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  1. #1
    Kympathy is offline Newbie
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    Default What is the rule for digraph CH?

    A student of mine asked me for the rule regarding the pronounciation of the digraph ch.

    I have an MA in English, but I cannot for the life of me find an actual rule as to when the pronounciation of the digraph /ch/ should be ch (like which or cheese) or sh (like chef) or qu (like choir) or k (like chameleon).

    Can anyone please tell me is there is a standard rule and exceptions, so I can answer this question for my student? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What is the rule for digraph CH?

    It doesn't look like there is a rule, Kympathy.

    I certainly don't know of one.

    Rover

  3. #3
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: What is the rule for digraph CH?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kympathy View Post
    A student of mine asked me for the rule regarding the pronounciation of the digraph ch.

    I have an MA in English, but I cannot for the life of me find an actual rule as to when the pronounciation of the digraph /ch/ should be ch (like which or cheese) or sh (like chef) or qu (like choir) or k (like chameleon).

    Can anyone please tell me is there is a standard rule and exceptions, so I can answer this question for my student? Thanks!
    It's particularly troublesome given that some such words have alternative pronunciations:
    chi·rop·o·dy
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chiropody

  4. #4
    Alex Case is offline Site Contributor
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    Default Re: What is the rule for digraph CH?

    It's not a rule, but it generally depends on what language the word originally comes from, e.g. music words usually come from Italian and so take the Italian /k/ sound. Chef is about cuisine and so is obviously French, so takes the French pronunciation.

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What is the rule for digraph CH?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kympathy View Post
    A student of mine asked me for the rule regarding the pronounciation of the digraph ch.

    I have an MA in English, but I cannot for the life of me find an actual rule as to when the pronounciation of the digraph /ch/ should be ch (like which or cheese) or sh (like chef) or qu (like choir) or k (like chameleon).

    Can anyone please tell me is there is a standard rule and exceptions, so I can answer this question for my student? Thanks!

    Maybe you should try to wean him off the habit of asking 'what is the rule?' (a question that implies there is one). As others have said, it's a question partly of etymology and partly of allowable variation; but even etymology (coming from one language) isn't totally reliable - what matters is where a word was borrowed from, when, and in what circumstances.

    Don't tell this student about 'loch'

    b

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