I read a book which said that if we link affricate sounds when talking, people would misunderstand the meaning of the sentence. But why?

For example:

"orange juice," the j sound should be pronounced twice.

"which chair"

  1. Why can't we link two affricate sounds?
  2. Why does linking two affricate sounds cause misunderstanding?

Ref mentioned the same thing.

The j sound /ʤ/ and ch sound /ʧ/ are the only affricate sounds in English. In a sequence of identical affricates, no special linking occurs and the sounds are pronounced twice in a row.

  • 3
    Maybe because affricates are composed of two different sounds (plosives + fricatives). We usually geminate two similar sounds when they're next to each other (ba"d d"ay), but when two affricates come next to each other, we get four sounds. /// Orange juice -> [ɒɹɪn d͡ʒ d͡ʒ uːs], there are four sounds [d ʒ d ʒ]... but I don't know. Sep 23, 2020 at 10:00
  • @DecapitatedSoul Thank you. That's what I guess, but I don't know the exact reason.
    – user
    Sep 23, 2020 at 10:03
  • 2
    @Greybeard: we don't pronounce two /k/s or /t/s in stock car or last time. We do pronounce a slightly longer /k/ or /t/, though. Sep 23, 2020 at 12:51
  • 2
    That book is crazy. Only maybe the most conscientious and pedantic news anchor might pronounce the two distinctly, with great difficulty. And that as a native speaker with years of elocution experience. Which is not to say that an ESL learner shouldn't try to articulate them both because it will lead to a more natural merging.
    – Mitch
    Sep 23, 2020 at 13:06
  • 3
    @Mitch: I guess most native English speakers are excessively conscientious and pedantic. Listen to Forvo.com. We don't put a pause between orange and juice, but there are two distinct /d͡ʒ/ sounds. Sep 23, 2020 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


The main reason is that gemination does not take place in complex segments. 'Affricates' are complex segments; they start off as plosives, but finish as fricatives (they have two manners of articulation).

Or because affricates are composed of two different kinds of sounds (plosives + fricatives).
We usually geminate two similar sounds when they're next to each other:

  • Bad day -> [bæd̚.deɪ]
  • This sin -> [ðɪsːɪn] etc.

The /d/ and /s/ can be geminated because we don't have any complex segments here.

However, when two affricates come next to each other, we get four different kinds of sounds:

  • Orange juice -> [ɒɹɪnd͡ʒ.d͡ʒuːs]: [d ʒ d ʒ]

  • Which chair -> [wɪt͡ʃ.t͡ʃeə]: [t ʃ t ʃ]

In case of 'continuants', the geminate is just a longer version of the continuant.

  • His zone -> [hɪz:əʊn]
  • Solely -> [səʊlːi]

However, 'stops' don't do the same because they're obstruents. Their gemination often results in an 'unreleased stop' followed by a released one:

  • Lamp post -> [læmp̚pʰəʊst] (not [læmppʰəʊst]).
  • Bad day -> [bæd̚deɪ]

Affricates can be thought of as 'stops', but with a fricative release, so if the first affricate is unreleased ([t̚] or [d̚]), their geminates are supposed to be pronounced (not how they're pronounced):

  • [t̚t͡ʃ] and
  • [d̚d͡ʒ]

that's why they can be confusing.

From Sounds of the Worlds Languages (1st Edition) by Peter Ladefoged:

Geminate affricates are very clearly different from an affricate sequence, since the sequence has two stop and two frication portions, while a geminate affricate has a long stop closure followed by one fricative portion.

But he doesn't explain why they don't occur in English.

  • 7
    "it could be that the gemination of 'affricates' usually results in the gemination of the plosive part of the affricate rather than a geminated affricate" <--- Native speakers of English do not do this! Also orange juice is nearly always pronounced /ɒrɪnʒ dʒu:s/. Try it and see! Sep 23, 2020 at 12:51
  • 1
    @Araucaria-Nothereanymore., Right. I've updated my answer. I deleted that point. (I'm not going to address how orange juice is pronounced because the question is not about that.) Sep 23, 2020 at 14:14
  • Unfortunately, I didn't find anything about gemination of affricates in English on the internet. Affricates share features with both stops and fricatives, both of which can geminate in English, so it's surprising that affricates don't. Sep 23, 2020 at 14:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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