List of Latin-script tetragraphs


This is a list of tetragraphs in the Latin script. These are most common in Irish orthography. For Cyrillic tetragraphs, see tetragraph#Cyrillic script.


Tetragraphs in Arrernte transcribe single consonants, but are largely predictable from their components.

kngw⟩ is /ᵏŋʷ/

rtnw⟩ is /ʈɳʷ/

thnw⟩ and ⟨tnhw⟩ are /ᵗ̪n̪ʷ/

tnyw⟩ is /ᶜɲʷ/


The majority of English tetragraphs make vowel sounds:

aigh⟩ is pronounced /eɪ/, as in straight.
aire⟩ is pronounced /ɛː/ in Received Pronunciation (RP), as in millionaire.
arre⟩ is pronounced /ɑː/ in RP, as in bizarre.
arrh⟩ is pronounced /ɑː/ in RP, as in catarrh.
augh⟩ is pronounced /ɔː/, as in caught.
ayer⟩ is pronounced /ɛː/ in RP, as in prayer.
ayor⟩ is pronounced /ɛː/ in RP, as in mayor.
eigh⟩ has two pronunciations; /eɪ/ as in weigh, and /iː/ as in Leigh.
orps⟩ is pronounced /ɔː/ in RP, as in corps.
ough⟩ has ten possible pronunciations, five of which make vowel sounds; /aʊ/ as in drought, /ɔː/ as in bought, /oʊ/ as in though, /uː/ as in through, and /ə/ as in thorough.
yrrh⟩ is pronounced /əː/ in RP, as in myrrh.

There are four examples of vowel tetragraphs that are found only in proper nouns:

eare⟩ is pronounced /ɪə/ in RP, as found in Shakespeare.
orce⟩ is pronounced /ʊ/ in RP, as found in Worcestershire.
oore⟩ is pronounced /ɔː/ in RP, as found in Moore.
ughe⟩ is pronounced /juː/, as found in Hughes.

Three consonant tetragraphs exist in English that are more commonly sounded as two separate digraphs. However, when used in word-initial position they become one single sound:

chth⟩ is pronounced /θ/ as in chthonian. Pronounced as two digraphs /kθ/ in autochthonous.
phth⟩ is pronounced /θ/ as in phthisis. Pronounced as two digraphs /fθ/ (or /pθ/ by some) in diphthong.
shch⟩ is pronounced /ʃ/ as in shcherbakovite, a mineral named after Russian geochemist and mineralogist, Dmitri Ivanovich Shcherbakov.[1] It is used as the transcription of the Cyrillic letter Щ and usually read as two separate digraphs, /ʃ.t͡ʃ/ as in pushchairs or /s.t͡ʃ/ as in Pechishche, a place name in Belarus.[2]


illi⟩ is used to write the sound [j] in a few words such as médaillier [medaje].

In addition, trigraphs are sometimes followed by silent letters, and these sequences may be confused with tetragraphs:

cque⟩ is found for [k] in words such as "grecque" and "Mecque", where the trigraph cqu is followed by the feminine suffix e.

eaux⟩ is found for [o] when the silent plural suffix x is added to the trigraph eau.


dsch⟩ represents [d͡ʒ] in loanwords such as Dschungel ("jungle"), Aserbaidschan ("Azerbaijan"), Tadschikistan ("Tajikistan"), Kambodscha ("Cambodia") and Dschingis Khan ("Genghis Khan").

tsch⟩ represents [t͡ʃ], which is a relatively uncommon phoneme in German but appears in some very common words like deutsch ("German"), Deutschland ("Germany"), Tschechien ("Czech Republic"), and tschüss ("bye").

zsch⟩ is used for [t͡ʃ] in a few German names such as Zschopau and Zschorlau.


