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.


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.


English does not have many tetragraphs. However, when one of the elements in a sequence of digraphs is silent, such as may be are found in word-initial position in Greek or Russian loanwords, such cases might be confused with tetragraphs:

chth is pronounced /θ/ or /kθ/ in chthonian and related words. When not initial, as in autochthonous, it is always pronounced /kθ/.

phth is pronounced /θ/ or /fθ/ in such words as phthisis. When not initial, as in naphthol or diphthong, it is pronounced /fθ/ or with some people /pθ/.[1]

shch is used as the transcription of the Cyrillic letter Щ. It is usually read as a sequence of digraphs, /ʃ.t͡ʃ/ or /s.t͡ʃ/. However, when initial, as in shcherbakovite, the second element is silent: /ʃɜrbəˈkɒvaɪt/.

ough has ten pronunciations, in half of which the digraph gh is silent. Examples are drought, bought, though, and through.


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.


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

dcgʼ for [ᶢǀʢ]

dçgʼ for [ᶢǂʢ]

dqgʼ for [ᶢǃʢ]

dxgʼ for [ᶢǁʢ]


tsch is used for [tʃ] in a few German words.

dsch is used in German to write the sound [dʒ].

zsch is used for [tʃ] in a few German names such as Zschopau.


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/.


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/


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 are used before front vowels for the sequence /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]. 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/).[2] 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 trigraph tsh.


  1. "Naphthol | Define Naphthol at". Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  2. Meds d'instrucziun dal Grischun / Lehrmittel Graubünden, ed. (2013). "Grammatica puter" (PDF) (in Putèr and German). p. 28. Retrieved 2014-04-27.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
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