Guten Tag, all. I was looking words up on dict.cc 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 dict.cc, 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.

  • 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

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

  • Yes, that is how I had perceived them until I ran into the pronunciations on dict.cc. 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
  • 5
    @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 dict.cc very good.

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

  • 2
    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
  • 1
    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 dict.cc. 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).

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

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