I looked the word governance up in dictionary and all dictionaries state its pronunciation is [ˈgʌvənəns] or [ˈgʌvərnəns]. However, I have several dictionaries that have audio and I can clearly hear they are actually saying [ˈgʌvərnənts]. The ending sound is the same as the word its. Is there a rule for this pronouncing behavior? Thanks.


Add two Youtube videos (the link include the time, you just need to listen a few seconds):



  • 2
    In my speech (and, I think, most of the people around me) there is no difference between 'mince' and 'mints'. Except in careful speech, there is an epenthetic /t/ in "mince".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 8:54
  • Wow, I don't know that! I always differentiate /s/ and /ts/. Thanks for your comments! Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 8:56
  • @ColinFine Does that apply to most (if not all) words that end with "ce"? Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 8:57
  • 2
    Just a learner: most words that end with -nce. Note: I speak British English. It may be different elsewhere.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


As Colin Fine said in the comments beneath the question, words that end with -nce are prone to epenthesis.

Most people tend to insert an epenthetic stop between Nasal + Fricative sequences

The reason is because the air comes out through the nose while articulating a nasal and as the nasal changes to a fricative—an oral consonant—the airflow must be switched from nasal to oral and should be stopped before articulating an oral consonant, so there is a brief period in which both the nasal and oral airflow are stopped, this is a brief oral stop, homorganic (same place of articulation) with the nasal.

[ˈgʌvərnəns] ends with a nasal+fricative so it's likely to be epenthesised to [ˈgʌvərnənts]

In most accents, prince/prints, mince/mints, sense/cents etc., are homophones.

Fricatives are /s ʃ θ/ and nasals are /m n ŋ/.

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