What is the hardest sound for you to pronounce in German?

Same here!

Also ö ä ü o a u are a bit challenging - “ch” soft and hard pronunciation

“s” and “z” (zusammen), the “r” (rot), “qu” (Quatsch)


“ch” makes me wanna cry…Also the “K” in words like Knoblauch and Knie, I always end up avoiding those words :confused: .


Totally agree! :joy: :joy: the K at the beginning of words is sooooo annoying! My boyfriend always makes fun of me when I say such words! :unamused: :unamused:


I am always the laughing stock here in Germany…But this is always my answer…


Wow, thanks @SKrausser! No one has ever brought my attention to this before… Can you share any other examples? It’s really good to see that comparison of two seemingly very similar words!

@Bettina2 It seems like this is a tricky word in several languages… try “écureuil” in French! :crazy_face: Although Spanish isn’t too bad… ardilla. :chipmunk:

@ClaudiP Just like your boyfriend, I also struggle with these sounds in German! There is always confusion when I say “Schule” or “Schüler”. I’m glad to hear you find it endearing, thanks for the encouragement! :blush:


@Maddy11 Yes, it’s quite common in compound words like

  • be’achten
  • be’antworten
  • Spiegel’ei
  • Schlüssel’anhänger
  • Blitz’einschlag

Try not to avoid them! :slight_smile: … Although it’s hard at the beginning, you will get it. I notice that every time again with my students. But repeating, repeating and repeating will help. … But yes, the “ch” is really hard. Not only for foreigners. :wink:

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Yeah, I got your point. But just try to keep on speaking. Maybe ask someone you trust that he/ she can correct you from time to time. That’s what I always do with my boyfriend. Repeating his words very slowly and asking him to repeat. :innocent:

@Megan @VivianaG @Anvu @ClaudiP @stefdival

I always explain the soft “ch”-sound with the word “cute”. Say “cute” very slowly, and you will discover that the soft german “ch” is hiding right between the c and u.

It sounds like c’ch’ute.

Now drop the “k”-sound in front of the ch, and there you go: Eich-hörn-chen :chipmunk:

This very German “palatal fricative” sound is quite hard to pronounce for English speakers, but I think you can learn the basic sound in about 10 minutes if you know where to put your tongue: the difference between your soft palate (e.g. Bach), hard palate (e.g. ich), (post-alveolar ridge (Schule), and your alveolar ridge (e.g. sehen) is important here. :kissing_closed_eyes:

Next: Krachmacher :tada: :drum::bowling::sweat_smile:


Great tip @Toby! Much appreciated

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Thanks @Toby for these tips.

Oh man, Krachmacher. :rofl: - definitely not easy! :see_no_evil:


In Southern Germany, we joke about the pronunciation of “Flugzeugträger” (aircraft carrier" in Cologne. They pronounce it like “Fluchzeuschträjer” :wink:
Is someone from Cologne here? :rofl: :blush:


Strangely enough, out of all of the super difficult German sounds, I battle pronouncing words that end on an ‘ln’. Eg. Ampeln :hear_no_evil:

For some reason my mouth just won’t bend that way.
I constantly pronounce it “len” instead of “ln”. :crazy_face:


Hi Megan, I just read your post and had to smile. I’m a german teacher an chatterbug and I can totally understand the difficulties you describe with the “ch”.
When people come to Switzerland (where I come from) they sometimes ask for a difficult Swiss-german-word and that would be “chuchichäschtli”. Maybe give it a go and try to pronounce this one and hopefully you feel more comfortable with the german “ch” :wink:
And the chuchichäschtli is a kitchen cupboard.


@CristinaK you’re right!! The ch sound in Switzerland is again different. Knowing how to pronounce the German and the Swiss German ch is definitely next level.
@Megan have a look at this video :wink:


Yes, ‘ch’ is very tricky to pronounce . . . - like the ‘th’ for Germans who learn English.
What about: Streichholzschächtelchen (a little box of matches)? :trophy:


@kjanina wow! :astonished: Most of the language in that video doesn’t even sound German to me! But it’s really cool, I’d like to practise before my next trip to Switzerland. :switzerland:

@CristinaK , @Bettina2, @MyriamZ and @Aline4, maybe you can help!

Thanks for the pronunciation demo of Streichholzschächtelchen, @MiriamSH! Also a challenging one…

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Hi Megan,

The worst German word for me is also Eichhörnchen. When I arrived in Berlin, I literally spent hours in front of the bathroom mirror repeating this word. I defeated it in the end, but it was a struggle!

A close second is Friedrichstraße.

Best of luck!


I always find difficult to pronounce the sound “ch” in words like “ich”. It might be the simplest one, but as a Spanish native, we dont have that sound, so i really struggle with it.

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You are right, @Maddy11! Swissgerman can in fact be very hard to understand even for native Germans. The more the Germans come from the north, the more they struggle to understand Swiss, and the closer they live to the Swiss borders, the better they understand. And likewise, the Swiss dialect from the border regions seems to be closer to the German than everywhere else. (At least, that’s my experience.)

Though, even if the Swiss seems not German at all in this video, lots of the words have the same word stem as the German ones. E.g. Käse-kuchen -> Chäs-chueche … so it really seems just like a strong dialect …
Aswell, we replace a lot of "K"s with "CH"s … (Käse - Chäs, Küche - Chuchi, Kochen - choche …)
… or the ending “-ung”, we say “-ig” while the word stem stays mostly like in German. E.g. Übung - Üebig, Sendung - Sendig, Planung - Planig, …
And so on …

Therefore, Swiss is for sure not like learning a new language for Germans. Actually, I think, they can learn quite fast to understand it. Anyone any experience here??

But I have to say, next to all these similar words to German, we use quite a lot of French words in our daily life, such as: Velo - Fahrrad, Trottoir - Gehsteig, Lavabo - Waschbecken, etc.

For anyone who is interested in more Swiss words, there is a post in the community forum with typical Swiss words: Basic Swiss German for everyday use

And whoever wants to learn some Swiss, I am always happy to teach some during my lessons here on Chatterbug :smiley: :catbee:

I wish everyone a sunny Sunday!