How to Make the N, related to D

I worked with a student recently to get a good, clean N sound. One thing that helped her was to think of the tongue position being similar to the D. In this American English pronunciation video, we’ll look at that concept.

The N position similar to the position of the D. Let’s take the words ‘dice’ and ‘nice’. For the D, dd, dd, you can see the tongue position is raised here, where the front part is touching just behind the front top teeth. Dd, dd, dice. Now look at the position for the N: nn, nn, nice. Again, it’s the very front part of the tongue that’s raising and touching right here. Nice. Dice, nice. So, a good exercise to work on your N is to switch back and forth between syllables that start with a D and syllables that start with an N. Da-da-da-da-da, na-na-na-na-na, for example. Do use a mirror to make sure that it’s the front part of your tongue that’s raising. If it’s any part of the tongue further back that’s touching the roof of the mouth, the N is going to start to sound somewhat like an NG. To have a very clean N sound, it needs to be the very front part of the tongue that’s making that movement.

I also want to point out that the jaw does not have to close for the tongue to come in to the N position. Na-na-na.In fact, if you close the jaw every time you make the N, the sound is going to get a little trapped, and it’s going to be a lot more work. Let’s take for example the word ‘banana’. Banana. Watch my mouth as I say that. Banana. You can see the jaw hardly has to move at all in that word. All of the articulation happens with the tongue. Banana, banana.

I hope this video will help you focus your work to get a good, clean N sound. En-en-en-en-en. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English. I’d like to take moment for a quick plug for a new course I’m developing. It’s going to be an 8-week conversation course that runs in April and May of 2012. It will bring together videos,audio clips, and exercise PDFs that I’ve made for my private students. So, I’ll be pulling in the topics that I find I work on the most with my students. Each week is structured with certain topics. There will be a lot of drilling practice, and also opportunity for you to record yourself and upload it for my comment. There will also be group projects, where you’ll be engaging in conversation with one another. Because this is my first time running such a course, I am offering it at a discount, and I’m also limiting the number of students to 30 So visit my website for more information, and do consider signing up. I really think it will take you a long way in your pronunciation practice.

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