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French CH and SCH - How to pronounce them?

French CH and SCH

How to pronounce the French combinations CH and SCH?

In this article, let's focus on these two consonant clusters.

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In French, ch and sch form the same sound

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In French, the sounds ch and sch sound the same as in the English word (a tee-shirt).

Here are some examples:


le chat (the cat)



il chante (he sings)



un schéma (a diagram)


There are very few exceptions.

Here are two of them. In the following words (loanwords), ch is pronounced as a k:

le chaos (the chaos)



un krach (a market crash)


Fluency tip

A common mistake among English speakers is to pronounce the sound ch as in the English word (to chat).

However, the French ch should sound like the English sh.


What about the combination sh in French?

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The combination sh is less common in French.

We mainly encounter sh in loanwords (words borrowed from another language). In this case, it is pronounced the same as the French ch:


un tee-shirt (a T-shirt)


However, when sh is placed inside a French word (other than a loanword), it is pronounced as if the letter h was not there (mute h):

du désherbant (weedkiller)



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