The word ENGLISH is a tricky word: you have an NG sound AND a hard G!
YouTube blocked? Click here to see the video.
In this American English pronunciation video, we’re going to go over the pronunciation of the word ‘English’.
You’re studying English, but how confident are you pronouncing this word? Thanks for the request.
This is a two-syllable word. And like most two-syllable words, stress is on the first syllable. So the stress pattern is long-short, big-small. DA-da, DA-da. English. English.
When you look up this word in the dictionary, you’ll see this pronunciation, with the IH as in SIT vowel. IH. English. It’s not quite how we actually pronounce it with the IH vowel. When the IH vowel is followed by the NG consonant, which happens in all of the ING words like ‘walking’, ‘trying’, ‘speaking’, the IH vowel tightens up a little bit. Rather than IH, English, it’s EE, English, it’s closer to the EE as in SHE vowel. So the tongue is closer to the roof of the mouth. IH, EE. Tongue tip is down, the front part arches forward and up, closer to the roof of the mouth than for the IH vowel.
Then the back part of the tongue touches the lowered soft palate, Eng-, to make the NG sound. Eng-. Sometimes the letters NG make just the NG sound, like in ‘sing’. Sometimes they make the NG sound, plus a G sound, like in this word, English.
So, the second syllable starts with a light G sound. Eng-gg, gg. Your tongue is already in position, touching the soft palate. So close the soft palate and pull the tongue away. It sounds a little complicated, but I bet you can do it. I’ve never met a student who had a problem with this. Eng-gg. Engl-. As you release the back of the tongue, lift the front of the tongue. Engl-. The Light L can be made one of two ways. One, with the tongue tip touching the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth, ll. Or, two, with pressing up on the bottom of the top front teeth. Ll– That’s the position you’ll see in the up close footage in a minute, Engl-. The second syllable is unstressed, so it won’t be as loud, long, or clear as the first syllable, -lish, -lish, -lish. Eng-lish. Release the tongue tip for a quick and relaxed IH vowel before the SH. For the SH, flare the lips and lift the tongue so the front part of the tongue is close to the roof of the mouth. Shh— English. English. English.
Let’s watch up close and in slow motion.
The jaw drops for the opening sound. Remember, the tongue is a little higher, a little closer to the roof of the mouth, than it normally is for the IH vowel. You can’t see what happens next, since it happens at the back of the mouth. The tongue makes the NG and G consonants. Now the tongue tip comes through the teeth, pressing up on the bottom of the top front teeth, to make the L sound. The tongue tip back in for the IH vowel, and the lips flare for the SH sound. Let’s watch one more time.
I hope this video has made how to pronounce ENGLISH more clear. If there’s a word or phrase you’d like help pronouncing, put it in the comments below.
Are you signed up for my mailing list? If you are, you get a weekly email with English lessons and fun stories about what’s going on with me. It’s absolutely free. Please sign up, it’s a great way to keep in touch. You can click here, or in the description below.
Also, I’m very pleased to tell you that my book is now available for purchase. If you liked this video, there’s a lot more to learn about American English pronunciation, and my book will help you step by step. You can get it by clicking here, or in the description below.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.