Ng words

Ng words, Ng sounds

Ng words and difficulties in pronouncing the /ng/ sound are sometimes seen in children with resonance issues or a history of cleft palate. The /ng/ sound can be taught in speech therapy using some specific techniques and activities.

The two letters in /ng/ actually make up a digraph, meaning they come together to make a single phoneme, /ŋ/.

The /ng/ sound is only seen in the medial or final position of words in the English language, like “England” or “running” When looking at the classification of consonant sounds, /ŋ/ is a voiced velar nasal phoneme.

To produce this sound, the back of the tongue lifts to make contact with the soft palate (the roof of the mouth, in the back). Because /ng/ is a nasal sound, a stream of air is directed through the nasal passage and not the mouth in pronouncing /ng/ words. The vocal cords are used to create the /ŋ/ sound.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), a child may be able to produce the /ŋ/ sound by the age of 2 years-old. By age 4, most children should be able to produce this sound.

Common errors children with speech sound disorders may make when attempting to produce the /ng/ sound include omitting the sound or substituting it, for example, with the /n/ sound.

When children have an articulation disorder that includes difficulty saying the /ng/ words, it can cause their speech to be hard for others to understand. According to recent research, a child’s speech should be at least 75% intelligible to others at age 6.

Are you working with a client who is struggling to articulate /ng/ words, and it’s affecting their speech intelligibility?

Here are some of the most effective and engaging activities for improving articulation of /ng/ words. A word list organized in order of complexity and word position is also here to guide your therapy sessions as you target /ng/ words.

Exercise #1: Touch Your Nose

Not only does a child need to have strong tongue muscles to produce the /ng/ sound, but they also need to correctly direct the flow of air.

Some children struggle with differentiating how to direct a stream of air through their nasal passages versus through the mouth. A little tactile cueing can help with this.

Ask your client to put their finger on the side of their nose. Demonstrate this, showing your client that when your produce the /ŋ/ sound, you can feel your nose vibrating.

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Exercise #2: Where’s the Air?
Here’s another exercise that can help a child who may be having difficulty producing the flow of air through their nose to pronounce /ng/ words.
  • Ask the client to put their index finger in front of their mouth while making the /ng/ sound. Tell him or her that they should not feel any air.

  • Now, ask your client to move their index finger upwards, just in front of the nose. He or she can attempt the /ng/ sound again, and this time, they should feel air coming out, through the nose.

  • Instead of their finger, your client can also use something like a small piece of a tissue or a feather and watch it move closer to the nose. That shows the air is coming from the right place.

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Exercise #3: Work on /ng/ at the End of Syllables

The /ng/ sound differs from other consonants in that it is not found in the initial position of words.

So, after your client is stimulable for producing the /ng/ in isolation, try moving to production of the sound in the final position of syllables.

These include syllables such as:






Try working on these syllables one at a time. Choose one, such as “ing”, and ask your client to produce it repetitively, such as 5 times in a row.

Be sure to start by demonstrating how to accurately produce the /ng/ at the end of the syllable first. Overexaggerating the production of the sound, and encouraging the client to watch your mouth closely, can help as they learn to pronounce /ng/ words.

Exercise #4: Simon Says

Working on the /ng/ sound can not only improve a client’s speech intelligibility, but it can also boost certain language skills by encouraging the client to formulate present progressive verbs.

Around age 2 to 2.5 years, children typically use the present progressive verb tense (“ing”) correctly.

Focus on the /ng/ sound in the final position of words, in present progressive verbs, to help develop both the child’s articulation and language skills.

A simple game of Simon Says is perfect for this.

As the child is completing different actions during the game, ask him or her to describe those actions out loud. For example, “I am jumping”, “spinning”, or “clapping”.

This activity involves movement and requires the client to listen attentively to your instructions, so it’s great for keeping your client engaged and working hard on their /ng/ words.

Watch this video on how to engage your clients in teletherapy

Exercise #5: Sing!

Two frequently occurring words in a child’s vocabulary that contain the /ng/ sound are sing and song. Use these during an activity in speech therapy to improve your client’s articulation of /ng/ words.

Let your client request their favorite song by saying the phrase:

“Let’s sing the song…” and finishing with their song choice.

Over teletherapy or during an in-person therapy session, the client might enjoy singing the song with you or watching it on the internet. During this activity, your client can practice multiple repetitions of the /ng/ sound in the final position of words by requesting several different songs that include /ng/ words.

Word Lists for /Ng/

Medial Position



















Final Position



































SLPs working with individuals who have an articulation disorder or phonological disorder in articulating /ng/ words can utilize TheraPlatform for helpful resources. TheraPlatform has an extensive library of resources, apps and games that SLPs can use in their sessions as part of their Pro Plus plan. 

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