1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. Pronunciation Emergency!


Pronunciation Emergency!

I am having just the hardest time saying the word "ich". It's frustrating!

Is it pronounced like - ish, ick, eech, eek, eesh, ???????????????


I'd appreciate your help a lot!

May 15, 2018



Here is a YouTube video by German with Jenny that might help you. AP4418

  • 1089

Dessert-Rose - Danke, das ist sehr hilfreich.


Place the top of your tongue against your palate (the roof of your mouth), more towards the back of mouth. The position is very similar to the tongue's position when you pronounce the vowel i. Keep your tongue in that position and blow some air through your mouth. Now utter a short [i] before and end with the ch sound. The ch is voiceless and really just the sound of air passing through your mouth. This is pronunciation applies when the "ch" follows a light vowel, ie. e or i. Licht, Hecht, Echo.

In contrast to that, the sound of "ch" after a dark vowel, ie. a, o, u, is produced by placing the tongue at the bottom of your mouth, similar to the position it is in when you pronounce the German "a", "o" or "u" sound. The mouth and throat are fairly open. But for the actual "ch" - [x] as in the Scottish "loch" - you produce a kind of gurgling sound pressing air through your throat.

Basically, both "ch" sounds correspond to the sound of air being pressed through the mouth while mouth and tongue are in the shape/position of "i" or "e" for the "ich" sound or in the shape/position of "a", "o" or "u" for the "ach" sound.


wow that really works!


the i is spoken like the first i in interesting or the i in "in" etc.. now the ch is difficult to explain... i always tell people to think about a purring cat. (do not pronounce it as k put more emphasis on the h).

don't know if that helps since i can't show you what i mean.


Thanks, that really helps!


if you were Scottish, I'd say the last sound is like in "loch"


Not quite. That is only true when the "ch" in German follows the vowels o or a, e.g. "nach", "Bach", "hoch".


Get a spray bottle. Fill it with water. Get a cat. Spray the cat with the water and listen very carefully to the cat's expression of annoyance. Repeat as needed.


Ah, die arme keine Katze! So etwas soll man niemals tun.


The chorus of this song abounds in "dich", "ich", and "nicht". It might help you get the feel for the sound. But be warned: the song is very 80's and catchy...


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