2

I've heard the 'n' in "Me llaman Carlos" voiced as [ŋ] (the "ng" sound in English).

Is it ever correct to voice it as "Me ʝaman kaɾlos"?

Under what circumstances is 'n' voiced as [ŋ] versus [n]?

5

This is a normal feature of Spanish (and indeed many other languages) called assimilation. More specifically, in this instance, it's called anticipatory coarticulation.

When the normally alveolar voiced nasal /n/ immediately precedes a velar (for Spanish you have /k/, /g/, and /x/), the articulatory position of the /n/ is pushed back in preparation for the velar sound, thus being realized as the allophone [ŋ] instead of the "default" [n]. This makes the sound of the two letters closer, and easier to say.

It's perfectly correct and indeed expected, such that not doing it will sound a bit off and overenunciated. But don't think about it, your mouth/tongue will generally take care of it automatically when speaking.

(Also there are some dialects that word/phrase finally do this naturally to all /n/, if I remember correctly, but I can't recall which at the moment)

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.