English Pronunciation : The Affricates

English Pronunciation Index

There are two affricates in English : voiceless /tS/ and voiced /dZ/. In a sense the affricates are just a combination of a voiceless unaspirated alveolar plosive (/t/ or /d/) with a palato-alveolar fricative (/S/ or /Z/). But there are several reasons for considering these combinations as phonemes in their own right:

The affricates are the only example of a stop plus fricative combination which can occur in syllable-initial position in English.

We have an orthographic combination `ch' for one of the two affricates which contains different letters from either of the constituent phones, showing that we think of `ch' as a separate phoneme unit.

The spectrographic realization of the stop + fricative combination is different from what one would expect if it were really two phonemes.

Some linguists like to consider other American English phoneme sequences such as /th 9r/ and /d 9r/ as affricates. Other languages have different affricates : for example, German has /ph f/ as in Pferd `horse'.

The Affricates

English Pronunciation Index

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