What is the CH sound?

In the phonetic alphabet this is how CH is written


Today on my FB page I had someone post a question about the CH sound….and I thought following our conversation via FB that I would post some specifics about this challenging sound.  Now the CH sound is not the latest developing sound in English…but we do give children up until seven years of age to master this sound. 

The CH sound has two components even though it is produced with a single impulse of breath.  The two components of the CH sound includes the T sound and the SH sound. And as you see above the CH sound written phonetically looks like this:

What I find so interesting is the sound that contrasts to the CH sound….and how amazing (even though complicated) English is……now the sound that contrasts with CH is the J sound (as in jump and juice)…..however phonetically J is written like this: 

Now the  sound has two components as well….the J sound is made up of the D sound and the sound you hear in measure and treasure and vision…..phonetically that sound looks like this:  ʒ.   So when you put both sounds together you get: 

The pretty cool thing about English to me is this…..the CH sound is made up of two sounds…both are voiceless…which means that your vocal folds do not move…do not vibrate…and as I tell children….it is a motor off sound.  So the two components of the CH sound: T and SH are both voiceless sounds. 

However….CH’s sound contrast: the sound is made up of two components as we talked about above…however, these two components the d sound and the ʒ sounds are both voiced….vocal folds moving….motor on sounds.

and what is even cooler is that BOTH sounds are made in the same place in the mouth….the only difference is that when you make one sound () your vocal folds move….and for the other sound () your vocal folds do not move (hence the motor on and motor off)…..

So often times when I see children that have difficulty with the CH sound…they may also have difficulty with the J sound….pretty cool…and interesting…despite the complexity of English.

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional resource....so that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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