How to Pronounce 'CH' in French

Hint: It's Not Like 'French'

How would you pronounce "CH" in a French word? Unlike with the pronunciation of the word "French" in English, the French language itself uses an "SH" sound instead of a "CH" sound. There are other pronunciations of "CH" that every French student should know. This lesson will guide you through them.

How to Pronounce 'CH' in French

In French, the letters "CH" have two possible pronunciations:

  1. The most common pronunciation is "SH" like in the English word "sheep." Listen
  2. In a few words, the "CH" sounds like a "K." Listen

There is another rare use for "CH" and it is typically found in words borrowed from other languages. This is written with the combination "TCH."

In this instance, it does sound like the English "CH," as in "cheap" or "match." The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbol is [].

French Words With 'CH' 

Now that you know how to pronounce the "CH" in French, it's time to put it into practice. Which of these words uses the "SH" sound and which uses the "K?" See if you can guess before clicking on the word to hear the proper pronunciation.