How (not) to Pronounce the “ch” Sound in English with Native Speakers [funny]

Hello My Friends!

Yesterday I went to the Sakura Days cherry blossom festival in Vancouver and did a little fun experiment to see if native speakers could tell when the “ch” sound is said properly and improperly. It was really funny and I had a lot of fun meeting a lot of cool people. Thank you for everyone who let me interview them!

Lets talk a little more about how some “ch” words are pronounced in English.

The rules for CH pronunciation are pretty simple, but they are hard to understand if you are not a native speaker of English. The reason is that the CH pronunciation differences are because of WORD ORIGIN.

1. In native English words we have the “ch” sound like in:

  1. Church
  2. Chicken,
  3. Charles
  4. Chop
  5. Rich
  6. Check
  7. Chair
  8. Cheek
  9. Such
  10. Latch

2. In words with a Greek origin we pronounce the “ch” sound as “k.”

  1. Ache
  2. Character
  3. Epoch
  4. School
  5. Echo
  6. Chorus
  7. Character
  8. Chemist
  9. Charisma
  10. Christmas

3. In words with a French origin we pronounce the “ch” as “sh.”

  1. Chef
  2. Chardonnay
  3. Charade
  4. Chauffeur
  5. Machine
  6. Moustache
  7. Parachute
  8. Chaperone
  9. Brochure
  10. Chassis

In the end, it is very difficult to find how each word is pronounced and the pattern isn’t easy to follow even if you are a native speaker of English. So, most native speakers of English just learn these by hearing other native speakers pronounce them.

But one thing that this does teach us is that just studying lists of vocabulary by yourself is NOT going to help you become a better English speaker. To become a better English speaker you have to improve by LISTENING and then following, repeating, and learning.

As always, learn smarter not harder!

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-Adam