Tag Archives: teaching reading


12 Sep

              Pronouncing Letter C Digraphs

A digraph refers to two letters that are seen as one when you are pronouncing them. They could be consonants, vowels or a combination of the two.
Today we shall take a close look at letter C digraphs, that is, digraphs that contain letter C.
We have about three such digraphs
• CC
• CH
• CK
A common sound for all of these digraphs is /k/
CC –account, accuse, accord, acclaim
CH –chemist, chemical, character, chrome
CK –crack, back, lock, lucky

The digraph CK has only one sound /k/. We cannot say the same about the other letter C digraphs.

The digraph CC has two notable sounds. The sound is determined by the letter that comes right AFTER it.
If the vowels i or e comes after the digraph cc, the sound becomes /ks/ in which case it seems that each letter takes on a sound of its own.

CC as /ks/ accept, accident, accelerate, access, accent, eccentric, Occident
For all other words with any other letter (vowel or consonant) coming after the digraph, the sound remains /k/
Other examples –occupy, Accra, accomplish, occult

The digraph CH has a number of sounds among which is its dominant sound /ʧ/. We have already seen where CH is realized as /k/.
Please note that as a rule, whenever CH precedes letter R it is realized as /k/
CH+r =/k/ Christmas, chrome, chronicle, Christopher

Also note that CH is sounded /k/ when pronouncing Bible words i.e. people/place names –Achan, Nebuchadnezzar, Malachi. The only exception to this rule is the name Rachael, where CH is pronounced /ʧ/. We also know that some languages pronounce that name as /ræˈkel/.

Other sounds for the digraph ch include
/ʧ/ Chew, chase, channel, choose, change, lunch
/ʃ/ Champagne, chic, machine, Chevrolet, chauffeur
/ʤ/ Greenwich, Norwich (British place names)

And of course the digraph CH could be silent as we have in the word ‘yacht’.

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