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16.17: A Final Word About [ch]

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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A Final Word About [ch]

1. There are three rare spellings of [ch] that are found only in a few Italian and German words that still have their Italian and German spellings. In Italian [ch] is regularly spelled <c> or <cc>, and in German it is regularly spelled <tsch>.

[ch] = <c>. In the Italian words cello, concerto, vermicelli, and the greeting ciao [ch] is spelled <c>.

[ch] = <cc>. In the Italian words capriccio and cappuccino, [ch] is spelled <cc>.

[ch] = <tsch>. In the German words kitsch and putsch, [ch] is spelled <tsch>.

2. According to some dictionaries the <c>'s and \begin{align*}<\mathrm{s}>\end{align*}'s in words like financial and mansion spell [ch]. Most dictionaries show them as spelling [sh], but Merriam-Webster's big unabridged dictionary is one that has it [ch]. It is a case of the experts disagreeing about what they hear. You might listen to your own pronunciation of these words and those of your friends. What happens is that some people tend to put a [t] sound in between the [n] and [sh], and the [tsh] actually equals [ch]. Either pronunciation is correct.

3. Sort the words into the groups, depending on whether you think you pronounce them with [sh] or [ch]. There is room here for honest differences of opinion, so we've given you extra blanks:

\begin{align*}& \text{financial} && \text{expansion} && \text{concerto} && \text{comprehension}\\ & \text{apprehension} && \text{dimension} && \text{kitsch} && \text{dissension}\\ & \text{transient} && \text{cello} && \text{vermicelli} && \text{cappuccino}\\ & \text{condescension} && \text{capriccio} && \text{ancient} && \text{suspension}\end{align*}

Words pronounced with ...
[ch] [sh]
financial vermicelli apprehension ancient
cello cappuccino transient comprehension
capriccio condescension dissension
concerto expansion suspension
kitsch dimension

4. Now sort the words again, this time on the basis of how the [ch] (or [sh]) is spelled. Write them into the proper groups below and in the columns marked ‘[ ]’ write in the pronunciation of the <c>, <cc>, or \begin{align*}<\mathrm{s}>\end{align*} :

<c> [ ] <cc> [ ] \begin{align*}<\mathrm{s}>\end{align*} [ ]
financial [ch] cappuccino [ch] apprehension [sh]
cello [ch] capriccio [ch] transient [sh]
concerto [ch] condenscension [sh]
vermicelli [ch] expansion [sh]
dimension [sh]
ancient [sh]
comprehension [sh]
dissension [sh]
suspension [sh]

5. The three most common ways to spell [ch] are <ch>, <tch>, and <t>.

Teaching Notes.

Item 3. The sorting given here is based on my pronunciation.

Item 4. You will probably find that your students have more cases of \begin{align*}<\mathrm{s}>\end{align*} spelling [ch] than is given in this table. (And in all honesty, in words with <ns> like dimension and comprehension, it is a very close call as to whether I seem to say [sh] or [ch]!)

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
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Jul 07, 2015
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