Why do Germans pronounce this word like “gekuckt” and “gucken” like “kucken”? This always confused me.
Nah, we don’t. If it really is pronounced like kucken, its dialect. If you believe you’re hearing a kucken but the speaker speaks standard pronunciation (as in Radio, TV), you’re mistaking it, the difference can be minor at times.
I wonder if there is a subtle difference in phonology here that is for some reason only showing up with this word. In English, “g” is voiced and unaspirated, whereas “k” is unvoiced and aspirated. However, in English, voicing is dominant over aspiration, in terms of distinguishing between different consonants. So, for instance, if you say something in English that is similar to a “g” and “k” but is both unvoiced and unaspirated, we will typically hear it as a “k”, because the voicing being dominant leads us to focus in on the fact that it’s unaspirated. I wonder if Germans would hear such a consonant as a “g”, in which case this could explain why occasionally I hear “gucken” as “kucken”.
In which words does this occur?
It’s only the word “gucken” where it sounds to me like a “k”, but there are some other words starting with “g”, especially followed by a short “u”, when it occasionally sounds like people sometimes don’t voice the “g”. Examples would be “Gummi” or “Guss”. In this case the consonant sometimes sounds close to the Chinese consonant that is voiced as “g” as in words like 狗(Gǒu)=dog/Hund or the counting word 个(gè) which is a consonant that we don’t really have in English on the beginnings of words, although sometimes consonants in the middle of words or ends of words will be pronounced this way.
Uh, sorry, I meant examples from English
Oh, it’s okay, let me think.
Similar-sounding words with the only difference being initial “g” and “k” would be: god/cod, cat/gat (gat=slang for gun), good/could, goon/coon (coon=raccoon)
Normally these would be pronounced with “g” voiced and unaspirated and “k” unvoiced and aspirated. But if you pronounce them voiced and aspirated, most speakers will hear them as “k” although people would also rely on context.
This most frequently comes up with Korean names translated into English. For example, 김 is the most common name in Korean, and the initial consonant is unvoiced and unaspirated. If you pronounce it in Korean, most English speakers will hear it as “Kim” which is why that name is usually written “Kim” in English. However when English speakers pronounce it, they aspirate the “K” and Korean speakers thus do not hear it as 김 but rather as 킴.
I’m wondering if something similar is going on here with “Gucken” and how I hear it as “Kucken”.