How to pronounce correctly “ch” in Luxembourgish

The paired consonants “ch” pose problems for people trying to learn Luxembourgish. For starters, its pronunciation changes depending on the preceding letter or, if it appears at the beginning of a word or other circumstances. To make things worse for English speakers, the resulting sound has, often no English equivalent.



ech – sound

  • After i  e  ä  é  éi and äi  –  ch as it appears in ech (I) is pronounced like a soft English “sh” as in:

sichen, Mëllech, erwächen, sécher, hatt mécht, vläicht, héich
(to search, milk, to wake up, sure, she makes, perhaps, high)

  • After consonants except the letter s we have as well the ech-sound, as in:

Villchen, duerch, Meedchen, Schnéimännchen (bird, through, girl, snowman)

⇒And then there is Orchester (orchestra), which defies the rule: ch is pronounced like k.

och – sound

  • After a, o, u, and auch as it appears in Buch (book) is pronounced like the “ch” in Scottish Loch, a sound that’s sometimes compared to the noise made by people when they clear their throat, as in:

Saachen, kachen, Woch, Sprooch, Zuch, Luucht, Bauch, ech brauch
(things, to cook, week, language train, light, belly, I need)

ch – at the beginning of a word

Here the situation gets really muddled. That’s because there are, first of all, words that have their origin in a foreign language and are pronounced as in their original language, such as the French words Chance, Choix, Chômage which are pronounced like the ech-sound.

  • Then when ch is followed by the letters r, l  and in some cases by the vowels a & o it’s pronounced like k, as in:

Chrëschtdag (Christmas), Chlor (chlorine), Chaos (chaos), choleresch (choleric)

  • Then when ch is followed by the vowels e & i it’s generally pronounced like the ech-sound as in

Chimie (chemistry), chic (chic), Chef (chief), chemesch (chemical)

ch – after the letter “s”

If ch appears after s, one has to distinguish between two cases:

1. The sequence sch is part of the same syllable as in schreiwen (to write). In this case sch is a combination of 3 letters representing one single sound and pronounced like this as in:

schreiwen, Schaf, schwätzen, kaschten, Samschdeg, Hierscht (to write, a wardrobe, to speak, to cost, Saturday, autumn)

2. The s ends one syllable and the ch starts the next. This happens, when the diminutive chen is added to a word as in Kleeschen (Saint Nicholas). In this case, the s and ch are pronounced separately (Klees-chen), and the ch is quite silent as in:

Kleeschen, Haischen, Hieschen (Saint Nicholas, small house, small hare)

and …

ch followed by the letter s presents a special case: we have the sequence of letters chs which is always pronounced like an English and Luxembourgish x:

chst, sechs, chs  (next, six, tin)

Practice recognizing the different ch-sounds!

Read each word aloud. Then play the audio to verify your pronunciation.

buchen to book


schlecht bad


Kichelchen biscuit


nach still


Nuecht night


Ochs ox, idiot


Geroch smell


Nuesschnappech handkerchief


Chalet chalet


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