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Letter IPA Pronunciation
Polish alphabet "Abecadło"
Aa /a/ as the "a" in father (see info)
Ąą /ɔ̃/ as the "om" in dome
zas the "aw" in dawn (see info)
Bb /b/ as the "b" in boat
Cc /ʦ/ as the "ts" in cats, fits
Ćć /tɕ/ as the "ch" in cheek
Dd /d/ as the "d" in dog
Ee /ɛ/ as the "e" in metal
Ęę /ɛ̃/ as the "en" in sense
Ff /f/ as the "f" in fun
Gg /ɡ/ as the "g" in get, girl
Hh /ɦ/ as the "h" in hat (see info)
Ii /i/ as the "i" in machine
Jj /j/ as the "y" in yes
Kk /k/ as the "k" in kitchen
Ll /l/ as the "l" in link
Łł /w/ as the "w" in will, win
Mm /m/ as the "m" in man
Nn /n/ as the "n" in never
Ńń /ɲ/ as the ny in canyon
Oo /ɔ/ as the "o" in open
Óó /u/ as the "oo" in tool (see info)
Like the "ou" in soup
Pp /p/ as the "p" in pot
Rr /r/ as the "r" in run
Ss /s/ as the "s" in silk(see info)
Śś /ɕ/ as the "sh" in sheep
Tt /t/ as the "t" in tea
Uu /u/ as the "u" in tulip
Ww /v/ as the "v" in Van
Zz /z/ as the "z" in zoo
Źź /ʑ/ as the "z" in azure
Żż /ʐ/ as the "s" in vision
digraphs[1]
ch /x/ like h in happy (see info)
cz /tʂ/ like "ch" in chalk
dz /d͡z/ like the '"ds" in beds
/dʑ/ Like the "g" in gene (see info)
/dʐ/ Like the "J" in John
rz /ʐ/ Like the "s" in vision (see info)
sz /ʂ/ Like the "sh" in ship, shut (see info)
Dipthtongs[2]
au Like ou in loud(see info)
aj as the "i" in like
bi- like "b" in beatiful
ci /tɕ/ like "ch" in check (see info)
dzi like "j" in jeans
ej as the "a" in take
gi- like gy in bugy
si like "sh" in sheep
zi /ʑ/ (see info)
Questionmark Main sources were wikibook, skwierzyna.net and wikipedia.

The Polish alphabet is the script of the Polish language. It is based on the Latin alphabet but uses diacritics such as the acute accent (ć, ń, ó, ś, ź), the dot above (ż), the ogonek (ą, ę), and the stroke (ł). The standard 8-bit character encoding for the Polish alphabet is ISO 8859-2 (Latin-2), although both ISO 8859-13 (Latin-7) and ISO 8859-16 (Latin-10) encodings include glyphs of the Polish alphabet. Microsoft's format for encoding the Polish alphabet is Windows-1250[3].

The letters q, v and x do not belong to the Polish alphabet, but are used in some foreign words and commercial names. In loanwords they are often replaced by kw, w and ks, respectively[4].

PronunciationEdit

Polish pronunciation is rather regular. If you learn the rules, you'll be able to guess how a word is pronounced, unlike in English. Vowels are pronounced similar to their counterparts in most other European languages but not like in English though. But note, there are no long vowels. Stress is almost always on the penultimate[5] syllable. If you don't know how to pronounce hard/soft pairs, you can use the same form and you will usually be understood.

Polish vowels "a", "e", "i", "y", "o", "u" are all pronounced with exactly the same short length, achieved by not moving the tongue or the lips after the onset of the vowel, as happens, for example, in English vowel-sounds "ee"[6], "oe" [7], "oo"[8]. Only the nasal vowels are pronounced long, the length being due to rounding the lips and pronouncing the glide "w" at the end, like in polish word .

For the combination "oi" (e.g. stoi, moi, twoi), the vowels are pronounced separately, never "oy".

In words like lekki[9], oddech[10], dziennik[11], ssak[12], the doubled consonants are pronounced individually or lengthened.

You may also notice something called final devoicing, Most importantly, voiced consonant sounds b, d, dz, g, rz, w, z, ź, ż are pronounced as unvoiced sounds ("p", "t", "c", "k", "sz", "f", "s", "ś", "sz", respectively) in final position. For example, paw is pronounced "paf". Devoicing is not something you need to focus on but you should be aware of it.

