Consonants /ʧ/ versus /ʤ/: 106 pairs     [chugjug.html]

The spelling of /ʧ/ is always either <ch> or <tch>. The /ʤ/ sound can be spelled <j>, <ge> or <dge>.

These two affricates are distinguished only by voicing, and can give rise to confusions occasionally among native speakers, especially when syllable-final. The danger of confusion is increased when one or both of these sounds are absent from the first language, so this is known a problem area for speakers of Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Chinese and Thai.

The absolute number of pairs is fairly small, tentative evidence in support of the O'Connor conjecture that language corrects itself when confusions are likely, and in some cases the meaning difference is so small as to suggest sounds in free variation, as in chaw/jaw, hotchpotch/hodgepodge or splotch/splodge. However, the discrimination problem becomes acute in the case of cheer/jeer, where the meanings are opposite though the contexts are very similar.

Interesting pairs include

beseech besiege
Chilean Gillian

The mean density value is 3.3%. The list makes 48 semantic distinctions, a loading of 46%.

batch badge 
  batches badges 
beseech besiege
  beseeches besieges
  beseeching besieging
catch cadge 
  catches cadges 
  catching cadging 
catcher cadger 
  catchers cadgers 
chain Jane 
char jar
  charring jarring
  charred jarred
  chars jars
Chard jarred
Chas jazz
chaw jaw
  chawed jawed
  chawing jawing
  chaws jaws
cheer jeer
  cheered jeered
  cheering jeering
  cheers jeers
cheese G's 
cherry jerry 
  cherries jerries
chess Jess 
chest jest
  chests jests
  chested jested
  chesting jesting
Chester jester
chew Jew 
  chews Jews 
Chilean Gillian
chill gill 
  chills gills
chin djinn	
  chins djinns
chin gin
  chins gins
chink jink
  chinks jinks
chip gyp
  chipped gypped
  chipping gypping
  chips gyps
chive jive
  chives jives
choice Joyce 
choke joke
  choked joked
  chokes jokes
  choking joking
choker joker
  chokers jokers	
chore jaw
  chores jaws  
chug jug
  chugged jugged
  chugging jugging
  chugs jugs
chump jump
  chumps jumps
chunk junk
  chunks junks
chunky junkie
cinch singe
etch edge 
  etches edges 
  etched edged
  etching edging 
  etchings edgings 
H age
  H's ages
hatches Hadjis 
hotchpotch hodgepodge 
larch large
leach liege
  leaches lieges
lecher ledger
  lechers ledgers
leech liege
  leeches lieges
lunch lunge
  lunches lunges
  lunching lunging
  lunched lunged
march marge
match Madge 
perch purge
  perches purges
  perching purging
  perched purged
retch Reg 
rich ridge
  riches ridges
search serge	 
search surge
  searches surges
  searching surging
splotch splodge 
  splotches splodges 	  
wretch Reg  

John Higgins, Shaftesbury, February 2010.