The Eichhörnchen Challenge - Or: Mastering the soft "ch"

Of all the sounds that are used in the German language, the soft “ch” definitely is a tricky one and many non-native speakers have difficulties with it. That’s also why the word “Eichhörnchen” is often perceived as one of the hardest German words to pronounce. Here’s a tip that might help you:

:catbee: Say “j” (like in the English word “yes”) or a word that begins with a “j”, like “ja”.
Try to stretch it: “jjjjjjjjj”. “jjjjjjjja”. I’m sure that works great!

:catbee: Do that a few times and concentrate on what your tongue is doing. The tongue’s position is exactly the same for “j” and “ch”!

:catbee: Now go on and do these exercises again, but this time whispering! Say “jjjjjjjjj” very quietly (voiceless) as if only the person next to you is supposed to hear it. Does it sound like a “ch” yet?! :slightly_smiling_face:

:happyllama: Practise with other words. Here are some examples:
ich - mich - weich - leicht - Milch - euch - wichtig - Brötchen

Now, can you say “Eichhörnchen”? :chipmunk:

Hope this helps!


Hey Lena, we know each other. I am Nils, a friend of Johannes’. Welcome to Chatterbug haha :slight_smile:


Oh wow! I just went through the whole exercise and now I’m saying Eichhörnchen like a pro! :partying_face:

Thanks, Lena!


Hi Nils! Good to meet you again here! :blush:


That’s fantastic, Megan!! Very happy it helped! :blush:


great tips! Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:


This has helped my pronunciation so much! Thanks for the great tip, Lena! :smile:


Yes, it is very difficult, but I have nailed it (thanks to my mothertonge friend!).

You are right, the “jjjjjjjjjj” trick is magic!


That’s wonderful! Happy it helped! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Yay!! That’s amazing, well done :partying_face: :partying_face:

Das mit dem jjjjjja ist klasse und super hilfreich, aber hat vielleicht auch noch jemand einen Tipp für das andere CH, wie in “Ach”???


Hallo @Doro007,

für die richtige Aussprache des Ach-Lauts ist zunächst die Aussprache des R hilfreich, da das ch (/x/) eine stimmlose Variante zum R ist.

Die richtige Aussprache des R kannst du zum Beispiel durch Gurgeln üben:

:catbee: Versuche einmal, mit Wasser zu gurgeln, wie nach dem Zähne putzen - wie fühlt sich das im Mund an? Was macht dein Gaumen, was macht die Zunge?
:catbee: Merke es dir gut, und probiere es dann ohne Wasser. So solltest du ein schönes R sprechen können.

Das ch wie in “Ach” wird gesprochen wie ein stimmloses/geflüstertes R.

Mit diesen Beispielen kannst du üben: Buch - lachen - machen - rauchen - noch - brauchen - Suche - Lauch

Viel Erfolg! :happyllama:


Here is another tip … smiling helps to pronounce the ch :slight_smile: :heart:


Thanks @lena.wo for the great explanation. This might be helpful for a student of mine @florian1996 :thinking:

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Here’s another challenge. Have you actually seen a squirrel? Tell the NABU ( Naturschutzbund = Nature Conservation Association ) :wink:

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