Pronunciation: ch-

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blueberrymuffin

Senior Member
English - U.S.
Hello!

I was wondering if anybody would happen to know where I can find a list of words with -ch, which are pronounced irregularly (sh). (online if possible)

eg. machine
mustache
cachet

Thank you!
 
  • emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    All these words have a French derivation or are direct loan words from French.

    chagrin (a feeling of annoyance) Much to his chagrin (very literary)
    chalet (a wooden villa)
    chamois (pronounced sham-ee). Often used in chamois leather - a very sort leather cloth used to buff a car or a window that has just been washed. This window still has some smears - have you got a chamois?
    chandelier
    chanterelle (mushroom)
    charade
    charlatan
    chassis (shass-ee)
    chateau
    chauvanist
    chef
    chevron
    chignon
    chivalry.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ooh, yes, sorry! You are quite right. I did not mean to misspell chauvinist!:eek:

    I've thought of another, important one - sugar (etymology - French, from Arabic, from Sanskrit - sharkara).
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    General Pinochet "pin o shay"(although I've never understood why - presumably it is "tch" in Spanish, perhaps he is of French descent).

    Papier mâché "papy ey mash ey".

    Cheroot.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    emma42 said:
    I've thought of another, important one - sugar (etymology - French, from Arabic, from Sanskrit - sharkara).
    I think that Blueberrymuffin is asking for English words that are spelled with ch but pronounced with "sh".
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I left out proper nouns. But here are some (all French):

    Chablis (shab-lee)
    Chinoiserie (shin-waz-ur-ee)
    Cheese. That is a joke!!! Don't pronounce it SHEESE.
     

    Markus

    Senior Member
    Canada - English
    An interesting thing I learned in linguistics class is that French used to have the same ch sound as English but it changed. So you can tell the age of some words in English by their pronunciation. For example :

    chair comes from French chaise, so it was borrowed from before the switch in French pronunciation.
    chandelier was borrowed after
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I suppose the lesson from all this is that if it comes from French recently enough it keeps its "sh" pronunciation (any counter examples? I'm not sure if "chair" is or not, because it is a different word from "chaise".). I suppose the difficulty is knowing if it is a French borrowing or not!:)

    I've also noticed that English speakers, or at least English English speakers, have a tendency to pronounce any foreign word written "ch" as "sh" rather than their native "tch". This often leads to them pronouncing Spanish placenames containing a "ch", for example, incorrectly. (Similarly I've noticed a tendency to pronounce all foreign words containing "an" "en" or "on" with a nasal as if they were French words too). Not always, of course, just a tendency.

    For example, I've heard a lot of people pronounce "chiropodist" as "shiropodist" instead of "kiropodist" (from the Greek pronunciation).
     

    lizzeymac

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    blueberrymuffin said:
    Hello!

    I was wondering if anybody would happen to know where I can find a list of words with -ch, which are pronounced irregularly (sh). (online if possible)

    eg. machine
    mustache
    cachet

    Thank you!

    Try this link. Scroll down to Unit 5 s, sh, ch - they have downloadable mp3s & PDF workbooks. There are 13 units on English pronuciation.
    I hope this is useful.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Markus said:
    An interesting thing I learned in linguistics class is that French used to have the same ch sound as English but it changed. So you can tell the age of some words in English by their pronunciation. For example :

    chair comes from French chaise, so it was borrowed from before the switch in French pronunciation.
    chandelier was borrowed after
    yes this is an interesting fact,

    words from French that joined English way back in the medieval period have been anglicised and others, more recent additions, have kept their French ways.

    chef is an intersting example since it is the same word as chief, apparently; we've anglicised chief but not chef.


    (sorry about the random font size, I cant make it all the same!)
    ch --
    anglicised to/tʃ/change charge chimney
    retain French/ʃ/champagne chivalry chaperone

    The same happened with the ending --age too:

    anglicised to idge/ɪʤ/ bandage pilgrimage cabbage courage language
    retain French /ɑːʤ/ badinage camouflage entourage
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    timpeac said:
    I suppose the lesson from all this is that if it comes from French recently enough it keeps its "sh" pronunciation (any counter examples? I'm not sure if "chair" is or not, because it is a different word from "chaise".).
    the online etymology dictionary says they are the same word:
    chaise 1701, "pleasure carriage," from Fr., variant of chaire (see chair) due to 15c.-16c. Parisian accent habit of swapping of -r- and -s-, often satirized by Fr. writers.

