Saturday, December 12, 2009

English Present Participle /ŋ/ or /n/

Ok I guess I will start defining what a present participle is in english.

"The present participle is a participle that ends in ing. It can be used with the auxilliary verb 'to be' to form the continuous tense. It always takes the ‘ing’ form of the verb, even irregular verbs have an ‘’ form, in fact virtually all English words that end with ‘ing’ are present participles...The present participle can also be used as a noun denoting the action of a verb a gerund. But remember the present participle can be used as a verb or an adjective whilst the gerund is used as a noun."

So now I will give you a few examples of the present participle in use.

I am learning English.

We were running through the woods.

The bolded words are the present participles.


So here is where my question sits. You have the "-ing" and we know that the /ŋ/is the sound that we make when we say things like "king" "sing" etc.

I have noticed though that with in the present participle the "ing" sound varies some say /ŋ/ others say /n/.

Let me try to explain in more detail.

You have this word "Running" now some people pronounce the "-ing" as "eeng" (were the "ee" sound, sounds like "free"

Now others and this is more common in the south say "in" and not "eeng" for the "-ing" participle.

I have noticed in my own speech that I do neither. I preserve the "ee" sound but i drop the /ŋ/ and produce just /n/

So I pronounce the participle like the ending of "Keen" just "een"

I am not sure if people realize that they do it, I have asked some and there many that still do /ŋ/ but I am not sure what occurs more.

I did find this, I am not sure how creditable it is but i will show you any way.

The title is "Actually, "-in' " was the original pronunciation for the present participle suffix."

"The -ing suffix had two origins in Old English:

The present participle ending -ende

The Gerund (verbal noun) ending -unge

by Middle English they had simplified to -in' (spelled -en, like in German) and -ing and the pronunciations began to become confused (partly because of Welsh influence, Welsh uses the same ending for both the present particle and gerund). Status-conscious middle-class Early Modern English speakers eventually settled on -ing as the "proper" pronunciation because it matched the spelling. But in reality EVERYONE except the pronunciation Nazis normally says -in'."

This is what Have been looking into the last few days.

I hope I will find more interesting things out about it soon.


1 comment:

  1. I just found this other site that talks about "ing"