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Blake
06-02-2004, 07:32 PM
OK, so I have an appointment with a medical type called Dr. Ng. I have never met Dr. Ng and I am dreading turning up to his (or her) office and having to tell the receptionist I have an appointment with Dr. Unpronouncable.

Iíve asked around and have received as many different answers on how to pronounce the name as the people I have asked: Ing, Enjee, Noy etc. Unfortunately I donít know any Vietnamese, who presumably would know.

So how is the name Ng pronounced?

Starving Artist
06-02-2004, 07:43 PM
I believe it's pronounced "ing," like the last syllable in talking. That's the way it's been pronounced every time I've seen someone with that name on t.v.

Bob Scene
06-02-2004, 07:46 PM
I used to know a guy named Leon Ng who insisted it was pronounced "Goldstien."

Richard Pearse
06-02-2004, 07:52 PM
I believe it's pronounced "ing," like the last syllable in talking.

Yes, but without the i sound. When you say ing, you initially have your tongue minding its own business at the bottom of your mouth, then it lifts up against your palet for the ng sound. To pronounce Ng, just start with your tongue already up against your palet.

I suppose if you just pronounce it "Doctoring" you wouldn't be far off.

Exapno Mapcase
06-02-2004, 07:58 PM
If you're a monolingual American, your saying "Ing" will probably make him grateful just for your being close and making the attempt.

Diceman
06-02-2004, 09:08 PM
Back in college, I asked an asian classmate of mine this question, and he said it was pronounced like "Eng."

arjee
06-02-2004, 09:11 PM
A local newscaster with the last name Ng, pronounces it on the air as, "ing," but a co-worker of mine pronounces her last name of Ng as, "nung" (rhymes with tongue).

Starving Artist
06-02-2004, 09:16 PM
D'oh! :smack: Why didn't I think of this sooner?

If he/she is a doctor, why not call his or her office and ask the receptionist or a coworker how he/she pronounces it?

sinjin
06-02-2004, 09:19 PM
"Woo"

TheLoadedDog
06-02-2004, 09:24 PM
I have an ex-girlfriend with this name. She lives in Hong Kong. She complains that Westerners pronounce it "ink".

In actual fact, it's pronounced exactly as it's written: ng. There are those who say English-speakers are incapable of pronouncing this sound, but that's a load of hooey. We can and do say it correctly all the time. It's just that we only ever say it at the end of a word, and never at the beginning or by itself. If you can say walking, then you can say ng. It'll just take a little bit of practice. Say walking, and hold the final sound: walkinnnnnnngggggggg. Then stop virbating your vocal cords, but keep your mouth in the exact same position. Then start vocalising again for half a second or so, and you'll come out with a pretty good Chinese ng.

If you still can't do it (but I think you will), and you want to give up, then just say ing. I'm sure the good doctor will be used to people saying that.

rngadam
06-02-2004, 10:08 PM
So how is the name Ng pronounced?

That's actually my family name... I ask people to pronounce it N-g (just the two letters), it is less trouble that way. But maybe that is because I'm just half-Chinese.

In Cantonese it sounds like "Mmm"

In Mandarin, it sounds like "Wu"

In Japanese it is "Go"

The Chinese character is similar to the number five...

John Mace
06-02-2004, 10:26 PM
That's actually my family name... I ask people to pronounce it N-g (just the two letters), it is less trouble that way. But maybe that is because I'm just half-Chinese.

In Cantonese it sounds like "Mmm"

In Mandarin, it sounds like "Wu"

In Japanese it is "Go"

The Chinese character is similar to the number five...

I've worked with an Ng or two, and they also just told us to pronounce it N-G, like the letters. This is generally the Latin letter spelling of the Cantonese name, isn't it?

It's probably best just to ask the guy (or lady). He or she is probably used to having to explain it...

bizzwire
06-02-2004, 11:19 PM
How's about you just call him "Doctor?"

Blake
06-02-2004, 11:52 PM
Thanks for all the replies but I think Iím just as confused as I was before I asked here. It seems like the different answers I received when I asked my friends and cow irkers were all correct but only for some people. Enjee, Ing, Eng etc are all variants and possibly someone somewhere just gave up and suggested Noy as well. Iím sensing this is source of minor frustration for people with this name.

I also assumed it was a Vietnamese name but it appears Iím wrong and the name is also Chinese as well, and probably several other nationalities to boot.

I thing Iíll just go with Ing and then ask if I got it right.

If he/she is a doctor, why not call his or her office and ask the receptionist or a coworker how he/she pronounces it?

