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"ch" is pronounced as /x/ or /ç/ depending on the vowel in front of it, and "s" is pronounced /z/ before a vowel, how come then that the sequence "chs" in the words wachsen and Wechsel is pronounced as "ks"?

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Interesting question. I have no idea, but I would guess that it would be too difficult to combine a "ch" with an "s", so the "ks" sound developed... –  Anke Apr 20 '13 at 17:04
    
related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/4519/… –  Takkat Apr 20 '13 at 18:27

1 Answer 1

"ch" has been developed out of the greek chi. This character has been pronounced in different ways throughout it's development. Even in German, in some words "ch" is pronounced as /k/ (the set of these words depends on the region). So the combination "chs" is pronounced as /ks/. This is a sensible way, as "ch" might be pronounced /k/ and /xs/ or /çs/ are difficult sound combinations for Germans.

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