I am a native English speaker, but when I make the sound which should be /tʃ/, I have been told that I begin it by placing the tip of my tongue briefly between my teeth, as if I was going to start a dental fricative. It strikes me that this is somewhat unusual – the tip of the tongue should start behind the front teeth, no?

Is there a more accurate way of describing the sound I am producing? i.e. is it still a voiceless palato-alveolar affricate?

(Having read this on English Langage Learners SE I think I may be producing a sound closer to [t͡ɕ] [voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate], although my anglophone-ears struggle to distinguish these two.)

  • 2
    Sounds as if the alveolar part is being replaced by a dental. Voiceless dental-palatal affricate.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 8, 2014 at 19:10
  • Yes, but is that a real thing? You're right...but I can't find any reference such a phoneme.
    – decvalts
    Jul 8, 2014 at 19:50
  • I think (from doing more reading) that this is just an example of an inefficiency in the way I must have learnt to articulate the [tʃ] sound.
    – decvalts
    Jul 8, 2014 at 21:42
  • Well it isn't an English phoneme but it's still a sound.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 8, 2014 at 21:45
  • 1
    @curiousdannii A non-phoneme, or an idiolectal allophone of a phoneme? Jul 8, 2014 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


If you're doing it by touching your teeth, you're more likely pronouncing (if I'm reading correctly) either /tθ/ (voiceless dental affricate) or /t̪ɕ/ (voiceless denti-alveopalatal affricate). A voiceless postalveolar affricate would rather be /tʃ/. I'm not actually sure of the exact sound you're making as I can't hear you, but this is my best guess.

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