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-sch-

this letter group can represent five distinct sounds in English; it first was used by Middle English writers to render Old English sc-, the pronunciation of which then simplified to "-sh-" (an evolution that also took place in Middle Dutch and Middle High German). Sometimes it was miswritten for -ch-. It also was taken in from German (schnapps) and Yiddish (schlemiel). In words derived from classical languages, it represents Latin sch-, Greek skh- but in some of these words the English spelling is a restoration and the pronunciation does not follow it (cf. schism).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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