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German pronunciation for "-ig" "ich" "isch"
January 2, 2012
15:38
aapplejuicee
Italy

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I've got a few questions

1) How do I have to pronounce "-ig" (for example in wenig)?

I watched some YouTube videos and I heard two different pronunciations: one was simply "ig" and the other was something like "ich". Which is the correct one?

2) What pronunciation difference is there between "ich" and "isch"?

Thanks in advance!

     
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January 2, 2012
17:17
Lingo

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1) There is no single "correct" one.[Edit: see nostalgique's entry below...]

The "-ig" is one of the most characteristic features of regional accents. A well-known case in point is the Konrad Adenauer's peculiar way of speaking

(I suggest not using him as a role model, though. Adenauer sounds somewhat weird to me even though our places of birth are only 70 km apart and even my father shares some of Adenauer's peculiarities like almost never pronuncing the "g" as "g". So "Flughafen" -> "Fluchhafen", sagte ->"sachte")

You'll find better samples of what is considered clear and standard pronunciation using keywords like "Tagesschau" or "Tagesthemen" on youtube or ard.de. I think news anchor(wo)men should be quite good role models.

 

The resulting good news of the variation is: You'll be understood either way.

 

2) "Ich" is the standard pronunciation, "isch" will be understood, but I recommend using "ich" instead [one exeption would be if you're a native speaker of French. In this case you'll get compliments for your accent anyway :)]

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January 3, 2012
03:46
nostalgique
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Sorry, Lingo but you are not completely correct ;)

It is true that there are seveal ways to pronounce "-ig" - however the correct way to pronounce "wenig" or "König" (king) is "wenich" and "Könich." And when I say correct I mean the way it is pronounced in High German.

However, in several regions you will still hear people saying "wenig" and "König." Actually, I didn't even know that "wenich" is the correct pronounciation before a friend told me who had professional speech training at an acting school! :D (I come from the South-West of Germany by the way but my family speaks a more or less accent free High German and I never learned the actual dialect of the region).

This is because in most parts of Germany (I don't know about all regions though) people speak with an accent and will say "wenig", however on TV and in the theatre - so in all places where the people had High German speech training - they will say "wenich" ;)

By the way, I found an interesting video about High German: 

January 3, 2012
16:34
aapplejuicee
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@Lingo

Thanks for the explanation and for the keywords, you gave me the chance to listen to standard German!

Apart from this... In which regions/cities German is spoken very near to the standard?

The resulting good news of the variation is: You'll be understood either way.

 Gut!

 "Ich" is the standard pronunciation, "isch" will be understood, but I recommend using "ich" instead [one exeption would be if you're a native speaker of French. In this case you'll get compliments for your accent anyway :)]

 No, I'm not French =)

 

@nostalgique

Thanks to you too! You've been helpful!

     
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January 3, 2012
19:35
Randybvain
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Interesting. I am from Gdańsk, which was called Danzig previously and I heard people saying it with hard g and ones with soft g like in ich. Accidentally, what kind of g would be in the word Danziger?

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January 3, 2012
23:03
Lingo

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@nostalgique

Welcome to  the forums!

Thank you very much for pointing out that there is a norm (even though informal use varies greatly).

I stand corrected then.

 

@aapplejuicee

Here is a relevant page of the Duden website.

http://www.duden.de/sprachratgeber/zweifelsfaelle-bei-der-aussprache

By the way, I recommend having a closer look at the website and registering for their weekly newsletter. The Duden (particularly its printed and software versions) is the authority most Germans would turn to if they want to be really sure what the standard way to put someting is like.

In which regions/cities German is spoken very near to the standard?

As alluded to in the Hochdeutsch video posted by nostalgique, Hannover is reputed for one of purest forms of Hochdeutsch.

 

@Randybvain

If there this is no exception to the rule, Danzig should end in "ich" and Danziger in "iger".

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January 4, 2012
15:45
aapplejuicee
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Here is a relevant page of the Duden website.

http://www.duden.de/sprachratgeber/zweifelsfaelle-bei-der-aussprache

Thanks! I've just registered for the newsletter.

 

As alluded to in the Hochdeutsch video posted by nostalgique, Hannover is reputed for one of purest forms of Hochdeutsch.

Thank you! Actually I'm an absolute beginner, so I didn't understand much of the video; I heard the word "Hannover" but never connected with "Hochdeutsch".

 

I've got another question. You wrote how to pronounce the ending "-ig", but what about "-eg"? Does it have to be pronounced "ech"?

     
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January 4, 2012
22:19
Lingo

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Here's another resource on pronunciation (well, entirely in German, but understanding it might be a good mini goal):

http://www.duden.de/podcast/von-spitzen-steinen-und-gottlichen-keksen

As to -eg, I'll give you a strategy applicable to almost all endings instead:

Use a  German "Reimlexikon" (for instance, 2rhyme.ch), enter the ending to find list of relevant words, and finally look them up in a dictionary with pronunciation (or use http://forvo.com/ http://swac-collections.org/download.php http://rhinospike.com/ http://tatoeba.org etc)

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January 6, 2012
15:41
aapplejuicee
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Danke! I didn't know these tools!

"-eg" is pronounced "-ek"

well, entirely in German, but understanding it might be a good mini goal

That's why I subscribed to the newsletter and I listen to German podcast (also if I barely understand)! These mini goals help to achieve the biggest one =)

Thank you again! 

     
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February 15, 2012
21:43
Adriano
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I was taught to pronounce "-ig" and "ich" in the same way, as already pointed above. However, "-isch" is pronounced the same as the English "-ish".

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February 15, 2012
23:14
Enigmagico
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This issue always confuses me, especially because there does not seem to be a specific rule of thumb as to how the ending should be ideally pronnounced. It gets on my nerves when I see neugierig or wenig being used both with 'ish" and "ik" endings.

 

Hoffentlich, in the future it won't be as difficult – it should just flow.

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February 15, 2012
23:16
Adriano
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When in doubt, just go for "-ich". wink

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February 16, 2012
01:37
crushalanguage
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Whatever you do, go for being understood by the person or persons you are addressing at any one time.

Regardless of the "correct" form, if you learn to pronounce the way people do in a given region, you will be understood, which is what it is all about, after all.

Pronouncing "wenig" as "ik," "ich" or "isch" will all be understood. Depending on the region, one will sound more familiar to the "natives."

While it's useful to differentiate between what is accepted as correct and incorrect, so that you can give a certain target audience what they expect, sometimes being 100% correct (perfect) doesn't help you get your point across. 

In addition to being understood, you want people to listen to you at the same time. If you speak in a way that they consider to be odd, they may understand your words, but choose to stop listening, in which case being "correct" loses its meaning, since the conversation effectively ends.

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February 16, 2012
05:53
Enigmagico
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Great point! That is, infact, what I mean in terms of correctness- I'm not by any means an OCD-grade perfectionist when it comes to communication, being understood is what definitelly matters.

 

I guess I'm still just a little paranoid, hah. I'm always careful as to not have "my hovercraft full of eels", to quote one of the best Monty Python sketches ever.

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March 2, 2012
20:25
nobi
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Enigmagico said:

This issue always confuses me, especially because there does not seem to be a specific rule of thumb as to how the ending should be ideally pronnounced. It gets on my nerves when I see neugierig or wenig being used both with 'ish" and "ik" endings.

 

Hoffentlich, in the future it won't be as difficult – it should just flow.

You worry too much, just use ik for >wenig< and >neugierig< and you will be right. I am a native german and talk like this all the time living near Frankfurt. 

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