The word 'bestätigt' can be used (to my knowledge) as either a verb or an adjective.

I have heard it pronounced with the 'g' sounding like the 'ch' in 'ich', and I've also heard it pronounced with the 'g' sounding like a normal hard 'g' you'd expect at the beginning of a syllable. There are other words with this form, like beschädigt and beschäftigt, that also seem to follow the same pattern.

Since the infinitive is "bestätigen" (which has a hard g for sure), it feels weird that the g would change to that 'ch' sound when conjugating it for er/sie/es. So I'm tempted to believe this word actually has different pronunciation depending on whether it's used as an adjective or as a verb.

What is the actual truth of the matter? Is either form acceptable in either case? Is it pronounced differently depending on how it's used?

  • I've heard Weg's g pronounced like /ç/, the opposite phenomenon, I presume. – c.p. Jan 27 '17 at 12:22
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    Related: How is the ending -ig pronounced, and where? – user9551 Jan 27 '17 at 16:47
  • According to Duden, the German standard pronunciation of bestätigt is [bəˈʃtɛːtɪçt]. – user9551 Jan 27 '17 at 17:08

The different pronounciations are both correct, if "ig" is followed by a consonant (other than r or l) or positioned at the end of the word. It doesn't depend on meaning, word type or function:

Ending: König, vorsichtig

Followed by a consonant: beschäftigt

In some regions/dialects 'g' can be pronounced 'ch' in various letter combinations. In Franconian forinstance even Berg can be pronounced as Berch.


The sound shift you observe is due to the difficulty in pronouncing the -igt ending. You can try it for yourself: pronounce bestäti-g-t with a proper hard "g" sound and then try again with bestäti-ch-t with a soft "ch".

Since the latter is far easier to pronounce, a lot of dialects shifted in this direction of pronunciation (probably due to the tongue laziness of the common people). Some went even further and inserted the "ch" instead of "g" even when pronunciation would not be an issue like in bestätigen (Note that since the g is followed by a vowel it it far easier to speak the word properly). That's why you might hear König being spoken as Könich in some areas.

Unless you want to be a professional speaker (like a radio moderator) both versions are completely acceptable. The German language is full of these sound shifts and dialects, so no one will bother. Otherwise you will have to train the proper pronunciation as -i-g-t.

  • Which one would you consider correct for a professional speaker? Susanne Daubner pronounces it like "fünfundvierzichste" and "kündichte" in this Tagesschau from Jan 20, 2017 – Raketenolli Jan 27 '17 at 15:15
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    Well, I'm from Niedersachsen and the way Susanne Daubner speaks is perfectly normal and standard German to me, whereas the professional speakers of the Bayerischer Rundfunk sound odd when they say "kündikte". So yes, we won't be able to agree on this one ;-) – Raketenolli Jan 27 '17 at 15:47
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    [ˈkøːnɪç] is the correct standard pronunciation of König in Germany and not a dialect form. – user9551 Jan 27 '17 at 17:17
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    Well, I know a bunch of people who indeed consider it a heresy to pronounce "Teig" as "Teich". Will direct them to your comment :P – fer-rum Jan 30 '17 at 9:07
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    I wholeheartedly disagree that pronouncing -igt be in any way hard. It may be perceived as hard by those German speakers whose local accents soften the /g/ to /ç/ following /i/ or other front vowels. It is definitely not hard (considering /g/ is turned into /k/ anyway due to terminal devoicing and assimilation) for other speakers, most notably for speakers of other languages — assuming they are able to produce the sounds /i/, /k/ and /t/. – Jan Jan 30 '17 at 22:27

In general, there are two accepted ways to pronounce any -ig combination; that explicitly includes those where the two letters are followed by t as in bestätigt, beglaubigt etc.

In the northern parts of Germany (yes, the ‘North’ begins at the river Main in my coordinate system), a sound change has taken place that shifted the combination /ik/ to /iç/. Depending on the actual local accent, this can affect less or more positions of g — if there is a back vowel preceeding the g (/a/, /o/ or /u/) it will turn into /x/ rather than /ç/, just like the phoneme represented by ch. These two pronunciations are allophones. Thus, in the North the common pronunciation of bestätigt ends in /içt/.

In the South, Austria and South Tyrol, this sound change traditionally did not occur. Thus, the only things that affects the pronunciation of g in those positions are terminal devoicing (turning morpheme-final /g/ into /k/) and assimilation (turning /gt/ into /kt/). Therefore, in the South the common variant ending in /ikt/ exists.

The northern pronunciation has spread further South. The heavier the dialect the more likely the person will say /ikt/.

I am not fully sure what the standard is in Switzerland. It’s possible that it is pronounced as /ikt/, but Swiss also has a tendency to turn /k/ into /x/ giving /ixt/ (note the difference to northern /içt/. I’m not sure if /ç/ even occurs in Swiss). I don’t know which one I would choose if I had to.


(bestä)tigt = (Eggs) (Bene)dict

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    Am I the only one that does not understand this answer? – fer-rum Jan 27 '17 at 13:37
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    I think he's saying that "igt" in "bestätigt" is pronounced like the "dict" in "Eggs Benedict". – Robert Jan 28 '17 at 0:23
  • Who or what is Eggs Benedict? Never mind, I will look it up later... – fer-rum Jan 30 '17 at 9:03

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