I've heard the following alternatives for pronouncing the ending -ig of words like fertig and lustig:

  • /ɪç/ (as in mich)
  • /ɪʃ/ (as in Fisch)
  • /ɪg/
  • /ɪk/

Where are the different pronunciations used? Are there more alternatives?

  • 9
    I think four are more than enough... ;)
    – splattne
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 10:23
  • 2
    This is a very good question. Many Germans are confused about it, too, even if they use the correct pronunciation.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 12:24
  • As a not German native speaker, who has lived in southern Germany, I can attest I've heard all of the variations, so I guess nothing got solved here. Saludos desde México
    – user4809
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 5:02
  • I lived in Baden Wurtenberg, Hessen and have daily contacts with Munich (many workers, a mix of many regions and countries). I could hear “isch” in Hessen a lot, specially among “cool, girls who defied society standards” But it was sporadic. I see in the above map that it’s prevalent in the Mainz, south-west of Frankfurt, all the way to the west. Normally, g and k are well defined and there is no confusion. Sometimes people just make emphasis to stand out. I’m in my 50s and have lost touch of youth slangs. The TV doesn’t reflect street accent trends or evolution. The words, “irgendwo” has a un
    – Jason
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 7:21

12 Answers 12


This map, from a collection of surveys done by the University of Augsburg, shows the distribution of the different pronunciations:
Aussprache König, wenig und zwanzig

How König is pronounciated in different regions

  • 2
    The survey this map is based on was of course flawed because it did not offer the option König. Since Southern German does not have final hardening («Auslautverhärtung»), we may assume that most of the Könik entries in this map really ought to be König.
    – mach
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 16:50
  • 1
    I can't hear/imagine what the difference between König and Könik might sound like.
    – AndreKR
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 17:51
  • I pronounce it with something between a soft g and ch.
    – inarilo
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:32

There are regional differences.

In Austria and the southern areas of Germany, you will hear

Honig like "Honik"

König like "Könik"

When I took speech and drama lessons half a life time ago, it was pointed out that these words actually rhyme with "ich", so /ɪç/ is correct.

Honig is pronounced like "Honich"

König is pronounced like "Könich"

wenig is pronounced like "wenich", but of course it is a "g" sound in "weniger als ich dachte"

  • 1
    I thought that was a pronunciation exception for adjectives, but you seem to be right. I've always thought König was pronounced -ig or -ik in standard German.
    – Tim
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 10:31
  • 2
    The "Fisch"-like ending is very typical for Saxony. Additionally the "i" can merge to an "ü" sound or get swallowed. ^^
    – ladybug
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 13:32
  • 2
    And of course there are some regions where weniger is pronounced with something between /ç/ and some kind of /j/.
    – Debilski
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 11:48
  • 3
    Sorry to say but I have never ever heard anybody in Austria or Bavaria using a emphasized k instead of a g. I know of north and easter germany the usage of 'ch' instead of g. Please be more specific about what regions are included (south is pretty big, and Baden-Wuerttemberg and Vorarlberg are using alemanic but are less than 1/3 of the south ... Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 23:24
  • I live in Austria for almost 50 years. I never heard "Honik" or "Könik". The last konsonant is pronounced as a "g", not a "k": Honig and König (spoken exactly as written). But to be precise: This is NOT a dialect-pronounciation! This is austrian standard german! Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 14:51

Noch eine kleine Ergänzung (mit Links zu mp3-Dateien) zu der Antwort von teylyn:

Laut Duden Band 6 – Das Aussprachewörterbuch spricht man in der deutschen Standardlautung für das Suffix „-ig“ den Ich-Laut [ɪç].

fertig [ˈfɛrtɪç]

lustig [ˈlʊstɪç]

König [ˈkøːnɪç]

In Österreich, der Schweiz sowie einigen Teilen Süddeutschlands wird dagegen „-ig“ häufig allgemein als Verschlusslaut [ɪg] oder [ɪk] gesprochen.

  • Hörst Du irgendwo [ɪg]? Ich nicht.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 22:05
  • Related: Hat das Österreichische keine Auslautverhärtung?
    – user9551
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 15:08
  • 1
    Die Links geben bei mir komische Apache errors. Ist das bei anderen auch so, oder bin das nur ich?
    – fifaltra
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 13:03
  • Bei mir keine Apacheerrors, aber 404s. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 0:50

When 'g' forms part of an -ig suffix it is pronounced as -ich using the /ç/ phoneme.




