Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 4 weeks ago

Why is “ch” sometimes pronounced as written, but other times pronounced as “k”?

Is there a way to know for sure, based on a word, which way the letters “ch” are to be pronounced, or is it random?

10 Answers

Relevance
  • 4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    You sort of have to learn.  Having a knowledge of the language of origin and a larger understanding of word origins is helpful, but generally speaking, most people do not have such knowledge and thus only know what they are told through experience.  Those of us who are English speakers from childhood underwent those embarrassments of mispronunciation while young. I have stories I could tell.  I am sure all of us do.

    It is not random, it is an artifact of word origin. And even then there is often doubt of confusion.  Is it shizm or sizm or skizm for schism?  Who decides? And why is it shist (for schist) yet skizm for schism when both have the same root origin (greek skhízō, “I split”)? 

    So, all I can say is "you have to learn by hearing it" because there is no true rule.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 weeks ago

    it is a mutt language,memorize memorize

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 weeks ago

    A couple of examples would be helpful, but this can often occur with words of Germanic or Greek origins.

    The Scots word 'loch', meaning a lake, is pronounced not 'lock' but with a rough 'kh' sound, just as in German.

    In words from Greek, eg psychology, the 'ch' is pronounced in English as 'k'.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Can you give me an example were ' ch' is pronounced as a ' k'?

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Judy
    Lv 4
    4 weeks ago

    English is a difficult language to learn because there are all kinds of spelling and pronunciation exceptions, e.g. cat & kitchen or scissors, sent, cent scent or font, laugh, paragraph.  You just have to memorize them.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    "Is there a way to know for sure ? "

    http://forvo.com/search/loch_ness    sort of

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 weeks ago

    I think it depends on the language the word originated in. Psychology and chimera, for instance, come from Greek words. In Greek the sound represented by the ch has no equivalent in English, but the k sound is as close as English has to it.

    In 'chic', it's pronounced like sh because that's how it is said in French where the word came from.

    Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to know which way ch should be pronounced in English.

    • RE
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      That's why it's sometimes helpful to study the etymology of words. Nothing in English is foolproof. Case in point: the way we pronounce tai chi.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • RP
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    I'd say it is random.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Sandy
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    it's very rare. the only time I've seen it is with the word chelate. I was pronouncing it wrong for years before a teacher corrected me. 

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Lôn
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    In Welsh and Scots Gaelic it's NOT pronounced as a K or the ch in 'change'.

    Loch and bach have a distinctive sound.

    C can be pronounced as a k in cat but as an s in centre.

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.