German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Guten Tag, all. I was looking words up on just now, and I realized how the two German words Rock and Ruck sound exactly identical – at least to my ears, with headphones on – as I clicked on the Voice Output panel and listened to the audio pronunciation by native German speakers.

I had always thought that the u in Ruck was supposed to pronounced like we would in ruby (English), but on, every native speaker of German recorded differently.

Is my hearing playing a trick on me, or are they really pronounced the same? I honestly doubt that the latter would be true, though.

share|improve this question
Rock is like "rocky", RUck is like "Rookie", just shorter – Emanuel Mar 2 '14 at 23:15
Jetzt verstehe ich. Vielen Dank, alle! – T. G. Monk Mar 4 '14 at 1:33
up vote 10 down vote accepted

No, they aren't. The former is ʀɔk, the latter [ʀʊk] (compare the dirkausob's recording there in

share|improve this answer
Yes, that is how I had perceived them until I ran into the pronunciations on I can see your point, which makes sense. I guess what caused the confusion was that the difference between the two pronunciations was too subtle for me to tell. Does a native speaker give care to such delicate details when he/she is having an everyday conversation? – T. G. Monk Mar 3 '14 at 7:21
@T.G.Monk, to a native speaker the distinction between Rock and Ruck is not at all subtle. – Carsten S Mar 3 '14 at 11:59

It is interesting that the pronunciation examples sound the same to you. To me as a native German speaker they are easily distinguishable. I find the pronunciations of Rock and Ruck by user patu on very good.

Actually, the u in Ruck is not as in ruby, but as in hook.

share|improve this answer
I have made another recording. It is temporarily here. If someone tells me a good place for a permanent upload, I can add it to the answer. – Carsten S Mar 3 '14 at 12:06
I can see the distinction clearly now. Thank you so much for the audio, Carsten. It was very helpful. The distinction stood out instantly when the two were pronounced alternately. I guess what gave me trouble was the sound quality on Still, it's a wonderful utility website. – T. G. Monk Mar 4 '14 at 1:19
@T.G.Monk, I am glad that I could help. – Carsten S Mar 4 '14 at 12:41

"Rock" is pronounced as in "Rock & Roll". "Ruck" is pronounced more like saying "rook" in English with a short "oo" (or as Carsten Schultz so rightly noted: like the oo in hook).

share|improve this answer
Ha, until now I mispronounced rook, I thought it had a long vowel. – Carsten S Mar 3 '14 at 12:08

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.