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  • The other day, as I was nonchalantly wandering to the chemist

  • to get some cheese,

  • I thought to myself:

  • "Why am I going to the chemist to get cheese?"

  • And then I remembered.

  •   It's all to do with the letters 'CH'.

  • In the word 'nonchalantly', which means in a casual and relaxed manner,

  • the C H in the middle of the word is pronounced [sh].

  • In chemist, the C H at the beginning is pronounced [k].

  • But C H in cheese is pronounced [tch].

  • So why is this?

  • The truth lies as ever in the history of English.

  • English has evolved from many sources.

  • It has invented, absorbed and borrowed

  • vocabulary from those who invaded us and those who we have invaded.

  • The pronunciation of many words can give us a clue where they came from.

  • So what about our friend C H then? What do we know about the origins

  • of the words that pronounce these letters differently?

  • Words that originally came from the Greek language, like chemist,

  • school, mechanic, orchestra, pronounce the C H as [k] .

  • These words may have travelled through other languages, but are

  • often connected with the fields of study, science and politics.

  • The [sh] pronunciation of C H is in words that originally come

  • from French: nonchalant, machine, chauffeur, chivalry and quiche.

  • Which brings us back to cheese again. Words like cheese, church,

  • beach and child can trace their roots back to middle and old English.

  • So how does this help us if we don't know any of this history?

  • The majority of words with C H are pronounced as [tch],

  • this is the biggest group.

  • And words that end in C H are almost always pronounced [tch].

  • Almost always, but not always always.

  • For example, take the words patriarch, monarch, oligarch,

  • they are of Greek origin and all end in the [k] sound.

  • Interestingly, they are all based on the same root Greek word,

  • which means rule: A R C H,

  • which is, of course, pronounced 'ark'.

  • No, of course it isn't. It's arch.

  • Even though it's a word which comes from Greek, the C H is pronounced [tch].

  • And you can still get caught out on the odd,

  • very odd,

  • word like yacht.

  • The first time I saw this word, I thought it was pronounced 'yatchet'.

  • But of course, it's not. The C H is [silent].

  • And don't get me started on the schedule/schedule debate,

  • Which is correct: [sh]edule or [sk]edule?

  • Well, they both are.

  • In British English the pronunciation is [sh]edule,

  • but in American English, it's [sk]edule.

  • According to my schedule, it's time for that cheese.

  • I'm off to the chemist.

The other day, as I was nonchalantly wandering to the chemist

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B1 pronounced chemist tch cheese greek pronunciation

3 Ways to Pronounce 'ch' - English Pronunciation Lesson

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/09/06
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