I'm having trouble to differ 'n' and 'ng'. I've been searching it on internet, but I can't really differentiate them. How can I pronounce them correctly?


3 Answers 3


This answer provides a useful explanation and also explains what to do with your mouth when pronouncing the two sounds. As that commenter mentioned, my wife is from Jiangsu and even in English can't distinguish between the two sounds.

This youtube video has some concise examples from English.

This youtube video has some Chinese examples although the audio quality and the pronunciation aren't very clear. It's the best I could find.


N and NG are both nasal sounds. The difference is also found in English. The air does not escape from the mouth(as it is blocked by the lips or the tongue) but the nostril.

When pronouncing [n], put your tip of tongue onto thre upper gum. Let the air come out from the nose.

When pronouncing [ng], low your back of tongue, then the air will escape from the back.


Are you looking for help with Mandarin or English?

In American English, /n/ is made by pressing the tongue against the alveolar ridge (this is the roof of the mouth, behind the teeth). We also make the t, d, and l sounds with the tongue in this location. For/n/, you need to completely seal the tongue against the roof of your mouth in the front.

The "ng" /ŋ/ sound is also made by sealing the tongue against the roof of the mouth, but with the back of the tongue rising up to the make the seal, the the front of the tongue down. The k and g sounds are also made in this location in the mouth.

You can get even more detailed help to differentiate the n and /ŋ/ sounds in this video:


  • The question clearly states that OP is looking for help in Mandarin. Your video explaining English doesnt really help.
    – Mou某
    Jan 29, 2018 at 8:32
  • I should clarify: the phonemes n and ng are the same in both Mandarin and English, so although the video is explaining using example words in English, the sounds are made in the same manner so the details on how the sounds are formed in the mouth still apply. Jan 30, 2018 at 14:39

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