How To Pronounce IG In German

September 12, 2022

Female German tutor waving with welcoming smile.

In standard Northern German pronunciation, the letters IG at the end of a word make the soft sound made by the letters CH. This soft CH sound is heard in the word ich, meaning I.

A word ending in IG will make this same soft sound at the end, like this:

German English




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This soft CH sound does not exist in English. However, you can learn to make this sound with practice.

1. How do I make the soft CH sound?

Standard Northern German pronunciation uses the soft CH sound for IG at the end of words.

This soft sound is one of two pronunciations for the CH in German. The soft CH is more like a soft K. Open up your airway to let more sound out.

This soft CH sound is heard in the word ich, meaning I. In fact, this soft CH sound is often referred to as the ich sound.

You will hear the soft CH sound often, including in these important words:

Example In Context
German English German English



Ich bin hier

I am here



Siehst du mich?

Do you see me?



Ich liebe dich

I love you

The soft CH sound does not exist in English. It contributes to the unique sound and feel of the German language.

You can learn to produce the soft CH sound with practice
Woman pretending to hiss like a cat and whisper a giggle, demonstrating practice tips for the soft pronunciation of the German CH, which is used for IG endings.

Try these tips for producing the soft CH sound. Experiment with each until you find the one that works best for you:

  • Make the sound of a hissing cat
  • Make a giggling sound, and then try whispering it
  • Think of the beginning sound in the English word “human” but exaggerate it

2. What are some example words ending in IG?

Various types of words end in the letters IG

For example, several frequently used adjectives end in the letters IG.

Listen for the soft CH sound at the end of these adjectives:

Example In Context
German English German English



Du bist lustig

You are funny



Ich bin fertig

I am finished



Er ist traurig

He is sad



Das ist salzig

That is salty



Das ist wichtig

That is important

There are also nouns ending in the letters IG. When you see a noun ending in IG, this generally indicates a masculine gender.

Listen for the soft CH sound at the end of these nouns:

Example In Context
German English German English

der König

the king

Wer war der König?

Who was the king?

der Honig

the honey

Wo ist der Honig?

Where is the honey?

der Essig

the vinegar

Wo ist der Essig?

Where is the vinegar?

To count the numbers by ten in German, you’ll also need to pronounce the IG at the end of words.

Football field showing numbers by 10, which end in IG in German and will be pronounced with a soft CH sound.

Listen for the soft CH sound at the end of these numbers:

Example In Context
German English German English



Sie ist zwanzig Jahre alt

He is twenty years old



Es ist zwölf Uhr dreißig

It is twelve thirty



Sie ist vierzig Jahre alt

She is forty years old



Er ist fünfzig Jahre alt

He is fifty years old



Sie ist sechzig Jahre alt

She is sixty years old



Er ist siebzig Jahre alt

He is seventy years old



Sie ist achtzig Jahre alt

She is eighty years old



Er ist neunzig Jahre alt

He is ninety years old

As you can see, many important words contain an IG ending and so will finish with a soft CH sound.

3. Is there variation in how IG is pronounced at the end of words?

Yes! With the letters IG at the end of a word, you will encounter some variation in pronunciation.

For example, in Southern Germany, the final IG is often pronounced like a regular old G, wherein the G at the end of words is more like a K sound. The German Winnie-the-Pooh pronounces the word honey, or Honig, with a K sound at the end, as opposed to a soft CH sound.

Farm table with pink flowers next to a jar of honey, Honig in German.

So, know that there is some flexibility in how to pronounce IG at the end of words. You can experiment with both sounds (soft CH and regular G) because both are correct!

4. How can I improve my pronunciation of words ending in IG?

With practice, you can learn to make the soft CH sound for IG-ending words.

  1. Try to identify IG-ending words used in conversation around you. Note whether the speaker used a soft CH ending or a regular G ending. Try to repeat the word out loud or silently to yourself.
  2. Throughout your day, keep a list of the words you hear containing the soft CH sound, in words ending in IG and in other words as well. Set a time to work with these words, listening to them and trying to refine the pronunciation.
  3. Get feedback on your pronunciation to improve: Try the Interactive Pronunciation video lessons in Kleo. You will receive real-time feedback on your pronunciation. Featuring Feli from Germany and top German experts, these lessons are a fun and productive way to improve your pronunciation.
  4. Practice in context: The best way to build muscle memory is to use new sounds and words in real-life situations. Conveniently, some of Kleo’s most popular interactive video lessons prominently feature the soft CH sound. This is a convenient way to practice speaking German in contextual situations.