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English Pronunciation Pod 84

Saturday Apr 23rd 2011

"chief ", "chef" and "chemical"- the different pronunciations of <ch>.

Same letters but three different pronunciations! Learn how to pronounce the spelling pattern <ch> correctly.


In this week's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce words that contain <ch>.
This spelling pattern has a few different pronunciations.
Becoming aware of the these pronunciations is an important step in making your pronunciation clear and understandable .

The focus of this week's podcast is:

  • Learning three of the main pronunciations of <ch>.
  • Practicing these sounds in some key words and phrases of English .

Listen and repeat the following words:

chief ... chef ...chemical

The spellings of these words are similar in that they all contain the letter combination <ch> but notice how the pronunciation
of <ch> in each of these words is actually different.

Same spelling pattern, different consonant sound.

In most languages of the world, the way a word is spelled is usually the way it is pronounced. There is a direct correspondence,
a direct connection between spelling and pronunciation.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in English .

One spelling pattern can have a few different pronunciations . This is because English is a hybrid language, a mixture of different languages.

The same is true with the spelling pattern <ch>. There are three main pronunciations and we should gradually begin to become
familiar with them and learn the key words which contain them.

Today, we'll learn three of the most common and important pronunciations of <ch> that you need to know.

Pronunciation of <ch> as /ɔ/

Let's begin with the most common pronunciation of <ch> : /tʃ/ as in "chief", "cheese" and "much ."

You're probably already aware that most words in English spelled <ch> are pronounced /tʃ/.
So were not going to spend a lot of time on this pronunciation of <ch> today.
I'd rather focus on the more unusual pronounciations of <ch>. You can find a more detailed lesson on pronunciation of /tʃ/ in last
week's podcast and a complete lesson with lots of exercises in my English pronunciation course in mp3- Best Accent Training.

More unusual but Important Pronunciations of <ch>

<ch> pronounced /ʃ/ (as in the word "chef").

Many of the words which contain <ch> prounounced /ʃ/ are from French as the French pronounce <ch> /ʃ/.
But it's tricky in English because some words from French spelled <ch>are pronounced /ʃ/, but other words from French
spelled with a <ch> are pronounced /tʃ/.

So it's important to memorize the key words which have a <ch> pronounced /ʃ/.

Exercise: Please listen and repeat:

Here are some key words in which <ch> is pronounced /ʃ/. Just looking at these words, you might not think that
that the <ch> is pronounced /ʃ/ but it is .

chef... Chicago... moustache... machine ... niche

Another unsual but Important Pronunciation of <ch>

The last pronunciation of <ch> we're going to learn is is /k/.

/k/ is usually spelled with <c> as in "cold" or /k/ as In "keep" but there are some important words which contain <ch> pronounced /k/.

Exercise: Please listen and repeat:

Here are some key words in which <ch> is pronounced /k/. Again, just looking at these words, you might not guess
that the pronunciaton is /k/ but in fact, it is .

chemical... ache... stomach .. .chord...

Putting it All Together:

One of the best way to memorize these unusual spelling patterns is to use them in sentences and phrases so let's
combine some of these unusual pronunciations of <ch> into one sentence:

Exercise: Please listen and repeat:

I had a stomach ache in Chicago.

It Takes Practice:

Learning the sounds of English and learning to speak English with a standard American accent is a gradual process.

But if you work at it regularly and practice as often as you can, you're going to improve!

The Right Training Tools for Better Pronunciation:

Accent reduction is primarily a physical activity . It's important to have the right training tools for better pronunciation.

That's why I recommend that you try my full English pronunciation course in mp3-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 get mp3 lessons on every vowel of English, every consonant, syllable stress lessons, intonation 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!  Download it here!

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

Thank you and see you next time!


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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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