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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default pronunciation of "ch"

    Dear members,

    Would you please tell me what are the English words that are written with "ch" and pronounced /ʃ/other than: cliché, chef, machine, Chicago?

    Thank you for your help.
    Hela

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: pronunciation of "ch"

    There are at least three ways to pronounce the letters <ch> in English:

    /ch/ as in cheese
    /sh/ as in ship
    /k/ as in kid.

    See and listen to a list of examples here ch.

    English and her history
    In Old English the sounds (k) and (ch) were both represented by the letter c. Later, under the influence of French spelling, Middle English scribes inserted an h after c to indicate the (ch) sound at the beginning of words, as in child. (The sequence tch became the usual way to represent this sound following short vowels, as in catch.) In English words of Greek origin the digraph ch represents a transliteration of Greek X (chi), and so is usually pronounced (k), as in chorus, architect. And in English words borrowed from French, ch is often pronounced (sh), as in charlatan, cachet.

    Source &#167; 45. Ch. 7. Pronunciation Challenges. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996

  3. #3
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: pronunciation of "ch"

    Grapheme <ch> may also represent /P/ (a voiceless velar fricative) as in German ‘Bach’, ach & Scotts ‘Loch’. It could be silent as in ‘yacht’.

    Here’s a phonic generalization: try /t/ as your best guess; /k/ yout next best and // as your 3rd.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: pronunciation of "ch"

    A safe bet is that words borrowed directly from French (this is a criterion that will probably be appropriate for you Hela) will have the /ʃ/ phoneme - apart from cliché and chef there are (for example) chauvinist, champagne, cache, cachet, Cherie (the name)...

    The problem is that word 'directly'. The -ch- in 'machine' for example represents an original Greek chi, which gives us the English 'chaos' (with a /k/). So derivations don't always help; and sometimes they can even mislead.

    So I'd just recommend the link Soup gave you, and be prepared to make mistakes; native speakers do - for example, the Spanish word macho (meaning 'male'). In Spanish, the /tʃ/ doesn't change before "-ismo", whereas in Italian "-ch-" before i becomes /k/. I've heard an English native speaker, assuming 'machismo' was Italian, use the hypercorrect pronunciation /makismo/.

    b

  5. #5
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: pronunciation of "ch"

    Happy to read you again, Bob ! And thank you for your comments.

    Another question concerning phonetics. When a word has a double consonant, do you have to separate them to make a syllable.

    e.g. applause = ap / plause OR a / pplause ?
    attend = at / tend OR a / ttend ?

    See you soon
    Hela

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: pronunciation of "ch"

    Happy to read you again Hela.

    No, we don't separate double stop consonants (/t d p b k g/); the /b/ in "about" makes (phonemically) the same sound as /b/ in "abbot" (there may be a tiny phonetic difference, because of the different vowel that follows it and the different stress - but if so, it's not a difference I'm conscious of).

    b

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