So-called kreska consonants ("ć", "dź", "ń", "ś", "ź") are spelled with an acute mark only at word-end and before consonants; otherwise, they are spelled as "c", "dz", "s", "z", "n" plus a following i: dzień "dźeń", nie "ńe". Before the vowel i itself, no extra i is needed ci pronouced as "ći"[13].

Certain instances of b, p, w, f, m are latently soft, meaning that they will be treated as soft (in effect, as if kreska consonants) before vowels. In the spelling, they will be followed by i. Compare paw [14], plural pawie (paw'-e)[15].

The letter y can be written only after a hard consonant (see below) or after c, cz, dz, rz, sz, ż. The letter i after the consonants c, dz, n, s, z always indicates the pronunciations ć, dź, ń, ś, ź, respectively. Only i, never y, may be written after l or j.

Letters "a" and "ą"Edit

ą, sometimes called as "nasal o" is pronounced like:

  • on
  • when followed by b or p like english "om" except that the lips or tongue are not

completely closed to pronounce the m, leaving a nasal resonance instead.

  • like /ɔw̃/ when ą is followed by ł, most Poles will pronounce it as o.

Leter "h" an digraph "ch"Edit

The sound of ch is much raspier and noisier than English h. Pronounced the same as ch, the letter h appears mainly in words of foreign origin.

Letters "e" and "ę"Edit

The letter e is usually separated from a preceding k or g by i, indicating a change before e of k, g to k', g': jakie, drogie. The sound ę is pronounced like em, except that the lips or tongue are not completely closed to pronounce the m, leaving a nasal resonance instead. At the end of a word, the letter ę is normally pronounced the same as e, so word naprawdę[16] should be pronouced like naprawde.

Letter "ó" and "u"Edit

Polish letters "u" and "ó" are pronounced in that same way.

Letter "s"Edit

as the "s" in silk. Always soft like in silk, never pronounced as a z.

Letter "j"Edit

The letter j is dropped after a vowel before i like stoję[17] but stoisz[18]

Letters "au"Edit

Ussually pronouced like ou in loud but its one exception. Compound words, e.g., words with the prefix na or za such as nauczyć and zaufać. In that case, the vowels a and u are pronounced separately.

Letters "ci" and "ć"Edit

The letters ç and ci- are pronounced the same. The combination ci- is used before a vowel. The letter c before i is pronounced like ç/ci-. C followed by i is pronounced just like ć. If ci is followed by another vowel, the i serves only to produce the ć sound, so ciastko[19] could be misspelled "ćastko".

Letters "ń" and "ni"Edit

The letters "ń" and "ni-" are pronounced the same. The combination ni- is used before a vowel. The letter "n" before "i" is pronounced like "ń", "ni-".

Digraph "dź" and dipthtong "dzi"Edit

"Dź" like the "g" in gene, similar to but softer than "dż". The letters "dź" and "dzi-" are pronounced the same. The combination "dzi-" is used before a vowel. The letters dz before i are pronounced like "dź", "dzi".

Letters "ź" and "zi"Edit

The letters ê and zi- are pronounced the same. The combination zi- is used before a vowel. The letter z before i is pronounced like ê/zi-.

Letters "ś" and "si"Edit

The letters Ê and si- are pronounced the same. The combination si- is used before a vowel. The letter s before i is pronounced like Ê/si-.


Digraph "rz"Edit

Like the "s" in vision, or fairly similar Zhivago. Sounds exactly the same as ż. Even Poles find it impossibleto pronounce after "k", "ch", "p", or "t". Pronouncing it as "sh" is fine in those cases. the only difference being that "ż" evolved from a /*g/ while "rz" is descended from a palatalized ar /*rʲ/.

Digraph "sz"Edit

Like the "sh" in ship, hard sh.

Letters "zi"Edit

Letter "z" followed by "i" is pronounced just like "ź". If "zi" is followed by another vowel, the "i" serves only to produce the "ź" sound, so ziarno[20] could be misspelled "źarno".

References

  1. But not a part of alphabet. Digraph-a pair of characters used to write one phoneme (distinct sound) or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined.
  2. But not a part of alphabet.
  3. Polish letters typewriter.
  4. As in kwarc "quartz", weranda "veranda", ksenofobia "xenophobia".
  5. Called also second-to-last syllable.
  6. like in knee.
  7. like in toe
  8. like in boot
  9. Light.
  10. Breath.
  11. Daily newspaper
  12. Mammal
  13. to you
  14. peacock
  15. peacocks
  16. Really.
  17. I stand
  18. you stand
  19. cookie
  20. grain