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English Language Learning (ELL) Resources: English Language Learners

Pronunciation of "ch" and "c"

In Englishch is most commonly pronounced as [], as in chalkcheesecherrychurchmuch, etc.

Ch can also be pronounced as [k], as in achechoirschool and stomach. Most words with this pronunciation of ch find their origin in Greek words with the letter chi, like mechanicschemistry and character. Others, like chiaroscuroscherzo and zucchini, come from Italian.

In some English words of French origin, "ch" represents [ʃ], as in charademachinechivalry and nonchalant. Due to hypercorrection, this pronunciation also occurs in a few loanwords from other sources, like machete (from Spanish) and pistachio (from Italian).

In certain dialects of British English ch is often pronounced [] in two words: sandwich and spinach, and also in place names, such as Greenwich and Norwich.

In words of Scots origin it may be pronounced as [x] (or [k]), as in loch and clachan. In words of Hebrew or Yiddish origin it may be pronounced as [χ] (or [x]).

The digraph can also be silent, as in Crichtoncurrachdrachmyacht and traditionally in schism.

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