Different pronouncing of 那个

As we all know, pronouncing of 那个 is "NaGe", but I have noticed that in TV series it is often pronounced as "NeGa".
Also, my friend told me that her Chinese co-worker also pronounces it as NeGa.

Why is it?
Hello Barry,

I think this comes from "nà yí gè" (那一个), which is commonly shortened to 那个 and when contracted sounds a bit like "NeGa" or "neige". ("e" is in between "a" and "i" in terms of the vertical tongue position.)

Keep the questions coming! :)


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I don‘t think the usage difference of „nèige“ and „nàge“ pronunciations is that clear-cut. I have heard „nèige” used in the original sense of 那一个, as well. Otherwise, where should the „i“ in „zhèige“ and „nèige“ come from other than from the 一 „yī“?
Many reputable books write "nèige" instead of "nàge" in the demonstrative sense, for example this grammar book by Yip Po-Ching.

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那一个 is indeed something slightly different, when you are faced with a choice and leaving out the noun you are referring to. (as in "Not this one, but that one") Perhaps "nèige" has had its use broadened to cases like "nèi ge rén".

AllSetLearning is by John Pasden, a respected language trainer who worked for ChinesePod a long time ago. He recommends also using 那个 as a filler in informal conversation, that's all. Personally, I would use it sparingly, like you wouldn't want to use "Umm" a lot. :)
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Yeah, it’s interesting how something developed in a local sphere and was then adopted by the entire language. Perhaps it‘s at the fringes of a language where most developments happen.