pronunciation: ch [as 'k'?]

< Previous | Next >
  • mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    If I'm not mistaken it's at least primarily in words borrowed directly from the Greek (i.e. without latinate interference), as in 'chimera' for example.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I can only think of one English word that has a 'k' sound, and it's derived from the name of an Austrian.

    Mach is a measure of speed relative to the speed of sound named for the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. In AE, it is pronounced like mock.

    I know of no rules governing the pronunciation of ch, but the general absence of the 'k' sound except for foreign words explains the lack of need for such a rule.
     

    LinguaFan

    Senior Member
    Russia
    I sometimes wonder how on earth we the foreigners manage to learn to pronounce English words and make ourselves understood :D
     

    Lee Sing

    Senior Member
    English from England
    I can think of chasm, which I believe to be Greek in origin.

    All Italian words containing 'ch' (although bruschetta is invariably pronounced brush-etta in England).
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    I sometimes wonder how on earth we the foreigners manage to learn to pronounce English words and make ourselves understood :D
    You simply have to learn all the pronunciation rules of all the languages we borrow words from--- which is a lot of them!--- and then learn the ones that we've changed, just to keep it interesting.
     

    LinguaFan

    Senior Member
    Russia
    I can only think of one English word that has a 'k' sound, and it's derived from the name of an Austrian.

    Mach is a measure of speed relative to the speed of sound named for the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. In AE, it is pronounced like mock.

    I know of no rules governing the pronunciation of ch, but the general absence of the 'k' sound except for foreign words explains the lack of need for such a rule.
    ok, just to give an example: scheme, technical, character.

    All these words, though, are of Greek origin, so I think all of you are right saying it's the foreign (Greek mostly) words that are pronounced like this. Thank you.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    ok, just to give an example: scheme, technical, character.

    All these words, though, are of Greek origin, so I think all of you are right saying it's the foreign (Greek mostly) words that are pronounced like this. Thank you.
    One thing to bear in mind is that most of these words enter English through French and the French are themselves rather inconsistant with how they treat the Greek X. English has a 'sh' sound in 'machine' but a 'k' sound in 'mechanic' only because the French gave that x a soft 'ch' in machine but a hard 'c' in mécanique.

    Not that that helps you. Just pointing out that blame for the confusion can't be laid entirely at our door.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    At least, am I right if I say that when "ch" is followed by a consonant, is always pronunced /k/?
    See my comment elsewhere on yacht :D
    And there are compound words like archbishop, touchdown, hatchling, catchphrase, coachwork, fuschia, beachcomber - and many, many more.
     

    comsci

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
    choir, orchid, chick, orchard, chaos, chic, chore, chef..and many more all sound different in their "ch". This was actually a lesson I gave my students in class. :) Tricky but you just have to remember these sounds in order to sound more like a native speaker. :)
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    choir, orchid, chick, orchard, chaos, chic, chore, chef..and many more all sound different in their "ch". This was actually a lesson I gave my students in class. :) Tricky but you just have to remember these sounds in order to sound more like a native speaker. :)
    Really?

    OK 'choir' is an insane word to pronounce, but

    orchid/chaos
    chick/orchard/chore
    chef/chic

    seem to me like 3 sounds, not 7.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    Schedule has both pronunciations.
    It would appear that the most common rule in English is that there is always an exception to every rule.

    .,,
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    I think many here in the UK would still say that schedule sounded with a 'k' is an Americanism unacceptable in good English.
    And I would give such people a wide berth.
    Our language is living and breathing and changing so I will go with the flow and follow Shakespeare's concept that understanding rather than precision is the key. Rules such as this are for pedants.
    I pronounce school with a K and I pronounce schedule with a K and nobody seems fussed.
    To say that an Americanism is unacceptable in good English is a huge call and smacks of elitism.

    .,,
     

    comsci

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
    I think consistency is the key here. It doesn't matter how you pronounce it, whether it's "mite" or "mate" for example, I as a non-native speaker would understand you. :) As Tony said, it's a question of "forms/styles" of English and as .,, mentioned, "living and breathing". :)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "Chemist" is always the word that sticks out for me...
    I'm not sure who said it on Page 1, but, sometimes I'm really glad to be native English, because trying to learn ALL the exceptions I have come to see foreigners mistake, wow! There are loads.

    I think our language has so many influences some words creep in, like "kiosk" being a Norse word, etc.
     

    Fredsie

    Member
    British English
    That was just in response to your "I pronounce schedule with a K and nobody seems fussed". I was trying to say (probably badly!) that people (maybe Brits particularly?) don't always say what they think - many would let this pass ("not be fussed") but still think it poor English. I know many who would fall into your 'pedant' classification (me too, if I'm honest). I thought in a forum on English usage it would be fair to point this out as regards British English.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would say schedule like "skedule" and I'm British.
    Mental note.
    Alex_Murphy is a skeduler.

    Fine.
    They do exist.

    The BE pronunciation of bruschetta as brushetta is, I understand, a reflection of local Italian pronunciation. I have learned to ask for brusketta when in Italy. Do bear in mind that we can buy paninis in the UK.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    There are quite a few things I now know how to say (mostly Italian food names) because I study Italian, but I make sure I always say it like an English person, I wouldn't want to come across pretentious and snobby.

    But sometimes I cringe, not by any fault of their own, when someone will say it like it is in English, with a horrible scouse accent, uhghh!!

    "A machiato pleaz luv" said with our "ch" not their "k", but they wouldn't know without studying Italian, it still makes me cringe though.

    Ahh, just thought of another one, "charisma", what are the roots of this word? Anyone know?
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    I think I've just found a link that might help you a bit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charisma :)

    I was wondering also the word "chimera" as to how it's pronounced. "k" or "ch"?
    chimera is pronounced with a K sound in English, as I noted in post 4 of this thread.

    It's the example that tends to stand out in my head because for years I pronounced it with an sh sound in imitation of the French chimère which is where I first learned it. I'd gone so far as to relate it to 'shimmer,' which is entirely false.

    You live, you learn.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thanks mgarizona, but to tap into this further, does it pronounce is it pronounced "Ki-mera" as in "kite" or "kid" with its first syllable stressed? "Shi-mera" sounds totally French. :)
    The OED pronunciation shows either the kite or kid vowel with the stress on the second syllable - which is pronounced like mere.
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Well, I don't think the 'if it comes from Greek it's probably /k/" helps since
    a) there are exeptions (machine, schedule BE, arch-)
    b) (unless you are Greek) are you supposed to carry an etymological dictionary with you to see whether school comes from Greek or not?

    P.S. If there's one group of words that always gave me trouble in the past was those coming from the greek language. Names of ancient Greek (like Demosthenes i.e) are still accented (by me) in a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey way sometimes.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    In my first job I worked in the media planning and buying department of a Dublin advertising agency.
    This involved devising advertising schedules (sssshed).
    There was one Account Executive there who was Irish, but had spent one year in the US. He was the only person, in a firm of about 50 people, who used the (sked) pronunciation.
    We all thought he was a poseur, even the MD, who would say in in-house meetings "sssshedule, Gerry, sssshedule!"
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top