Well Iím going to have to see the receptionsit when I walk in the door anyway so I can ask then. I just would have preferred to be all cool and simply say that I have an appointemnet with Dr. X rather than explaining that I canít pronounce the name. Iím sure the receptionist gets it a dozen times a day, but itís an ego thing with me.

How's about you just call him "Doctor?"

Well I can do that to his/her face but I still have to negotiate the waiting room. Itís a clinic so I assume it has several doctors on staff. At some point Iím going to have to explain who Iím there to see.

Mbossa
06-03-2004, 12:37 AM
I also had a classmate whose surname was Ng. She said that it should pronounced the same way it's spelt, but "ing" and "ning" were both acceptable. Our nickname for her was "Missing".

I'd recommend that you practice saying "ing", but make the "i" sound shorter and quieter than usual (until it's not there at all).

xash
06-03-2004, 01:03 AM
I'd recommend that you practice saying "ing", but make the "i" sound shorter and quieter than usual (until it's not there at all).That leaves us with: How do you pronounce Mbossa? :smack: :D

Starving Artist
06-03-2004, 01:42 AM
I just would have preferred to be all cool and simply say that I have an appointemnet with Dr. X rather than explaining that I canít pronounce the name. Iím sure the receptionist gets it a dozen times a day, but itís an ego thing with me. You could walk in all cool and simply say "Yes, I have an appointment with Dr. Ing." He/she will undoubtedly say, "Yes, sir." Then, with a look of detached interest, you could inquire if that was the correct pronunciation. This way you'll look cool and will be making an effort at the same time, while still having one last chance to get it right before meeting him/her in person. It's a win/win proposition.

Green Bean
06-03-2004, 01:55 AM
I had a student once with this last name. I had known others with it, and they had pronounced it "Eng." So I pronounced it "eng." She got totally offended and snapped "It's Ing!" :rolleyes: I hope she got over her persnicketiness over the issue, because it's gonna be a long unhappy life for her if she gets mad every time some round-eye mispronounces her vowel-less surname.

Fortunately, every other person I've met with a difficult name like Nguyen or Hsieh or something has been very patient about explaining how they would like it pronounced.

I'd say your best bet is to pronounce it "Ing" or "Eng." Just put the emphasis on the "ng" part. At least it's a commonly accepted way to say it in English, so even if the doc prefers another pronunciation, you won't sound stupid.

TheLoadedDog
06-03-2004, 03:12 AM
I also assumed it was a Vietnamese name but it appears Iím wrong and the name is also Chinese as well, and probably several other nationalities to boot.
That particular family name actually exists in Vietnamese, but the people there spell and pronounce it Ngo (which is still a bitch to get right sometimes).

Mbossa
06-03-2004, 07:33 AM
That leaves us with: How do you pronounce Mbossa? :smack: :D

I was waiting for someone to ask that :D. You can pronounce it however you want - I won't mind (especially since I won't be able to hear you :p). But if you really want an answer, try "embosser" without the "e".

For the record, my real name is a lot easier to pronounce (apart from the "McK" at the start of my surname - but most people have learnt to cope with that one!)

nocturnal_tick
06-03-2004, 09:25 AM
*Off-topic*

For anyone who watches University Challenge, they often have a contestant by the name of Ng on for the Cambridge / Oxford competition. (I think it's the OxCam game anyway). For those of you unfamiliar with the game the teams must buzz in to answer a starter question. Whoever buzzes in the announcer says the University name and then the name of the Contestant. I still laugh at the way the announcer can say, in this suave, English accent "Cambridge, Ng" :D

It's sorta like the noise you would thrust when thrusting your pelvis, according to University Challenge.

nocturnal_tick
06-03-2004, 09:26 AM
:smack:

It's sorta like the noise you would make when thrusting your pelvis, according to University Challenge

Max Carnage
06-03-2004, 10:38 AM
What about "Nguyen"?

bordelond
06-03-2004, 10:54 AM
A local newscaster with the last name Ng, pronounces it on the air as, "ing," but a co-worker of mine pronounces her last name of Ng as, "nung" (rhymes with tongue).
A Tagalog-speaking friend confirms the "nung" pronunciation for Filipinos happening to have this surname. Apparently, this name is treated differently in different areas.


What about "Nguyen"?
Passably -- pronounce Nguyen exactly like "Gwen".

Perfectly -- practice pronouncing "ng" at the beginning of words. It's actually pretty easy (remember m is to b as n is to d as ng is to g. If you can say "goat", you can say "ngoat".

Once that's down, say "Ngwen" to rhyme with "Gwen".

BurnMeUp
06-03-2004, 10:56 AM
What about "Nguyen"?

I have worked with a few people with this last name and I'm pretty sure it's pronounced like it's spelled.