    as an 18th word it is relatively NEW -
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    KittyCatty said:
    machete
    i can't think of any more! but i'll probably be back with some!
    Ah yes! There's another example of a non-French word inexplicablely given a "sh". I wonder if it is a kind of hypercorrection - the first people to use it in English were aware it was not an English word, but the only foreign language they had learnt was French so the pronunciation was a nod towards the fact it should be pronounced in a foreign way, but unfortunately not the right way nevertheless:confused: .
     

    vince

    Senior Member
    English
    suzi br said:
    the online etymology dictionary says they are the same word:
    chaise 1701, "pleasure carriage," from Fr., variant of chaire (see chair) due to 15c.-16c. Parisian accent habit of swapping of -r- and -s-, often satirized by Fr. writers.

    as an 18th word it is relatively NEW -
    This seems like a very interesting phenomenon! Would you know what it's called, and are there other examples in French?

    if chaise was chair, what was chair (flesh)?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    vince said:
    This seems like a very interesting phenomenon! Would you know what it's called, and are there other examples in French?

    if chaise was chair, what was chair (flesh)?
    Yes!! Thanks Vince, I meant to ask the same thing and then forgot - bated breath:)
     
    Without distinguishing between BE & AE, here is an exhausting but non-exhaustive list of examples:

    affiche
    attache
    blanche
    brochure
    cache
    cachet
    cachou
    chaine
    chaise
    charade
    charlatan
    chassis (two pronunciations)
    chateau
    chemise
    chenille
    chic
    chivalry
    chivalrous
    crochet
    douche
    eschalot / eschallot = shallot
    eschew
    fetich = fetish
    fiche & microfiche
    gauche
    louche
    niche
    panache
    pastiche
    penchant
    pinscher (type of dog)
    putsch
    quiche
    revanche (as in political policy)
    ricochet
    schmaltz, schmalz
    schmuck
    schnapps
    schwa (linguistics)
    Seychelles [spelling corrected by Robbo]
    stanchion (building construction)
    subniche (habitat)
    vichy (mineral water)
     

    missjen

    Senior Member
    USA (CA and Midwest), English
    emma42 said:
    All these words have a French derivation or are direct loan words from French.

    chagrin (a feeling of annoyance) Much to his chagrin (very literary)
    chalet (a wooden villa)
    chamois (pronounced sham-ee). Often used in chamois leather - a very sort leather cloth used to buff a car or a window that has just been washed. This window still has some smears - have you got a chamois?
    chandelier
    chanterelle (mushroom)
    charade
    charlatan
    chassis (shass-ee)?
    chateau
    chauvanist
    chef
    chevron
    chignon
    chivalry.
    I wanted to add a side note as to the AE pronunciation of chassis. Everywhere that I have gone in the USA, and heard the word chassis, it is pronounced with the 'tch' sound 'tcha see'. I looked it up on merriam-webster and it lists both pronunciations as correct.

    Miss Jen (who apparently doesn't read page 2, good job Joelline!)
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Joelline said:
    I don't think all AE speakers pronounce chassis (shass-ee). I, for one, pronounce it with the -ch, not the -sh sound.
    That's an interesting word.
    Séan O'Casey puts it into the mouth of a Dubliner in one of his plays. He wishes him to mean chaos, but also wishes to imply that he is big on thought but short on vocabulary
    The character says "The whole world is in a state of chassis".

    That is usually delivered as cha-sis.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    maxiogee said:
    That's an interesting word.
    Séan O'Casey puts it into the mouth of a Dubliner in one of his plays. He wishes him to mean chaos, but also wishes to imply that he is big on thought but short on vocabulary
    The character says "The whole world is in a state of chassis".

    That is usually delivered as cha-sis.
    Ah that reminds me - the Australian parents of a friend pronounce "chaos" as "tchay os" by which I thought they must mean a whole different word when I first heard it. Don't know if this is an idiosyncracy or whether that is common in Australia?
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    Basically if the word is a French origin it almost always has the "sh" sound. Many examples have been provided above.

    If the word is a Greek origin it almost always has the "k" sound. Examples have been provided.

    I think someone mentioned if the su come together it becomes "sh" sound as in sure or sugar.

