I've heard the g in gucken pronounced more like a k, but in the Duden dictionary I see no indication that it's pronounced that way. Do most Germans actually pronounce the word with a k, or is it just for some parts of the country?

  • 1
    To me it sounds rather awkward to hear it pronounced with an /ɡ/ as in dog or god.
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 7:20
  • After chirlus explanation I found out what else the Duden has to say: kucken
    – Carsten S
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:36
  • There is also a second, independant trend: to pronounce the ck like g/gg.
    – Toscho
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 18:56

3 Answers 3


It is a bit confusing. Originally, the verb is gucken, pronounced with a g as is to be expected from the spelling. However, in northern German dialects, there is an unrelated verb kieken with about the same meaning (to look), giving rise to a hybrid kucken. This, in turn, has expanded quite a bit southward, even into regions where kieken is completely absent (and probably not even understood).

As kucken is highly colloquial, some people prefer to write gucken instead, while continuing to say kucken.

  • The link I added was a reference to support your statement that kucken may have evolved from Low German kieken. Here it is again for people who are interested: dwds.de/?qu=gucken&submit_button=Suche&view=1 (it is not broken here).
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 26, 2013 at 6:14


There are two regionally different variants of pronunciation, ['gʊkn], and [ˈgʊkən] mostly used in the southern parts of Germany.

In the region where I live (Swabia) people tend to pronounce this verb somehow like [ˈkʊken̩] when they want to speak or try to sound like speaking "Hochdeutsch" imitating the northern variant kucken.

Note that the sound sample from the "Aussprachedatenbank der ARD" linked in the Duden entry also pronounce it with [g].

  • 2
    Even here in northern germany, we write it as "gucken" but pronounce it like "kucken". If I remember right, the spelling "kucken" was added to the Duden about 20 or 30 years ago - noone I know uses it and it is seen as a bad spelling by most.
    – Axel
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 20:56
  • 1
    For what it's worth, I have never known anybody in the Southwest to pronounce "gucken" as "kucken".
    – divby0
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 22:09
  • because they usually pronounce the "ck" as "gg" as in the top-level comment by Tosho. In the south, there are a couple dialects that soften these consonants. This is still not represented in spelling! They'd write it as 'gucken', but they say ['gʊgn].
    – khaoliang
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 14:28

In my native Augsburg Swabian (Augschburger​Schwäbisch) dialect, we pronounce 'gucken' with a g. Example: Was gugsch'n so blehd? (standard German: Warum guckst du so blöd? - g is pronounced like k). English: Why are you gawking so stupidly?

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