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Are there words in English which written as "ch" and pronounce as "sh"?

For now, I know that "ch" pronounced as K in chemistry or as "ch" in chips or chief.

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  • I've heard niche pronounced as neesh. Nov 16, 2017 at 19:18
  • "Charade", "cliché", "cache", "niche" (at least in BrE), "recherché", "Boche", "cloche", "mache", "machete" (sometimes), "papier-maché", "chemise", "chandelier", "chic", "charabanc"...
    – rjpond
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:29
  • Niche, corniche, bardiche, fiche, microfiche, moustache, pastiche, among others. (Niche is often pronounced like nitch in US English, but not in other dialects.) Nov 16, 2017 at 19:29
  • 1
    "Are there any" questions are not a good fit for Stack Exchange; on the one hand it is impossible to prove a negative, and on the other, you have a list of indefinite length from which there is no one single definitive answer. The short answer, however, is that, at least, numerous modern borrowings from French have this pronunciation, e.g. quiche, chic.
    – choster
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:30
  • 1
    "Charlatan" is a good one too.
    – rjpond
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:35

1 Answer 1

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There are quite a few English words in which “ch” is pronounced as “sh”:

machine /məˈʃiːn/ (mə-sheen) is piece of equipment with movable parts.

mustache /məˈstɑːʃ/ (mə-staash) UK, /ˈmʌstæʃ/ (mʌ-stæsh) or /məˈstæʃ/ (mə-stæsh) US is a type of facial hair growing between the mouth and the nose.

chef /ʃef/ (shef) is a professional senior cook.

chic /ʃiːk/ (sheek) means “fashionable and elegant”.

Etc.

Source: jakubmarian.com

A bit of history:

ch:

digraph used in Old French for the "tsh" sound. In some French dialects, including that of Paris (but not that of Picardy), Latin ca- became French "tsha." This was introduced to English after the Norman Conquest, in words borrowed from Old French such as chaste, charity, chief (adj.). Under French influence, -ch- also was inserted into Anglo-Saxon words that had the same sound (such as bleach, chest, church) which in Old English still was written with a simple -c-, and into those that had formerly been spelled with a -c- and pronounced "k" such as chin and much.

As French evolved, the "t" sound dropped out of -ch-, so in later loan-words from French -ch- has only the sound "sh-" (chauffeur, machine (n.), chivalry, etc.).

Source: Etymonline

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  • 1
    "Moustache" is the UK spelling.
    – rjpond
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:34

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