Polish Phonetics

As a base for the phonetic transcription used at this site has been used the International Phonetic Alphabet IPA, with minor changes like changing some IPA symbols with Slavic Phonetic Alphabet that more clearly images some of the sounds, characteristic for the Polish language. Transcription is pretty simplified, as it is mean to be the first tool for the self-sufficient preparatory and learning process for the song performers.

 

Here you may read about differences between the Slavic and International Phonetic Alphabet:

http://free.of.pl/g/grzegorj/gram/ipa.html

 

Here you may find some basic information about the International Phonetic Alphabet IPA:

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mi%C4%99dzynarodowy_alfabet_fonetyczny

 

Here you may find more information about the Polish pronunciation and some useful voice samples:

https://mowicpopolsku.com/polish-alphabet-pronunciation/

 

PHONETICS SIGNS USED:

VOWELS:

  • a, e, i, o, u, y vowels in polish are open, pronounced straightforward without alterations
  • remember in polish ‘y’ is recognized as a vowel and is pronounced as English bit or riddle, but not as a short vowel
  • in polish you will find two nasal vowels:
    • ã pronounced as french ventre
    • ε̃ pronounced as french main
  • ‘i’ vowel softens the consonant standing before, as well as making separate sound, but that is always carefully marked in transcription
  • ‘u’ in writing may be find as letters ‘u’ or ‘ó’, but nowadays they both sound exactly the same

 

CONSONANTS

b – b

c – ʦ – pronounced as English Tsar

d – d

f – f

g – g

h – x – pronounced exactly the same for both: written either as ‘h’ or ‘ch’

j – j – pronounced as English ‘yes’

k – k

l – l

m – m

n – n

p – p

r – r

s – s

t – t

w – v

x – ks

z – z

 

CHALLENGING ONES:

ł – w – pronounced as English window

ń – ń – pronounced as English manure or Spanish nio

ż – ʒ – pronounced as English vision or French jamais

cz – ʧ – pronounced as English chair

sz – ʃ – pronounced as English shoe

dz – ʣ – voiced ʦ, pronounced as hard italian zero

dż – ʤ – pronounced as English just

 

REAL POLISH TROUBLEMAKERS:

ć – ć – slightly similar to italian cielo

ś – ś – s pronounced on a pallette, smilar to german ich

ź – ź – z pronounced on a palette,

a sound combined from z + i

start the ‘z’ going, then move to ‘i’,

before reaching the vowel  you will get the perfect ‘ź’

dź – ʥ – ʣ pronounced on a palette

a sound combined from ʣ + i

practice pronouncing ‘ź’ sound, then use it on ‘dź’

slightly harder as the sound is explosive rather than voiced

but extremely useful as it appears constantly everywhere