Chloe asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 7 years ago

German help, I just CANNOT DO the 'ch' sound?

I've been told I'm supposed to do it by putting my tongue behind the top of my back teeth and kind of blowing air through my teeth by a German person but that only results in me saying sh or th. I can sometimes get the sound by using the back of my throat but I can't do this all the time and it's kind of uncomfortable for me. As an English people this sound is just not something I can do and I'm at a loss. I'll never be able to speak German if I can't do it. I can't even say 'ich' without it sounding like iktthcs wxrev rtrsxr and I'm upset about it.

3 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, it's not a catastrophe if you really never manage it. Think of Henry Kissinger - he came to the United States as a teenager and never acquired a native-like accent. That didn't stop him from speaking English and eventually even becoming Secretary of State. I have been trying to imitate the trilled "r" used in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Arabic, etc. for years - so far without much success.

    "I can sometimes get the sound by using the back of my throat"

    That sounds about right, actually :)

    As for the "ich" and "ach" sound. Maybe these suggestions might help:

    1. 'ch' after 'a', 'o', 'u' and 'au' (ach-sound)

    - corresponds to the 'ch' heard when Scots talk about 'Loch Ness'.

    - it is articulated therefore with the back of the tongue close to or touching the soft palate.

    - If this is not a sound with which you are familiar: make a 'h' sound, remembering to let the air flow freely. While you are making this sound, reduce the gap between the roof of your mouth and the back of your tongue until friction becomes audible.

    2. 'ch' after 'e', 'ä', 'i', 'ei', 'eu', 'äu' and 'ö', or after a consonant (ich-sound)

    - compared to the ach-sound, the ich-sound is articulated much further forward in the mouth.

    - It resembles the 'h' sound made at the start of English words such as 'huge', 'humour' or 'humane', but the German sound needs to be articulated more vigorously and with the sound drawn out.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    You'll probably be able to do it with practice, but why don't you speak with the accent they have in the area near Frankfurt, in a town called Hofheim?

    My home town is twinned with them, and I've been there several times.

    When they say the 'CH' shound, it comes out like 'SH' - So - Ish bin instead of Ich bin. Reshts instead of rechts. And so on.

    That's perfectly understandable, and people will just think that you come from Hofheim!

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 7 years ago

    "ch" :

    "After a, o, u and au, pronounced like the guttural "ch" in Scottish "loch" - das Buch (book), auch (also). Otherwise it is a palatal sound as in: mich (me), welche (which), wirklich (really)."

    "TIP: If no air is passing over your tongue when you say a ch-sound, you aren't saying it correctly. No true equivalent in English. - Although ch doesn't usually have a hard k sound, there are exceptions: Chor, Christoph, Chaos, Orchester, Wachs (wax)

    For the audio, hear the audio scripts at :

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.