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Saturday April 9th, 2011
English Pronunciation Podcast 83-
How to Distinguish Between the Consonants /tʃ/ and /ʃ/
: This podcast improves your pronunciation by teaching you how to pronounce /tʃ/ and /ʃ/ distinctly and correctly.


In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce the consonants /tʃ/ and /ʃ/ distinctly and correctly.

Learning to hear and pronounce the difference between /tʃ/ as in "choose" and /ʃ/ as in "shoes", is a very important step in making your pronunciation clear and accurate like a native speaker's.

Depending on what your first language is, you may find it difficult to pronounce and distinguish between these sounds.

More specifically, if your first language is Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Korean, Chinese or Japanese you may be confusing these two sounds.

But it's important for everybody, no matter what their first language is, to learn the distinction between /tʃ/ and /ʃ/.

The focus of this week's podcast is:

  • Learning how to hear and say the difference between /tʃ/ and /ʃ/ , like a native speaker.
  • Practicing the difference between these two sounds in a special training exercise.

Please listen and repeat the following words:

chip... ship

The pronunciations of these words are not the same. The first word, "chip", begins with the consonant /tʃ/ and the second word "ship" begins with the consonant /ʃ/.

So let's review how to correctly pronounce these sounds.

How to Pronounce /tʃ/ as in "choose"and "chip" :

Tongue: Press the tip and the blade (front edge) of your tongue against the gum ridge (bump on the roof of your mouth). Press your tongue tip firmly. (The sides of the tongue should be touching the side teeth.) Stop the air flow completely until the pressure builds up and then release your tongue tip .

lips: Protruded slightly. (Forward, pushed outward)

Exercise: Please listen and repeat /tʃ/:

/tʃ/ ... /tʃ/

How to Pronounce /ʃ/ as in "ship" and 'shoes":

Tongue: Point the tip of your tongue forward to the gum ridge (bump on the roof of your mouth). Do not touch the ridge. The sides of your tongue should gently touch your back teeth. Create a hole for the air to flow through.
Exhale and feel the air flow over the center of your tongue.

lips: slightly protruded (forward and turned out)

Exercise: Please listen and repeat /ʃ/:

/ʃ/ ... /ʃ/

In podcast #32 , we learned about "stop consonants" and "continuant consonants". /ʃ/ is a continuant because the air flows continuously over the center of our tongue.

The Difference Between /tʃ/ and /ʃ/

The main difference between the consonants /tʃ/ and /ʃ/is that for /tʃ/ we stop the air flow completely using our tongue tip. Our tongue tip presses up against the gum ridge, stopping the air for a split second. /tʃ/ is a "stop consonant." For /ʃ/ on the other hand, the air flows continuously over the tongue tip.

Avoid these Mistakes:

Tip : When pronouncing /tʃ/, make sure that your tongue tip is firmly pressed on the ridge. A common mistake I hear my students make is to not press their tongue tip hard enough. This allows air to escape, creating a hybrid sound which is somewhere between /tʃ/ and /tʃ/.

Another common mistake is pronouncing /tʃ/ like ...This occurs when your tongue tip is too far forward. For the the American /tʃ/, our tongue of further back on the ridge creating a warmer, deeper sound: /tʃ/ but not ...

Distinguishing between /tʃ/ and /tʃ/:

Now that we've learned how to pronounce /tʃ/and /ʃ/ correctly, let's work on developing a clear distinction between these sounds.

We're going to do a special training exercise for this objective.

Exercise: Listen and repeat the following pairs of words.
The words are exactly the same except that the first contains the consonant /tʃ/ and the second contains the consonant /ʃ/.
Listen and repeat, paying careful attention to the differences in tongue postion and air flow.

/tʃ/             /ʃ/

chip         ship

chair         share

choose      shoes

catch     cash

which    wish

Practice is Key!

Today's lesson focussed on a specific but important aspect of English pronunciation.
There are many other sounds and aspects of pronunciation which need to be mastered in order to
speak clearly and correctly.

Speaking English with an American accent is a gradual process but with the right amount of training
and practice you can do it!

The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:

It's important to have the right training tools in order to improve your accent.

That's why I recommend that you check it out my English Pronunciation Course in mp3 format- Best Accent Training mp3s!

No matter what your first language is, Best Accent Training has the lessons you need for speaking English clearly and correctly.

All the sounds of English in one course!

Best Accent Training mp3s contains all the sounds of English with step by step instructions and practice exercises.
You'll get all the vowels of English, all the consonants, syllable stress lessons, intonation and rhythm lessons and connected speech!

Best of all, Best Accent Training is a fast and easy download that you can put on your mp3 player and take with you wherever you go!
I specifically designed it for that purpose.

Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at:   contact@englishpronunciationpod.com

Thank you and see you next time!


After practicing with Best Accent Training daily,
I can say that my English communication has improved 100%. "

- Domingo Ponce Rodriguez- - Marketing Manager USA (Spain)

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