Earlier this week, I taught a pop-up class on [ŋ] in which I explained that [ŋ] is conditioned by a velar consonant following <n>. In words like pink, banquet, distinct, conch, longer, or finger, you can hear the velar consonant that follows the <n>, but in words like sing, long, or singer, the <g> is typically zeroed after velarizing the <n>. That's the upshot of that understanding, and it's elegant as all get-out.
Most phonics programs would have us believe that English has the following patterns: ing, ang, ong, ung, ink, ank, onk, unk. This kind of teaching results in misspellings like *<thingk> and *<Inglish>. It fails to deal with words like English, strength, length, or with the velarization of the <n> in words like incredible or sanctify or conquer.
Moreover, wealthy, self-satisfied Phombies like Louisa Moats have no problem offering <c.h.u.n.k> and <s.t.r.i.ng> as analyses in the same talk – on the same slide – without bothering to address the glaring disparity. That would add both <n> and <ng> as graphemes that can spell [ŋ], which is a lot less elegant than a <g> that zeroes.
During class, one of the participants then made a brilliant observation in the chat: