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October 12, 2020

And in cheeching you will learn: More Stop-Affrication

I've written about sounds becoming fricatives (like 'v', 'zh') or affricates (like 'ts', 'ch', 'dj') multiple times on the blog: glides becoming fricatives, /tr/ and /dr/ clusters getting affricated, and all manner of stops becoming affricates.

Today I present to you a very simple example of stops becoming affricates: /t/ becoming /tʃ/ before a high vowel. This is happens commonly across languages. Those of you studying Japanese may know that historically, the sequence /ti/ became [tɕi] and /tu/ became /tsu/.

I don't know exactly how common this is in English, but I've found /t/ becoming /tʃ/ before /i/. Example from Phil Collins:

In learning you will [tʃ]eech (teach), and in [tʃ]eeching (teaching) you will learn

Example number two is from the Backstreet Boys. Notice that although there is a /tʃ/ in 'reach' before the 'to', the singer clearly stops and produces a second /tʃ/ sound for "to." I would imagine that this one is influenced by the nearby /tʃ/ in the environment (he doesn't affricate the 't' in 'two worlds' one line before), but it's still neat.

Can't rea[tʃ] [tʃ]o your heart


  1. The cheeching is really stunning. I've never come across that before.

    But there's no affrication in reach to. The /t/ is a laminal plosive – unusual in English, but enforced here by the laminal and generally fronted /tʃ/.

    1. I completely agree with David!
      (David, please check your FB messages. :D)

    2. Interesting note about the laminal plosive! I hadn't encountered one before. Assimilation from the /tʃ/, I'm guessing?