I've listened the pronunciation of the word "hangover" on Cambridge dictionary, both UK and US.

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

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

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

Here is an example 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 '20 at 19:21
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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 '20 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 '20 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 '20 at 0:36
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    You should point out that the OP has a misconception that "g" is sometimes pronounced /ŋ/. It is the digraph "ng" that is pronounced /ŋ/. Otherwise it would be /nŋ/ or /nɡ/.
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 20 '20 at 22:35

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 is the result of Cluster simplification that occurred in Modern English. 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]. With this sound change, [ŋ] became a phoneme in English.

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 (in the middle of monomorphemic words):

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 and superlatives have [ŋg] word-medially. They're an exception to the normal rule of thumb.

Examples: younger, longer, stronger, 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 pronounced in compound words. (Note that the pronunciation with [ŋɡ] can still be heard in many dialects.

It's also explained briefly in Phonological variables and the sources of accent variables
Also see singer-finger split - Wikipedia

  • hang and hangover are not different in terms of the NG.
    – Lambie
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:24
  • @Lambie: I've never said they were. Can you explain what you're trying to say? And a downvote? Right. (Anyone can downvote like I just did!)
    – Void
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:26
  • "It seems that the [g] doesn't get pronounced in compound words". Yes, that is incorrect. It is not Hanover, the name of a town. If you remove the g, that is what you get: Hanover. I explained all this in my answer but people downvote because they are clueless.
    – Lambie
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:42
  • @Lambie: Can you distinguish between g and [g]?
    – Void
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:44
  • I hadn't downvoted your answer until you downvoted mine. You're confusing sounds ([g]) with spelling (g).
    – Void
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:45

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. Feb 17 '20 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 '20 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. Feb 17 '20 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 '20 at 3:50
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    Is there anything I said that warrants that kind of aggression? Feb 17 '20 at 3:56

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