There are several sequences of four letters in the Romanized Popular Alphabet that transcribe what may be single consonants, depending on the analysis. However, their pronunciations are predictable from their components. All begin with the ⟨n⟩ of prenasalization, and end with the ⟨h⟩ of aspiration. Between these is a digraph, one of ⟨dl⟩ /tˡ/, ⟨pl⟩ /pˡ/, ⟨ts⟩ /ʈ͡ʂ/, or ⟨tx⟩ /t͡s/, which may itself be predictable.

ndlh⟩ is /ndˡʱ/.

nplh⟩ is /mbˡʱ/.

ntsh⟩ is /ɳɖʐʱ/.

ntxh⟩ is /ndzʱ/.


Used between two velarized ("broad") consonants:

adha⟩ and ⟨agha⟩ are used for [əi̯] (in Donegal, [eː]).
abha⟩, ⟨amha⟩, ⟨obha⟩, ⟨odha⟩, ⟨ogha⟩ are used for [əu̯] (in Donegal, [oː]).
omha⟩ is used for [oː].

Used between two palatalized ("slender") consonants:

eidh⟩ and ⟨eigh⟩ are used for [əi̯].

Used between a broad and a slender consonant:

aidh⟩ and ⟨aigh⟩ are used for [əi̯] (in Donegal, [eː]).
oidh⟩ and ⟨oigh⟩ are used for [əi̯].

Used between a slender and a broad consonant:

eabh⟩ and ⟨eamh⟩ are used for [əu̯] (in Donegal, [oː]).
eadh⟩ is used for [əi̯] (in Donegal, [eː]) between a slender and a broad consonant, or for an unstressed [ə] at the end of a word.


The apostrophe was used with three trigraphs for click consonants in the 1987 orthography of Juǀʼhoan. The apostrophe is a diacritic rather than a letter in Juǀʼhoan.

dcgʼ⟩ for [ᶢǀʢ]

dçgʼ⟩ for [ᶢǂʢ]

dqgʼ⟩ for [ᶢǃʢ]

dxgʼ⟩ for [ᶢǁʢ]


Piedmontese does not have tetragraphs. A hyphen may separate ⟨s⟩ from ⟨c⟩ or ⟨g⟩, when these would otherwise be read as single sounds.

s-c⟩ and ⟨s-cc/stʃ/, to avoid confusion with the digraph ⟨sc⟩ for /ʃ/.

s-g⟩ and ⟨s-gg⟩ are similarly used for the sequence /zdʒ/.


eeuw⟩ and ⟨ieuw⟩ are used in Dutch for the sounds [eːu̯] and [iːu̯], as in sneeuw, "snow" and nieuw, "new". ⟨Uw⟩ alone stands for [yːu̯], so these sequences are not predictable.

gqxʼ⟩ is used in the practical orthography of the Taa language, where it represents the prevoiced affricate [ɢqχʼ].

ngʼw⟩ is used for [ŋʷ] in Swahili-based alphabets. However, the apostrophe is a diacritic in Swahili, not a letter, so this is not a true tetragraph.

nyng⟩ is used in Yanyuwa to write a pre-velar nasal, [ŋ̟].

s-ch⟩ is used in the Puter orthographic variety of the Romansh language (spoken in the Upper Engadin area in Switzerland) for the sequence /ʃtɕ/ (while the similar trigraph ⟨sch⟩ denotes the sounds /ʃ/ and /ʒ/).[3] It is not part of the orthography of Rumantsch Grischun, but is used in place names like S-chanf and in the Puter orthography used locally in schools again since 2011.

thsh⟩ is used in Xhosa to write the sound [tʃʰ]. It is often replaced with the ambiguous trigraphtsh⟩.

tth’⟩ is used in various Northern Athabaskan languages for [t̪͡θʼ], the dental ejective affricate.


  1. ^ "Shcherbakovite". Mindats. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  2. ^ "GoogleMaps". MGoogleMaps. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  3. ^ Meds d'instrucziun dal Grischun / Lehrmittel Graubünden, ed. (2013). "Grammatica puter" (PDF) (in Romansh and German). p. 28. Retrieved 2014-04-27.