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?
- busterwasmycatLv 74 weeks agoFavorite 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.
- robertoLv 64 weeks ago
it is a mutt language,memorize memorize
- bluebellbkkLv 74 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'.
- Anonymous4 weeks ago
Can you give me an example were ' ch' is pronounced as a ' k'?
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- JudyLv 44 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.
- Karen LLv 74 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.
- RPLv 74 weeks ago
I'd say it is random.
- SandyLv 74 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.
- LônLv 74 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.