I've listened the pronunciation of the word "hangover" on Cambridge dictionary (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english-chinese-simplified/hangover), both UK and US.

I am aware that g is pronounced as /ŋ/ here and I really didn't catch the phonetic sound "g" in there.

Nevertheless, I actually heard a few of people pronounce "g" in "hangover", like the "g" in "game".

So, should "g" in "hangover" be pronounced or silent?

Here is an example (https://youtu.be/_nRtCVJIToA?t=307) of a Canadian accent.


No, in most accents, there is no separate /g/ sound in hangover, just the same /ŋ/ as in "hang". It is like "singer" (/sɪŋɚ/) not "finger" (/fɪŋgɚ/)

Some accents in North-West England normally pronounce a /g/ in words like "hang", and for those speakers, "hangover" also has a /g/.

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    But (in most accents) there is a significant different (apart from the initial consonant) between singer and finger. I believe that the OP was asking about that difference. My answer addresses the difference, and yours does not. If you remove the /ŋ/ in "finger" you get "figger", not "fier". – Colin Fine Feb 17 at 19:21
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    What has "sigger" to do with it? Except in Manchester, if you remove the /ŋ/ from "singer" you do get "sier". And in my speech, there is no /g/ in "hangover" however much I stress it or slow it down. – Colin Fine Feb 17 at 21:28
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    But you are still ignoring the difference between /ŋ/ and /ŋg/, which is what I believe the question was about. I believe that the difference between /ŋ/ and /n/ is something that you introduced in your answer. It was also you that introduced the concept of "removing the /ŋ/ sound", with your false assertion that if you removed it from "finger" you would get "nothing, really, fier". Finger has /ŋg/, in all accents of English afaik. – Colin Fine Feb 17 at 23:25
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    But @Lambie, the word finger (unlike the word singer in most accents) contains the phoneme /ŋ/ followed by the phoneme /g/ – Colin Fine Feb 19 at 23:53
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    @Lambie: I'm flabbergasted. Are finger and singer exact rhymes for you? Do you come from North-West England? – Colin Fine Feb 20 at 0:36

Colin Fine has already answered the question but I'm going to shed some light on its history.

Words that end with [ŋ] rather than [ŋɡ] in Modern English show the result of a sound change that occured in Modern English (I believe). Word-final <ng> used to be pronounced [ŋɡ] in Old and Middle English but due to a sound change in Modern English, it became [ŋ].

Examples: Hang, sing, king etc., had [ŋɡ] word-finally but they came to be pronounced with [ŋ] in Modern English (though many dialects such as West Midlands and North West England kept the pronunciation with [ŋɡ]).

[ŋg] mostly remained word-medially except in words with certain suffixes.

Examples: Finger, hunger, anger, linger etc., have [ŋg] word-medially.

In most cases, word-medial <ng> in some suffixed words did not become [ŋg]. I only know two of those suffixes*; -ing and -er.

Examples: Singer, singing, hanger, ringing etc.

Comparatives/superlatives have [ŋg] word-medially.

Examples: younger, longer, longest etc.

Hangover is a compound word of hang and over, 'hang' has [ŋ] so its compounds don't have [ŋɡ]. It seems that the [g] doesn't get fronted in compound words. (Note that the pronunciation with [ŋɡ] can still be heard in many dialects.)

*I've heard derivational affixes to refer to that but I'm not entirely sure.

It's also explained briefly in Phonological variables and the sources of accent variables:

4.4. G-deletion (NG coalescence, Wells Vol. I)

  • Distribution of [ŋg] and [ŋ] in Standard English accents such as RP and GenAm is basically that [g] does not occur after [ŋ] at the end of a morpheme:
    a) no [ŋg] word-finally: tongue, swing, wrong, bang
    b) [ŋg] in middle of morpheme: finger, hunger, anger, English, language, Hungary, bungle, linger.
    c) no [ŋg] before inflection: sings, swinging, wronged, songs
    Exceptions: comparative/superlative: younger, strongest, longest.
    d) no [ŋg] before derivational affixes: singer, banger, songster, slangy, longish.
    Exceptions: elongate, prolongation, %diphthongal, %diphthongise

As per Wikipedia:

The change in fact applies not only at the end of a word, but generally at the end of a morpheme. If a word ending in -ng is followed by a suffix or is compounded with another word, the [ŋ] pronunciation normally remains.
For example, in the words fangs, sings, singing, singer, wronged, wrongly, hangman, there is no [ɡ] sound.
An exception is the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives: in the words longer/longest, stronger/strongest, younger/youngest, the [ɡ] is pronounced in most accents.

Wikipedia calls it singer-finger split.

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Yes, it is pronounced because otherwise it would be: hanover, like the city in Germany. The ng is pronounced. The difference is the a, not the ng.

There is also the word hangdog. If you don't pronounce the ng sound (/ŋ/), it would sound like handog.

This type of g as in hang (/ŋ/) is pronounced: low-hanging fruit OR The hangman.

Speakers do make the g sound as part of a "first unit", "hang" with a sort of pause, then comes over, dog or man or ing. The sound is ng.

However, it is impossible for me to describe this any better. Please listen at the site given below.

Here is a British guy doing the NG sound AKA [ŋ]

His site states:

/ŋ/ is a nasal sound made in the same position as /k/ and /g/, so the tongue is raised at the back, touching the soft palate and the noise is released through the nose.

thing, ng sound, the same as in hang

In the case of thing and hanging, there is basically no difference between British and American English for the NG.

Of course,it is not like the g in giant.

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    OP is asking whether the sound is /ŋ/ or /ŋg/; whether there's a hard G after the 'ng' sound. The answer is no. – the-baby-is-you Feb 17 at 1:50
  • The answer is that the sound /ŋ/ in hang is pronounced: Hanover versus hangover. /ŋ/= NG as in hang or sing. The sound is not written: /ŋg/. – Lambie Feb 17 at 3:41
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    The presence of the G changes the sound to /ŋ/, just like the digraph 'th,' but it is not, itself, pronounced as a G. – the-baby-is-you Feb 17 at 3:44
  • @the-baby-is-you I never said it was. I also said my answer did not contain the phonetic sound but I added it because people like you need to see it to believe it. It is not the presence of the g, it is the n + g together that make: /ŋ/. – Lambie Feb 17 at 3:50
  • Is there anything I said that warrants that kind of aggression? – the-baby-is-you Feb 17 at 3:56

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