Ich and Isch

This title doesn't really make any sense. But what I'm referring to is how people pronounce 'Ich'. Often I've heard it pronounced like 'Isch' instead of 'Ich'. I'm not very good at explaining how things sound but

Some people pronounce 'Ich' kind of like 'Ik' but with the 'ch' being more soft and less abrupt than a 'k'.

However others pronounce it like 'Isch'.

Can I use either. And what different countries use which?

November 28, 2017


The right way to pronunce "ich" is [ɪç]. It is hard to explain this sound since it has no equivalent in the English language. You can listen to the pronounciation at the LEO dictionary for example:

The pronounciation of "ich" with the sch-sound (like the English sh-sound) is heard often by people with a low level of education and is considered bad pronounciation.

The pronounciation with the k-sound (like the English "k") however is found in the dialect spoken in and around Berlin.

November 28, 2017

It is hard to explain this sound since it has no equivalent in the English language.

Yes there is. "h" in "human" is /ç/.

November 28, 2017

You're right! I never really was aware of that...

November 28, 2017

Explaining the correct "ich" pronunciation, I find it helpful refering to the british pronunciation of various Scottish lakes - e.g. Loch Lomond, Loch Ness.... Its the "loch" sound.

November 29, 2017

I don't think so. The pronounciation of "Loch" (as far as I know, I am not a native English speaker) is more like the ch-sound in "doch" or "Buch" which is different from the ch-sound in "ich".

The ch-sound in "ich" really is almost exactly the sound you make at the beginning of "human". It is like pronouncing an H and then a Y right behind it.

The ch-sound in "Loch" or "Buch" or "doch" is pronounced more at the back of your throat and a rougher sound.

November 29, 2017

Hi Cluney,

it depends which dialect people speak. 'I mog net' (ich mag nicht, I don't want to) is bavarian, 'Ick oder Icke' you say in Berlin and around. 'Isch' you can hear in Hessen and Cologne. So the different 'Ich' are part of the dialect. You can use it, but you should use the rest of the dialect, too or it sounds a little bit weird.

best regards Angel

November 28, 2017


November 28, 2017

Think nothing of it!

November 29, 2017

It’s pronunced neither like ich in “itch” or itsch in “swish”. To pronounce it, first say the letter y. The tongue feels pressure in the BACK of the mouth. Keeping your tongue in that position, say “ich”. There should be a breathy and whisper like sound. Hope that helps!

November 28, 2017 is a great website to hear the right pronunciation of words in many languages.

Link to the German word " ich"

November 29, 2017

It's regional. High German is pretty much the initial sound of the English word huge, but the /sh/ is quite normal in the west.

November 29, 2017
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