Die Aussprache von „ch“ | The pronunciation of „ch“

Die Aussprache von „ch“ | The pronunciation of „ch“

The pronunciation of „ch“

Do you know this feeling? You start speaking your first words in another language and then native speakers look at you with a big question mark above their heads. „What am I doing wrong?“, you might think. Well, it’s probably about the pronunciation. But no worries: everybody can learn it. As we say in German: „Übung macht den Meister“ (Practice creates masters)

2 ways of Pronouncing „CH“

First of all: there are two different ways to pronounce „ch“. It depends on which vowel comes before:

a > Dach (roof)
o > doch (however)
u > Buch (book)


i > ich (I)
e > Pech (bad luck)

Have a look at the video by Language Sheep:

Do you hear the difference?

ich and ach

If you are looking for more examples, you need to know what to look for. We differenciate between „ich-Laute“ and „ach-Laute“, as you can see in the following Video by Klett:


The right symbols

In case you work with a dictionary (both online or offline) and you want to look up the right pronunciation, you have to look ut for the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). In the IPA, the „ich-Laut“ is written like this: [ç] The „ach-Laut“ is written like this: [x]

A great resource for a detailed description is the website sounds of speech by the University of Iowa. There you can go to „Frikative“ and hear the difference between [ç] and [x]:

Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-24 um 23.05.11

Phonetik: Die Laute des Deutschen (sounds of speech)


And now it is time for you to practice: How would you pronounce those sentences?

Ach, ich brauche auch ein Buch von Bach!

Der Koch roch auch noch in der Nacht nach Knoblauch.

We are looking forward to your comments (and if you dare: your videos of pronouncing those sentences ;-))

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