Appendix:English words where G is pronounced exceptionally

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
English Wikipedia has an article on:

The following English words contain the letter "g" pronounced in a way which is an exception to the rules: the soft "g" occurs when the "g" comes before the letters "e", "i" or "y", and the hard "g" occurs elsewhere.

Hard "g" where soft "g" expected[edit]

"ng" before "e", "i" or "y"[edit]

When a suffix starting with "e", "i" or "y" is added to a word ending in "ng", either the "ng" retains its velar nasal pronunciation /ŋ/ (as in clingy, hanger) or the "g" hardens (as in longest). A few words ending in -nger are pronounced with a hard "g", although the "er" ending is not a suffix:

"gg" before "e", "i" or "y"[edit]

When a suffix beginning with "e", "i" or "y" is added to a word that ends in a single vowel letter followed by "g", the hard "g" pronunciation of the original word is retained, and the "g" is doubled in spelling to "gg": blogger, druggie, hugging, piggish, saggy, wagged. In addition, several words that are not the result of suffixing, but are spelled similarly to suffixed forms (or that are etymologically suffixed, but not always perceived as such by modern speakers), pronounce "gg" as hard "g" before "e", "i" or "y":

These suffix forms and their brethren constitute exceptions to the soft "g" rule, but they vastly outnumber the soft pronunciations of "gg", which are listed below.

Soft "g" where hard "g" expected[edit]

There are very few true exceptions in which "g" is soft but not followed by "e", "i", or "y":

Some words have lost a trailing "e" due to suffixing:

The soft "g" in these words has lost its trailing "e" or "i" in the shortening from their full forms:

  • frig (variant spelling of fridge; a short form of refrigerator)
  • reg (short form of registrar, registration and registry)
  • vag (short form of vagina)
  • veg (short form of vegetable), ~es, ~ged, ~ging

Soft "gg"[edit]

Either pronunciation[edit]

  • hegemony, ~ies (/ɡ/ mainly in Britain)
  • margarine, ~s (/dʒ/ predominant)
  • GIF/gif (both the hard "g" and soft "g" are used[2])
  • Argive
  • Algae
  • Gillingham (Initial "g" is soft for the Kentish town, hard for the Dorset town)
  • Gillian (Predominantly with soft "g"; some women with this given name [e.g., Flynn, Jacobs, Welch] use hard "g" instead)
  • Sacagawea (/dʒ/ predominant)

Other pronunciations of "g"[edit]

G as /ʒ/[edit]

Despite in most English words of French origin soft "g" became pronounced [dʒ], there are some words of French origin which retain the original French pronunciation [ʒ]:

GG as either /gdʒ/ or /dʒ/[edit]

  • suggest, ~ed, ~s, ~ing, ~ion, ~ions

G as /x/[edit]

G as /h/[edit]

See also[edit]