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Sitnam
04-20-2011, 10:18 AM
I'm reading up on the history of Poland and could use some help pronouncing some of the more important words.

Radziwiłł
Potocki
Sapieha
Jagiełło
Sobieski

Thanks.

bordelond
04-20-2011, 10:24 AM
Sitnam, are you British, American, Irish, Australian, NZer or from elsewhere? And where from, specifically? How do you identify your own native dialect/accent? The answers will affect the sample pronunciations I'd offer to you.

Sitnam
04-20-2011, 10:47 AM
I'm from the central United States and have no accent. :)

CalMeacham
04-20-2011, 10:56 AM
I'm reading up on the history of Poland and could use some help pronouncing some of the more important words.

Radziwiłł
Potocki
Sapieha
Jagiełło
Sobieski

Thanks.


Your copying of the names leaves off diacritical marks, which might make a difference. Ptobably the names were changed before you got your hands on them. I'll bet that first name actually ends on a single Polish letter that is pronounced "ewh", and written as a Roman small "l" with a slash through it. If so, that first name would be pronounced

RAH-jih-viw

The other names would be pronounced pretty much the way you'd naively think, except that the next-to-last would be

ya-JELL-oh

zagloba
04-20-2011, 11:18 AM
I'm reading up on the history of Poland and could use some help pronouncing some of the more important words.

Radziwiłł
Potocki
Sapieha
Jagiełło
Sobieski

Thanks.Here are two good places to start: wikibooks page on Polish pronunciation (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Polish/Polish_pronunciation) and Polish sounds spoken by a native (http://apronus.com/learnpolish/polishsounds.htm). Accent is almost always on the next to last syllable. "Radziwiłł" is a little odd in that the final "łł" is pronounced and somewhat modifies the previous "i". You can hear in pronounced on this page (http://forvo.com/word/radziwi%C5%82%C5%82/), which I found by googling "radziwill pronuncation"

Poland has a fascinating history, I hope you are enjoying learning about it. What books are you reading?

zagloba
04-20-2011, 11:27 AM
Your copying of the names leaves off diacritical marks, which might make a difference. Ptobably the names were changed before you got your hands on them. I'll bet that first name actually ends on a single Polish letter that is pronounced "ewh", and written as a Roman small "l" with a slash through it.On my computer, the slashes on the ł's are there, but hard to see. There are no other missing marks on these names. If so, that first name would be pronounced RAH-jih-viwThat should be ra-DJEE-viw; the second syllable is accented but of shorter duration.

The other names would be pronounced pretty much the way you'd naively think, except that the next-to-last would be ya-JELL-ohya-GYEH-woh

pulykamell
04-20-2011, 11:35 AM
Your copying of the names leaves off diacritical marks, which might make a difference. Ptobably the names were changed before you got your hands on them. I'll bet that first name actually ends on a single Polish letter that is pronounced "ewh", and written as a Roman small "l" with a slash through it. If so, that first name would be pronounced

RAH-jih-viw


I'd pronounce it with the accent on the second syllable (almost all Polish words have accents on the second syllable), like this (http://forvo.com/word/maciej_radziwi%C5%82%C5%82/).
Potocki -> poh-TOHTS-key audio here. (http://forvo.com/word/jan_potocki/#pl))
Sapieha -> sa-PYEH-ha
Jagiełło -> yah-GYEHW-woh (audio here (http://forvo.com/word/w%C5%82adys%C5%82aw_jagie%C5%82%C5%82o/)).
Sobieski -> soh-BYEH-skee (audio here (http://forvo.com/word/sobieski/#pl)).

ETA: I see in the time it took to compose, zagloba hit on the main points. Hopefully the audio links help, too.

Floater
04-20-2011, 11:55 AM
A general rule (or two):


ł is pronounced like English w
c is pronounced ts, so "ck" will always be "tsk" (this goes for all Slavonic and Baltic languages (unless, of course, it has some diacritical changing the pronunciation))

bordelond
04-20-2011, 12:03 PM
"Radziwiłł" is a little odd in that the final "łł" is pronounced and somewhat modifies the previous "i".

I'll bet that first name actually ends on a single Polish letter that is pronounced "ewh", and written as a Roman small "l" with a slash through it.

For what it may be worth to the OP:

Radziwiłł is not a native Polish name (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radziwi%C5%82%C5%82), and the final "łł" is something of a giveaway. It's an old Lithuanian noble surname, Radvila, orthographically filtered through Belarussian and German.

bordelond
04-20-2011, 12:07 PM
On my computer, the slashes on the ł's are there, but hard to see. There are no other missing marks on these names. That should be ra-DJEE-viw; the second syllable is accented but of shorter duration.

Is it acceptable for an American to fudge the pronunciation of Radziwiłł a little and just finish it off with the final "ll" in English pull?

zagloba
04-20-2011, 01:12 PM
Is it acceptable for an American to fudge the pronunciation of Radziwiłł a little and just finish it off with the final "ll" in English pull?Acceptable for what purpose? In listening to native speakers, as in the sound files above, to me the sounds are quite distinct. In the case of this particular name, it's so well known and important in Polish history that in context people probably always know who you mean. I've heard plenty of people anglicize the pronuncation as you suggest.

