Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pronunciation: SH vs. CH *This post is great for PORTUGUESE speakers*

The Differences between SH (ʃ) and CH (tʃ)

These two sounds are easily confused, and as you can see above, the phonetic symbols share the same sound (ʃ) except CH has an additional 't' sound (tʃ).  Here are the differences simplified:

SH (ʃ)

  • Long, continuous sound
  • Tongue barely touches the roof of mouth
  • Mouth is slightly closed
  • Think: "Shhhh...the baby is sleeping."

CH (tʃ)

  • Short, burst of air
  • Tongue touches roof of mouth
  • Mouth opens quickly
  • Think: "Achooo!"..."Bless you." 

Pronunciation Pairs: The following words have the exact same pronunciation except for the SH (ʃ) and CH (tʃ) sounds. 

  1. cash--catch
  2. chin--shin
  3. share--chair
  4. She's--cheese
  5. sheep--cheap
  6. shin--chin
  7. ship--chip
  8. shock--chalk
  9. shoe--chew
  10. shopping--chopping
  11. washing--watching
  12. wish--which

Other Pronunciations of CH:

The English language absorbed words from French that have a ch spelling but are pronounced as SH (ʃ)  Here is some examples:

  • brochure
  • chagrin
  • chalet
  • champagne
  • chauffeur
  • chauvinist
  • chef
  • Chicago
  • machine
  • Michigan
  • mustache

There are also words in English with a ch spelling that are pronounced like a (k), such as the following:
  • character
  • charisma
  • chaos
  • chemical
  • chemistry
  • chlorine
  • Christ
  • Christmas


  1. Very helpful!
    What is the rule for this? Is it just words of French descent?

    1. As far as I know, yes they are words from French, which were integrated into English when William the Conqueror and the Normans invaded Brittania in 1066. Thanks for reading;)


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