Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed May 22 04:22:43 UTC 2013

The "ng" aint no big thing.  The real problem is the lack of realization of the preceding vowel.

Tom Zurinskas, Conn 20 yrs, Tenn 3, NJ 33, now Fl 9.
See how English spelling links to sounds at

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Singer/finger
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 2:52 PM, Jim Parish <jparish at> wrote:
> > A discussion on another list has raised a question in my mind. Are there
> > English dialects that do not make the /N/ - /Ng/ distinction, as in
> > "singer" vs. "finger"?
> >
> The distinction wasn't made in the BE of my childhood in East Texas. Both
> "singer" and "finger" had only [N]. Everywhere else, black speakers *used
> to* make the standard distinction: si[N]er vs. fi[Ng]er But, that's
> definitely not true, anymore. Where I live now, in Northeast Pennsylvania,
> the major HMO is Geisinger, Inc. In one of the local TV ads, a white
> spokesmodel pronounces the name of the firm as "Gei[s]i[N]er." In the other
> TV ad, a black spokesmodel pronounces the name of the firm as
> "Gei[s]i[Ng]er." This is the only difference in dialect between the two
> models.
> Of course, the correct pronunciation is "Gei[z]i[N]er." ;-)
> I'm 76. So, this wholesale replacement of [N} by [Ng] in BE is a phenomenon
> that seems to have come out of nowhere for no reason. The Academy should
> have banned this annoyance from the literary form of the dialect back in
> the '70's, long before it became common enough to annoy me, {Yes. I now
> understand my grandparents' absolute refusal ever to use any word other
> than "wheel" for the kind of velocipede that had come to be commonly
> referred to as a "bicycle" in my childhood.] Perhaps - and, at best, this
> rises only to the level of a WAG - the driving force behind this change is
> rap and hip-hop. Nearly every rapper from anywhere in the country, using my
> laughingly-meager collection of about twenty hip-hop/rap sides on my iTunes
> as my source, has replaced [N] with {Ng]. But this tiny collection does
> include speakers from Saint Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oakland,
> Washington, DC, Baltimore, New York, Norfolk, and Philadelphia.
> Before rap became hip, I'd heard only a single black speaker, an Army buddy
> from Wake County, NC, fail to use [N] in "singer."
> Wonder whether Marshall, Texas, has switched from "si[N]er, fi[N]er" to
> "si[Ng]er, fi[Ng]er."
> Youneverknow.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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