Off-gliding to G

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 23 03:42:27 UTC 2009

I see no reason to prescribe that the "g" in "singer" NOt be pronounced, while prescribing that the "g" in "finger" IS to be pronounced.  It's more logical to pronounce it since it's there - the alphabetical principle.

The dynamic is this as I see it.  The brain knows that in pronouncing "sing" it's going to a "g" in the future so it knows the tongue is going to go velar for the "g".  Preparing for this the tongue rises early and changes the i to long e ~ee then stays there and changes the "n" to a velar ~n before the "g".  But some folks elide that "g" rather than take the trouble to stop the air flow for a plosive "g", thus making a lift-off "g" coming out of velar n (bypassing the plosive).

Note that if the "g" were not envisioned as forthcoming, then there's no need to prepare for the velar and the i would be "short i" and the "n" a regular alveolar (instead of back velar) and "singing" would instead sound like "sinning".

I think for "sing" the "s" has an inhibiting affect on the "g".  The "s" is up front and the "g" is far back.  The tongue may get a little lazy making the "g".

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
see phonetic spelling

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Grant Barrett
> Subject: Off-gliding to G
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I received this query from a listener to the radio show and wonder if
> anyone has any thoughts about it. Is it something you've noticed
> yourself as being more common? Can you recommend reading on this
> particular habit?
>> I wondered if you were aware that, in your broadcasts, you tend to
>> pronounce a hard G at the ends of words like "sing". I am running
>> into this habitual off-gliding more and more with my acting
>> students. When I point this out to them, they are shocked that you
>> could say a word like "sing" without that hard G sound.
> Grant Barrett
> gbarrett at
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
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