Incidentally, Jackie O's sister married a Polish prince of the famous Radziwill family, though he gave up the title on becoming a British subject.

HeyHomie
04-20-2011, 01:46 PM
Seen in several merchants' windows in certain neighborhoods around Chicago: "Mowicki po Polska." I'm guessing it means "We speak Polish." Am I correct?

pulykamell
04-20-2011, 01:59 PM
Seen in several merchants' windows in certain neighborhoods around Chicago: "Mowicki po Polska." I'm guessing it means "We speak Polish." Am I correct?

It's "Mówimy po Polsku." And, yes, it means "we speak Polish."

bordelond
04-20-2011, 02:13 PM
Acceptable for what purpose?
From what Sitnam wrote in post #1, it looks like he wants a good "in one's own head" pronunciation for these Polish words as he reads to himself.

pulykamell
04-20-2011, 02:29 PM
From what Sitnam wrote in post #1, it looks like he wants a good "in one's own head" pronunciation for these Polish words as he reads to himself.

You can use whatever pronunciation you want inside your head--I don't see what difference it makes. In English, Radziwill, at least in the case of Lee Radziwill, was pronounced as much as you'd expect: "RADS-uh-will." If you want to pronounce it in Polish, the links are upthread. If you want to cheat it with an "l" at the end, that's fine, too. I don't see why it's necessary, though, since the "w" sound the slashed-l represents exists as a phoneme in English.

BigT
04-20-2011, 05:40 PM
You can use whatever pronunciation you want inside your head--I don't see what difference it makes. In English, Radziwill, at least in the case of Lee Radziwill, was pronounced as much as you'd expect: "RADS-uh-will." If you want to pronounce it in Polish, the links are upthread. If you want to cheat it with an "l" at the end, that's fine, too. I don't see why it's necessary, though, since the "w" sound the slashed-l represents exists as a phoneme in English.

I'd say it like I had a speech impediment where all /l/s become [w]. I'm sure someone will come in with the word for it, but I've got to go.

Sitnam
04-20-2011, 08:17 PM
You can use whatever pronunciation you want inside your head--I don't see what difference it makes.
I'm American with 50% Polish ancestry so I figured I'd learn about it. Once I start pronouncing something wrong it takes me forever to stop (it took years for me to stop saying Trebuchet as turn-buck-it)

Poland has a fascinating history, I hope you are enjoying learning about it. What books are you reading?
God's Playground by Norman Davies....which I'm told as far as English translations go is THE book on the subject.

If context is at all important to the pronounciation Radziwiłł, Potocki, Sapieha were the 3 most powerful noble families. Jagiełło and Sobieski were famous kings.

Thanks for all the help you guys have given me.

zagloba
04-20-2011, 11:06 PM
I own God's Playground. Great book. Davies seems to be well regarded in Poland as well. When his history of Europe came out 9 years ago, it was featured in the windows of bookstores all over Krakow.

Quercus
04-21-2011, 09:35 AM
A general rule (or two):


ł is pronounced like English w
c is pronounced ts, so "ck" will always be "tsk" (this goes for all Slavonic and Baltic languages (unless, of course, it has some diacritical changing the pronunciation))

also "j" is like English 'y'
"w" is like English 'v' (sometimes tightening up to almost an 'f')
the slashed l is English 'w'
and "z" acts much like English 'h' in that when it follows another consonant, it usually acts to soften/slur it into a different sound. So 'dz' becomes an English hard 'j' sound.

pulykamell
04-21-2011, 09:54 AM
and "z" acts much like English 'h' in that when it follows another consonant, it usually acts to soften/slur it into a different sound. So 'dz' becomes an English hard 'j' sound.

That's incorrect. It's the "i" that is doing the softening in the "dzi" combination, as in dziadziu (grandpa). "Dz," on its own, is pronounced as it is spelled. For example, "raisins" are rodzynki, pronounced "roh-DZIN-kee."

The "i" is palatalizing in the following combinations: ci/dzi/si/zi.

"Dz" on its own is never pronounced as a hard "j" sound. There are certain diacritics, though, that will give it that sound, namely, dż and dź. To American ears, they both sound like a hard "j" sound, but they are slightly different, with the former being alveolar and the latter palatal (and equivalent to the sound made in dzi.)

pulykamell
04-21-2011, 10:14 AM
"w" is like English 'v' (sometimes tightening up to almost an 'f')

It's not even "almost," it does become completely devoiced (an "f" sound) in certain situations, most often at the end of a word. "Cows" is krów, pronounced "kroof."


the slashed l is English 'w'


Except when at the end of a word preceded by a consonant, in which it becomes silent and serves to devoice the previous letter. This is most often seen in the past tense in Polish. "He came" is on przyszedł, and the final dł is pronounced as "t." The terminal łł seen in the OP's example is a rarity and not a normal Polish spelling. I believe it's only ever seen in proper nouns. It's just pronounced as a normal ł in that case.

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