In some parts of Germany however, you may hear the consonant in an -ig suffix pronounced in a way that is closer to the /-ig/ phoneme.


I actually learned in school that Berg is pronounced Berch. It's also Hamburch (or, rather, Hambuäch, if you're from Kiel, like me). This is not true in standard German pronunciation, as teylyn explains.

Because of the regional differences, you can basically use all variants, anyone will understand you. -ig will usually fade to -ik, though, because of the German Auslautverhärtung.

  • 4
    sorry, but that's simply wrong. Berg is not pronounced with a "ch" sound at the end. Auslautverhärtung is a phenomenon that applies to other contexts, for example laufend sounds like "laufent". But the correct pronunciation of the ending -ig is always /ɪç/ (as in mich), although in some regions it will be pronounced with a hard g or k ending.
    – teylyn
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 10:57
  • 7
    +1.05 for "you can basically use all variants". -.05 for Berch. You don't even have mountains in Kiel!!1 ;)
    – splattne
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 10:58
  • @teylyn: That may be wrong, but is what I was taught in school, with this specific example. Sorry for that. With my Auslautverhärtungsbeispiel, I meant that when pronouncing the ending as g rather than ch, it fades to a hard k automatically. I did not mean that ch automatically fades to g or k. Commented May 31, 2011 at 11:42
  • @splattne: But there's the Bungsberg in Schleswig-Holstein, which actually has a ski lift. Yes, it's just 166m ;) Commented May 31, 2011 at 11:44
  • 1
    plus one for the reference to Auslautverhärtung! :)
    – elena
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 13:38

Wikipedia's Standard German article says:

  • /ɪʃ/ is used in western Germany
  • /ɪk/ is used in southern Germany

With adjectives, I was very specifically taught that without an ending, it's pronounced /ɪç/ (ie. fleißig), but when an ending is given, it changes to /ɪg/ (ie. der fleißige Student).

Edit: Should add, this is for standard Hochdeutsch.


I listened to my old copy of "The Three-Penny Opera" and got the definite impression that the "isch" ending is sometimes voiced up to "izh". Lotte Lenya almost (but not quite) does it in "das Schiff mit acht Segeln und mit funfzizh Kanonen"; however, the amazing Willy Trenk-Trebitsch certainly does it in "Das Lied von der Unzulaenglichkeit":

"Den, fuer dieses Leben

Ist der Mensch nischt gut genug.

Darum hau ihn eben

Ruhizh auf den Hut."

(But maybe this is just a dramatic affectation. )

  • 2
    Careful with recordings from that era! At the time they still had some peculiar pronunciation habits that were necessary for public speakers with no (or later very poor) amplification systems, or for grammophone recordings. Nowadays they are no longer necessary to be understood, so they are no longer in common use. Not even among opera singers.
    – user2183
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:28
  • I love this discussion group. Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 3:10
  • /ɪʃ/ (as in Fisch)

This is common where people cannot speak the first variant (ɪç/ as in mich), for example in the Saarland and the palatinate.


Mainly what other people have said.

However there is also the variant [iʒ], heard in the Rhine-Hessian region (Mainz, Alzey and others).

What was said about Berg does apply. The Rhine-Hessian region also pronounces that one as [bɛʒ] (the r almost unheard, the g turned into a French j). People from Hamburg often call their town [hamburç]. And some accents even ignore the 'turn to [ig] if there is an ending following' rule: in Franconian, less is pronounced [weniçɛ].

And, as a Bavarian and user of the [ik]-variant (which can also be called [ig]-variant), I have to correct taylyn in that there is no single correct way to pronounce those endings. Every one is equally valid.

So you see, anything goes ;)


I sometimes use /ɪç/ when talking with close friends or people who also speak my dialect. But the "correct" pronunciation my parents taught me is /ɪg/.

  • Solche Fragen sind keine Umfragen, bei denen jeder individuell seine Sprachpraxis öffentlich macht. Auch wenn es harsch klingt: Was Du persönlich treibst ist völlig uninteressant. Wenn Du jetzt AndreKRs Antwort um eine neue Variante ergänzt und dazugeschrieben hättest, wo diese gebräuchlich ist, wäre es etwas anderes. Auch wenn es ein Kommentar unter einer anderen Antwort gewesen wäre, hätte ich geschwiegen. Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 17:39

There are some people like me how believed the simplifying lie

Man schreibt es wie man es spricht

told by their mother or some teachers, that things are spoken the same way as they are written.

I tend to to pronounce König like "König".

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