The /ng/ sound should start developing between the ages of two and six. This can be a tricky sound to perfect because it requires strong tongue muscles. Your child will first have to develop these before she can start learning this sound properly.
How It’s Elicited
/ng/ is a vocal sound, meaning it’s produced in the vocal chords.
When saying the /ng/ sound, the back of your tongue should raise up and touch the soft palette on the roof of the mouth while the tip of the tongue pushes against the front bottom teeth. The soft palette will remain relaxed allowing the airflow to pass under it.
The lips will remain pared. This is nasal sound, along with /n/ and /m/. You might point out the “buzzing” sensation your child should feel if she is producing the sound correctly.
Let your child watch the way the different parts of your mouth—the tongue in particular—move when you pronounce the /ng/ sound and then encourage him to imitate these movements. Exaggerated movements on either yours or your child’s part can be
considered appropriate at first so as to ensure that each element of articulation is being properly performed and/or imitated. However, once the child is comfortable with these movements, a more natural articulation of the sound should be encouraged.
How to Practice
Once your child is correctly imitating the sound, try encouraging some contextual use. Make a list of several syllables that include the with the /ng/ sound for your child to practice—“ing,” “ang”, “eng.” When your child’s skill level begins to surpass this drill, try switching it up. Start finding combining simple syllables into words that incorporate /ng/ into the middle for him to master—“English,” “ringing,’ “gong.”
The next step should be to starting stringing together words that use the /ng/ sound into sentences that your child can practice with. Here’s one to get you started: “Bring your English book to class when the bell rings.”
The ultimate goal should be incorporating the /ng/ sound into your child’s conversations effortlessly. This can be done with lots of repetition and careful attention to the correct articulation of the sound. Don’t be afraid to encourage your child to say words slowly at first when learning to use the sound.
If you are concerned with your child’s speech or language development, please contact Chicago Speech Therapy by clicking on the “Contact Karen” button on the upper right section of this page. Your online inquiry should be responded to within 30 minutes.
Karen George is a Chicago speech-language pathologist. Karen is a founding member and the current leader of Chicago Speech Therapists Connect, a group of Chicago-area speech-language pathologists. As of Jan 2012, the Chicago Speech Therapists group contained over 400 members. The private pediatric speech therapy practice Karen founded, Chicago Speech Therapy, LLC, provides in-home pediatric speech therapy in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Karen and her team of Chicago speech therapists have a reputation for ultra-effective speech therapy and work with a variety of speech disorders. Karen is the author of several books such as A Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language Milestones, A Parent’s Guide to Articulation, A Parent’s Guide to Speech Delay, A Parent’s Guide to Stuttering Therapy, and A Parent’s Guide to Pediatric Feeding Therapy. She is often asked to speak and has addressed audiences at Children’s Memorial and Northwestern University. Karen is highly referred by many Chicago-area Pediatricians and elite schools.