Ng-win

Thudlow Boink
06-03-2004, 11:00 AM
Over 20 replies and still no mention of the They Might Be Giants song "Ana Ng"?
(And no smart aleck coming in to tell us that "it's pronounced Throat-Warbler Mangrove"?)

bordelond
06-03-2004, 11:35 AM
I have worked with a few people with this last name and I'm pretty sure it's pronounced like it's spelled.

Ng-win

To an English speaker, the spelling leaves something unclear: number of syllables.

By spelling alone, Nguyen could have two syllables and be pronounced "ngoo-yen".

ianzin
06-03-2004, 02:19 PM
A friend of mine in Singapore has this surname. I asked him and he said it was pronounced just as it looks, Ng, sort of a very short nuh sound followed by a final hard g.

As one of my many bids for the SDMB prize for Stating The Obvious, it seems from all the replies that there is no consensus as to the pronunciation. This means you are all the more entitled to simply ask the guy how you should pronounce it.

cmkeller
06-03-2004, 02:29 PM
xash:

That leaves us with: How do you pronounce Mbossa?

Listen to Hanson records over and over, and you'll get the it right eventually.

postcards
06-03-2004, 04:24 PM
Originally Posted by Blake
I just would have preferred to be all cool and simply say that I have an appointemnet with Dr. X rather than explaining that I canít pronounce the name. Iím sure the receptionist gets it a dozen times a day, but itís an ego thing with me.

I dunno, 'Ng' is easy, but I'm having trouble trying to pronounce 'appointemnet'.

wisernow
06-03-2004, 04:52 PM
I don't believe it can be pronounced as Eng or Ing, for a very simple reason. Please realize that this doctor is a Vietnamese(or Chinese whatever...) and his name is also Vietnamese(or Chinese whatever...). It was out of necessity that he had to find ways of writing his name in english. He had a choice and he thus exercised that choice by choosing the best possible combination of letters to form a word that would be closest to the correct pronunciation of his name. The fact that he chose only Ng when he could very well have chosen Eng or Ing, implies that the correct pronunciation cannot be Eng or Ing. It has to be pronounced as what anyone knowing english would naturally pronounce Ng. IMHO a way to pronounce it would be to start saying NO but then as soon as the vocal chords have started producing the first sound of Nnnn...suddenly change your decision and try to end with a g as in go. There...you have it!

TheLoadedDog
06-03-2004, 05:04 PM
When the Vietnamese started coming to Australia in large numbers, the poor buggers had to put up with the Aussies pronouncing Nguyen as Nyoo-an (s in Nyoo-an used cars). Some people still use this pronunciation, and most Vietnamese are resigned to it.

Things have improved these days, and most English speakers here have upgraded the way that say this surname to a simple Win. This is quite acceptable, and most Vietnamese appreciate it (after twenty years of hearing nyoo-an from us).
If you want to go one step further, try saying nwin. Then, to get real close to the proper Vietnamese way, you'll need to get the Ng thing happening, and also introduce a very short schwa sound immediately after the Ng sound and before the w sound. It's actually a two-syllable name, but the first is quite sublimated. And of course the 'w' isn't actually a 'w' at all (the letter doesn't exist in Vietnamese); represented by the 'y' in Nguyen, this sound is what you get if you try to say 'w' without bringing your lips together (it's a bit like the phantom "almost w" in the French oui).

In other words, compared to Nguyen, Ng is a walk in the park.

awldune
06-03-2004, 05:19 PM
Over 20 replies and still no mention of the They Might Be Giants song "Ana Ng"?

1. I have my doubts about how many people have ever heard the song
2. You'd have to also know the name of the song, since you can't tell WTF he's saying. (he says it as "Ang", IIRC)

Blake
06-03-2004, 07:27 PM
The fact that he chose only Ng when he could very well have chosen Eng or Ing, implies that the correct pronunciation cannot be Eng or Ing.


Yeah well, youíd think that. But then you have probably never seen Maori spelling of names. The letters are not the best English representation of pronunciation by any stretch. One of my favourits has always been ďWhangaparitaĒ, probably best repesented by the speling ĎFungapreetaí.

The point is tha foreign speakers donít always adopt the best English pronunciation in their spellings. Often they have developed an alternative spelling system using uncommon letter combinations like Ďwhí and Ďngí to represent sounds that donít truly exist in English. Because of that itís impossible to conclude that ĎEngí isnít pronounced ĎEngí or ĎUngí or ĎEnjeeí or anything else.

ummm... yeahh...
06-03-2004, 11:39 PM
The French would have us believe "Roy" is pronounced "Wah". Friggin' hockey players... :dubious:

Myglaren
06-04-2004, 07:14 AM
Can't remember where I saw it, in some book I read a few years ago but which one is lost to me.

