1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. How to pronounce ich


How to pronounce ich

How is the first person personal pronoun, "ich", pronounced in German? Currently, I am on the very first topic, Basics 1. When they lady says things and says, "ich", it sounds to me like 'ish'. However, when the gentleman pronounces the same word it sounds like 'ik'. I would like to know if the two consonants at the end of "ich" are a soft sh sound or the harder sound as in the ch at the end of Bach. Bitte!

January 28, 2018



I often see people say it's pronounced similar to the sharp h sound in the word hue.


This seems to be a better idea, see also in the link that I just posted.

Edit: Is there any reason for down-voting my comment? I'm trying to point you to the most useful hint here (the one by LavethWolf), according to me, and to add a video with some more explanation on this comment. I'm sorry if you are understanding this is me self-advertising my own link......


The ch of ch has a similar (BUT NOT THE SAME) sound as the sh of ship. In some dialects you will hear ich spoken with the same sound as sh.

Sadly, I do not know any english word that has the same sound as the ch in ich. Ill try to find one and edit it.

EDIT1: This may help someone or not. The ch in ich is this sound https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_palatal_fricative

EDIT2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po1SyrEUziA That guy covers both ch sounds


"ship" leads to the wrong track.... But in the linked video you can find the right way to pronounce it. I didn't understand the explanation, but the examples are correct....


If someone gets on the wrong track because of ship then im sorry, I hoped the capitalized warning would make this clear enough. It just seems like english hasnt such a sound, so I just tried to describe it somehow. Even the video guy used ship as a bad example of how to not do it.


When I started learning German, I always said “ich” with a “ch” like in the word “chair”. My first tandem partner tried to teach me the German ch, but I just couldn’t do it. When I pronounced it “ish”, she said it was much better than my English ch pronounciation. People liked ish much better so I said it that way for a while and eventually learned how to make the true ch sound. So I think the sh advice is good because it is the closest sound native English speakers will be able to make in the beginning.

  • 1353

EDIT 2 is good video on CH sound in German. Thanks.


So a h with a y? A combination of letters the same as one does when has a p with a b.


Well there's a song from Rammstein where in the first half he sings 200 times (actually I haven't counted but it seems so ) - Ich will..

I guess Rammstein's music is probably not everyone's cup of coffee (including me) but, at least, they have a very clear pronunciation ;)

Perhaps it helps you to understand the ch sound...


Rammstein have a very peculiar pronunciation, but at least their ch is correct. Don't copy the rolling r ;-). Edit: Oh, just to be clear: Apart from their R they don't say anything wrong, but way too strong articulated. To clear, in this sense...


It's regional. You tend to hear sh for ch spellings around Bonn and Cologne.


In standard German the 'ch' in ich is similar to the British 'hue'. In some dialects it sounds more like 'ik' or 'ish' or 'i' (ee), or even 'ich' like in 'Bach' (Scottish 'loch') but I wouldn't use those to learn (unless you actually live there :)). Definitely never like English 'ch' (as in chair). If you can't say it I would start with 'ish' and improve with practice.


It seems to me the only sensible thing for me to do is attempt to mimic the pronunciation I hear on Duolingo.


Sorry, I forgot to mention: Google for "Duden". It will be very helpful in terms of spelling, meaning and correct pronounciation of German Words.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.