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Phonics help - ng, nk

(14 Posts)
chapca Sat 28-Nov-15 20:44:39

My child is in reception and is doing phonics with rwi. I have been looking at the speed sounds chart and wondering if I'm misunderstanding something, so I would really appreciate some guidance.

Firstly ng is listed as a separate phoneme (is that the right term?). This confuses me as to me ng sounds like it is made up of 2 sounds n followed by g.

Then to add to my confusion nk is listed underneath ng in the chart. Does this mean that nk is an alternative spelling for the phoneme ng? To me it is a different sound ie 'thing' is obviously different to 'think'.

Sorry this is a bit of a dull question but it is making me think that I don't understand the chart properly.


Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 28-Nov-15 20:47:31

Ng and nk arre as you describe. you`re over thinking.

Fairenuff Sat 28-Nov-15 21:50:53

RWI got these sounds wrong imo. They don't sound the same at all and the 'n' and 'g' are definitely two sounds, not one.

maizieD Sat 28-Nov-15 23:24:06

Whether they sound like one or two sounds all depends on your accent, really. Some people run the two together, some enunciate them as two distinct sounds. What is important is the the child learning them responds to them whichever way most fits their accent. Never forget that phonics is not elocution...

I'd agree that 'ng' and 'nk' spell different sounds. However, if you listen very carefully you may well find that when you pronounce 'nk' (say, at the end of 'ink') you actually say 'ingk'.

Which still doesn't make 'ng' and 'nk' spell the same sounds but it's interesting grin

catkind Sat 28-Nov-15 23:28:59

In my accent, ng is usually a single sound (I don't say a hard g in it), and nk is two (ng-k).

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 28-Nov-15 23:43:00

Same here catkind.

It's not that RWI got it wrong. It's probably appropriate for the area that the programme was created in, but if it doesn't fit the accent for the area you are in the teacher should adapt their teaching to suit.

All of the schemes I'm aware of have this phoneme in somewhere.

taeglas Sun 29-Nov-15 00:39:14

I believe nk and ng should not be under each other on the speeds sound chart as to me they are different sounds. nk is not an alternative spelling for ng.

In RWI n is thought with the phrase n - net,g as -girl, ng as- a thing on a string and nk as-I think I stink.

On the Ruth Miskin Training you can listen to RWI sounds.

On the Oxford Owl web site there are free e books. The site is free to join. There are some RWI books on there. You can listen to audio which includes the speeds sound chart for the each e RWI book as well as the blending of the green words in each book.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 29-Nov-15 08:40:18

I agree the chart is confusing 'nk' shouldn't be under 'ng' because it makes them look like the same sound.

The two spellings for the sound /ng/ are usually given as 'ng' and 'n'. Which would be better on the chart, with a separate column for /ng/+/k/ if you needed to put it on at all.

chapca Sun 29-Nov-15 09:18:19

Thanks everyone, I know I'm overthinking but I want to make sure I understand the chart.
Rafels - do you mean that other charts would show n to be pronounced ng + k, in words like think?

That makes more sense but to be honest I still can't hear the difference between ng and n + g. I've a London accent, maybe it's that or maybe my ear isn't properly tuning in.

Thanks again!

maizieD Sun 29-Nov-15 09:53:25

I wouldn't worry too much about it. The sounds which we know as 'phonemes' for the purposes of learning phonics are only rough generalisations of the sounds which make up spoken words. If you were to record the spoken word 'stop', cut up the recording to isolate each of the phonemes and then reassemble them to try to produce 'pots' you wouldn't actually get a recognisable word from it! It is all to do with the position of the phoneme in the word and those which precede and follow it (co-articulation).

Some people try to use this 'fact' to say that teaching phonics is impossible, but, of course, we all know that this is not true. The generalisations we use are adequate for teaching reading and children are, on the whole, more than capable of 'tweaking' them to their own accent.

Mashabell Sun 29-Nov-15 10:32:33

The explanation is a bit complex.

At the end of words most people pronounce -ng as a single sound, with the g hardly there at all: sing, song, ring, rung. But it's also not just an n, as in sin, bin, tin. There is a sort of hum after it.

When ng is followed by another sound, the n and g are usually both pronounced clearly, e.g. single, angle, anger, finger, hunger, ...

but not when words like sing, ring, bring are made longer with suffixes like -er (singer, bringer, ringer).

But in some dialects ng is always pronounced as 2 letters.

I have never heard anyone pronounce nk as a single sound. They are usually always 2 letters: drink, brink, stink.

catkind Sun 29-Nov-15 10:59:48

n is a sound with the tip of my tongue touching the roof of my mouth at the front
ng is a sound with the back of my tongue touching the roof of my mouth at the back
so for me there isn't a n in ng in any word, it's a different sound.

But good point masha about sometimes pronouncing the g - I hadn't thought of those sorts of words.

As maizie says, you just have to teach it the way it works in your own/child's accent.

disappoint15 Sun 29-Nov-15 11:03:12

If you have a London accent you don't pronounce thing as thin-g ie the word thin followed by a separate hard g sound. The ng sound in words like thing is technically known as a velar nasal. The previous explanation of nk is right - it's the velar nasal ng followed by a k sound.

chapca Sun 29-Nov-15 21:54:02

Thanks everyone. I'll stop thinking about it! My little one can read nk and ng words anyway so not sure why I'm worrying about it!

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