the pronunciation of machine

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the pronunciation of machine

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:01 pm

Why the sound of ch in machine sounds like sh instead of ch in chicken or child?
Submitted by peter bhan (daegu - Korea)
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the pronunciation of machine

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:14 pm

My guess would be it is because this is a word that came into English from French. In French the English 'sh' sound is written 'ch' so if we got it from French and didn't bother to change the spelling or pronunciation (e.g. channel). Other such words - champagne, chauffeur, ...

To make things more confusing, machination which is pronounced with a 'k' sound, probably because it was brought directly from Latin without passing through France on the way - deus ex machina.
Reply from Russ Cable (Dallas, TX - U.S.A.)
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the pronunciation of machine

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:27 pm

"Chauffeur" is an interesting one - it literally means "heater", but in the context of motoring it was a sarcastic or even demeaning term meaning "stoker". Presumably the work of a car driver was seen as grubby and menial in those days.
Reply from Simon Beck (London - England)
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the pronunciation of machine

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:41 pm

Thanks Russ. My guess was the same thing when six year old girl asked me this question. I gave almost same guess with examples of chef and channel... Af first, I doubted that it might come from German. You know German is known for machine stuffs. Thanks anyway. God bless you.
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