How acceptable/appropriate is the pronunciation of words such as "Christian" and "fortune"/"fortunate" with a [t] sound as opposed to [ʃ]? I personally prefer the former but I believe that it's not that common. Still, I'd like to hear what others have to say here.

  • 1
    I think this is an AmE/BrE difference. Nobody pronounces Christian with a /tj/ in AmE, but the pronunciation is present in British dictionaries. And I have heard British speakers pronounce words like this with /tj/, although maybe not the specific words fortune or Christian. The pronunciation /ˈfɔːtjən/ is not in any of the British dictionaries I've checked, so I suspect that particular word is very rarely pronounced with /tj/ in either dialect – Peter Shor May 21 '15 at 12:37
  • 2
    If you pronounce words like this with /tj/ in the U.S., you'll sound like you learned British English. But if you pronounce fortune as /ˈfɔːtjən/ in England (as opposed to words which are sometimes pronounced with /tj/), you may just sound like you don't know English very well. – Peter Shor May 21 '15 at 12:46
  • @PeterShor Fortune or Fortunate pronounced with a "tj" don't implicate that one hasn't received a proper education. In fact, only recently I watched a TV series, Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 version, the character of Mr. Collins - David Bamber demonstrates the "tj" usage in it; I also remember Gwyneth Paltrow opting for this usage in Shakespeare in Love. These are renowned artists and people often tend to imitate their style, which makes me think that this is more a question of preference than of acceptability. – Andy Semyonov May 21 '15 at 13:56
  • Both of these productions are set quite a while ago, when people pronounced things differently. Of course, you wouldn't actually be able to understand them if they authentically pronounced English the way they did in Shakespeare's time, but maybe the actors are using some archaic pronunciations for these shows set in the past. – Peter Shor May 21 '15 at 14:37
  • 1
    if you think the director is going to retake a scene because one of the actors pronounced fortune in a somewhat too-modern manner ... movies and TV series often have accent coaches, but much worse mistakes than that end up slipping through. – Peter Shor May 24 '15 at 0:16

I'm British and we would never use the [ʃ] sound in any of these words, always a /t/. In British English the [ʃ] sounds American or (when spoken by a Brit) lazy.


In British English they are pronounced with a [tʃ] i.e. somewhere in the middle of the two. I would regard just the [t] as being a little too stilted and the [ʃ] as a little too lazy.


/t/ is palatalized to /ʃ/ when it precedes the -ian and -ion suffixes. (Well, "Christian" has like two different pronunciations, depends on speaker), except when preceded by S, where it becomes /tʃ/.

/t/ is palatalized to /tʃ/ when it precedes the -ure suffix (e.g. nature), as well as in fortune and its derivatives.

In several American dialects (though not all) /t/ is often retracted to near /tʃ/ when preceding the R sound. (betrayal, nitrogen, try, train, Tracy, etc.)

  • The cases of -ure and "fortune" are separate. I don't know why I missed -stion. – Nihilist_Frost Oct 19 '15 at 12:59

protected by Mitch Oct 19 '15 at 13:24

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.