Anyway, one of the prime characters was called Nguyen Ng, and he pronouced it 'John Wayne'

Pondered on this many a time over tha past few years, and the above thread has done absolutely nothing towards clearing up the mystery.


I would say, in answer to the OP, ask the receptionist, she will probably mispronounce it anyway, or garble the pronunciation into something she thinks you can handle.

jjimm
06-04-2004, 07:32 AM
I worked for two different bosses in Hong Kong who both had this surname. The correct Cantonese pronunciation is indeed exactly as it's written. Say a word that ends in 'ng' and remove the rest of the word. It's a short hum with your mouth open - it's not that difficult to pronounce. A similar 'consonant' sound is used for the beginning of the words that mean, e.g. "I/me" (ngoh) and "love" (ngoi).

(Note, my transliterations there, not official ones.)

bordelond
06-04-2004, 11:06 AM
The correct Cantonese pronunciation is indeed exactly as it's written. Say a word that ends in 'ng' and remove the rest of the word. It's a short hum with your mouth open - it's not that difficult to pronounce.
What throws people accustomed to Western languages is that in some dialects (viz Cantonese), Chinese allows syllables that consist solely of a consonant sound.

In this case, that consonant is the velar nasal "ng" (International Phonetic Association symbol is "ŋ"). Compare the velar nasal to the familiar bilabial nasal (m) and alveolar nasal (n). Like m and n, ng can be pronounced in an extended manner -- one can hum "mmmmm", "nnnnnn". Likewise, one can also hum ng -- "ŋŋŋŋŋŋŋŋŋ".

By contrast, consonants like t and k cannot be extended. Their pronunciation has a temporary and punctuated saliency.

What does this all mean? In short, a few languages allow extendable consonants to form syllabic nuclei in much the same way as (naturally extendable) vowels do. So the name Ng can be regarded in the same way as names like Oh (Japanese) and U (Burmese) -- it is a single-sound syllable.

Other extendable sounds are used to form syllabic nuclei. Not too unfamiliar are the use or "r" and "l" as syllabic nuclei in Slavic languages -- Czech Plzen, Serbo-Croatian hrvatski.

Also, IIRC, in some dialects of Chinese, the number "two" (Mandarin "two" spelled er4 in Pinyin) is pronounced much like "zzzzzzzzzh", except the tongue tip is raised near the roof of the mouth.

Finally, in some American Indian languages, such Bella Coola (http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/naind/html/na_034200_salishanlang.htm), words like sps (pronounced more or less "ssspsss") exist.

Blake
06-04-2004, 07:12 PM
So now I have another unrelated question.

How do people shout these names? It seems like a word lacking vowels canít really be projected. I just tried shouting Ďngí and the loudest sound I could make can hardly be heard from the next room. Itís like humming really loudly.


Do people add extra fake vowels when shouting these names to give them projection?

bordelond
06-05-2004, 11:35 AM
So now I have another unrelated question.

How do people shout these names? It seems like a word lacking vowels canít really be projected. I just tried shouting Ďngí and the loudest sound I could make can hardly be heard from the next room. Itís like humming really loudly.

Do people add extra fake vowels when shouting these names to give them projection?

That's a great question. Surely the combined wherewithall of the SDMB can get to the bottom of this!

:cool:

iwakura43
06-05-2004, 12:02 PM
Can't remember where I saw it, in some book I read a few years ago but which one is lost to me.

Anyway, one of the prime characters was called Nguyen Ng, and he pronouced it 'John Wayne'



That would be Neal Stephenson's excellent novel Cryptonomicon.

It seems to me that Nguyen should be pronounced like the word "penguin," removing the "peh" sound at the beginning. Does that sound correct to you Dopers?

shijinn
06-05-2004, 01:54 PM
... How do people shout these names? It seems like a word lacking vowels canít really be projected. I just tried shouting Ďngí and the loudest sound I could make can hardly be heard from the next room. Itís like humming really loudly.

Do people add extra fake vowels when shouting these names to give them projection? no, they just choose whatever else is convenient.

Ana Ng - ANAAAAAA!
Doctor Ng - HELP!!!!
stranger Ng - OI!!!!!

Myglaren
06-05-2004, 04:35 PM
That would be Neal Stephenson's excellent novel Cryptonomicon.

It seems to me that Nguyen should be pronounced like the word "penguin," removing the "peh" sound at the beginning. Does that sound correct to you Dopers?

Yep, That would be the one, I think. Must dig it out and check. Thanks for the reminder.

China Guy
06-05-2004, 09:03 PM
My canto is horrendous, but to my ears Ng sounds pretty much like the "un" in "hunger"

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