~ee and the "g" is pronounced, then it's velar. If the "i" sounds like short "i" and the "g" is not pronounced, then its alveolar.
> Phonetics 101: The nasals are distinguished by place of articulation.
> Not by the quality of the preceding vowel.
> Are you now saying that you can't distinguish a velar nasal coda from an
> alveolar nasal coda? There is no following [g]. If you're hearing a "g"
> in Appalachian  endings you should probably not be relying on your ear.
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