    Some language words that have been borrowed from languages as Italian mantain their original language sounds:

    Examples: Chianti (Chi in Italian keeps the "key" sound.)
    Cello (Italian world.. "ce" makes the "ch" sound)
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    daviesri said:
    These use the "k" sound vs the "ch"
    chaos
    chasm
    chemistry
    chemical
    choir
    chlorine
    christian
    Christmas
    chronic
    Thanks for your examples. This words all come from Greek and keep their "k" sound.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Looking back over Robbo's list above, I found a few words where I would use a -ch sound. I don't claim to speak for all AE speakers, but I say:

    blanch (AE spelling), meaning to parboil vegetables briefly = blanCH
    pinscher (as in doberman) = pin-CHer (same pronunciation as for one who pinches!)
    putsch = put-CH

    To all you AE speakers, are these the common AE pronunciations or am I mispronouncing them? (Though, I can't imagine how I'd pronounce blanch with an -sh unless I nasalized the "an" as in French!).
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    timpeac said:
    Ah that reminds me - the Australian parents of a friend pronounce "chaos" as "tchay os" by which I thought they must mean a whole different word when I first heard it. Don't know if this is an idiosyncracy or whether that is common in Australia?
    It is not OzE pronunciation.
    They are just wrong.


    pinscher (type of dog)
    putsch
    schmaltz, schmalz
    schmuck
    schnapps
    schwa (linguistics)
    Those words are German, and sch in German sounds like sh in English.

    Add to the list
    Champagne
    Chicago
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Joelline said:
    Looking back over Robbo's list above, I found a few words where I would use a -ch sound. I don't claim to speak for all AE speakers, but I say:

    pinscher (as in doberman) = pin-CHer (same pronunciation as for one who pinches!)
    Merriam-Webster agrees with you,
    but the Germans who "invented" the breed, say pinsher, and that's the pronuciation in Compact Oxford.

    Another odd pronuciation is the flower Fuchsia, pronounced fyoo-sha
     
    Joelline said:
    Looking back over Robbo's list above, I found a few words where I would use a -ch sound. I don't claim to speak for all AE speakers, but I say:

    blanch (AE spelling), meaning to parboil vegetables briefly = blanCH
    Hi, Joelline

    Thanks for pointing out the correct pronunciation of "blanch" as in parboil. It is always written "blanch" and pronounced -tch (not -sh; typo corrected by Robbo) both sides of the Atlantic and probably everywhere else too!

    However, my list said "blanche" with an "e". For example:

    The salesperson was given carte blanche to negotiate the best price.

    This of course does have -sh sound.

    It would have been better if I had said carte blanche in the first place rather than just blanche.

    So thanks again.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Robbo said:
    Hi, Joelline

    Thanks for pointing out the correct pronunciation of "blanch" as in parboil. It is always written "blanch" and pronouced -sh both sides of the Atlantic and probably everywhere else too!

    However, my list said "blanche" with an "e". For example:

    The salesperson was given carte blanche to negotiate the best price.

    This of course does have -sh sound.

    It would have been better if I had said carte blanche in the first place rather than just blanche.

    So thanks again.
    Yes - I think it should have given "carte blanche" too. In BE "to blanch" is "tch" as well however so is the name "Blanche" (or at least that is how a relative of mine pronounces it, no nasal and a good Anglo-Saxon tch!)
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    timpeac said:
    Yes - I think it should have given "carte blanche" too. In BE "to blanch" is "tch" as well however so is the name "Blanche" (or at least that is how a relative of mine pronounces it, no nasal and a good Anglo-Saxon tch!)
    Wow, what synchronicity —> see this thread! :D
     
    Oh, No! I've dropped a clanger. When I said ... "blanch" ... pronouced -sh ... I really meant -tch (as is consistent with the rest of my post).

    I was trying to contrast pronunciation of blanch (parboil) -tch with blanche (carte blanche).

    I'm really sorry for not spotting my typo earlier. Humble pie, etc, etc.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    vince and timepac ...

    Hi guys,
    I'm afraid I cannot offer more on the chaise / chair thing - it just happened to be in the reference that I used. Sorry!

    Meanwhile, maybe I'm being pedantic, but when there is clearly more than one way of saying the grapheme "ch" it doesn't really make sense to call it "irregular". :)
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    suzi br said:
    Meanwhile, maybe I'm being pedantic, but when there is clearly more than one way of saying the grapheme "ch" it doesn't really make sense to call it "irregular". :)
    It's the least frequent pronunciation*, and you only find it in loan words.

    *Not counting the "ch" of "Loch" and "chanukkah". Now, that would be pedantic. ;)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    timpeac said:
    [...] In BE "to blanch" is "tch" as well however so is the name "Blanche" (or at least that is how a relative of mine pronounces it, no nasal and a good Anglo-Saxon tch!)
    In BE as I know it, blanch is blansh, not blantch???

    Timpeac? Are you sure?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    panjandrum said:
    In BE as I know it, blanch is blansh, not blantch???

    Timpeac? Are you sure?
    Absolutely! I even find it difficult to say "sh" without nasalising the preceding vowel.

    "He blaahshed the sheets" would sound very strange to me. As for when it's a name, as I say - a relative of mine is called blantch.
     
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