Polish is considered one of the more difficult languages to learn. It will be easier for Czechs or Ukrainians to learn Polish, as their language is similar to ours. However, it will be more difficult for the Japanese, English or French, as there are big differences in speech, writing and grammar. Learning Polish is made easier by a large number of words which are also present in numerous other European languages. Internationalisms, as they are referred to, have similar meanings and comparable spelling forms. For example: akwarium, biznesmen, chemia, doktor, filozofia, kakao, klub, mechanik, muzyka, prezydent, uniwersytet. In this article you will learn about the Polish alphabet and the pronunciation of Polish characters and that Polish is not that difficult.
The Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and consists of 32 letters. Polish letters with diacritical marks (ą, ć, ę and so on) are treated as separate letters. The order of letters and their simplified pronunciation, given in, are:
Unlike English, Polish has a consistent relationship between pronunciation and spelling. In other words, a letter or a cluster of letters is always pronounced the same way. For example, Polish a has one pronunciation rather than the numerous pronunciations we find in English, such as the “a”in “cake”, “art” and “all”.
Division of Vowels
The Polish vowel system is much simpler than the English one. The vowels in Polish are very pure in quality.
How many oral vowels and how many nasal is?
In the Polish language there are:
- 2 nasal vowels: ą and ę
- 6 oral vowels: a, e, i, y, o, u
- ą – nasal, similar to the French ‘on’ as in ‘bon‘
- ę – nasal, similar to the French ‘in’ as in ‘loin’
- a – similar to the English ‘u’ as in ‘cut’
- e – similar to the English ‘e’ as in ‘ten’
- i – similar to the English ‘i’ as in ‘bit’
- y – similar to the English ‘ɨ’ as in ‘bill’
- o – similar to the English ‘o’ as in ‘not’
- u – similar to the English ‘u’ as in ‘pull’
In Polish, we also have letters and their combinations that look quite different, even exotic.
- ć – similar to the English ‘ch’ as in ‘cheap’
- ś – similar to the English ‘sh’ as in ‘sheep’
- ń – similar to the English ‘ni’ as in ‘onion’
- ź – similar to the English ‘s’ as in ‘Asia’
- ż – similar to the English ‘s’ as in ‘measure’
- ł – similar to the English ‘w’ as in ‘wine’
- ó – similar to the English ‘u’ as in ‘pull’
- ch – similar to the English ‘h’ as in ‘Loch Ness’- h and ch are pronounced the same
- ci – pronounced the same as ‘ć’ as in ‘ch eese’
- ch – similar to the English ‘ch’ as in ‘ch ocolate’
- dz – this is the single sound in Polish (for example adds)
- j – similar to the English ‘j’ as in ‘ji ngle’
- dź – the same sound as dzi
- dż – similar to the English ‘g’ as in ‘g entleman’
- ni – the same sound as ‘ń‘
- rz – the same sound as ‘ż‘
- si – the same sound as ‘ś‘
- j – similar to the English ‘sh’ as in ‘sh op’
- zi – the same sound as ‘ź‘
If you want to pronounce Polish letters correctly it is best to start your listening exercises as soon as possible. The later you start the worse for you. You can also come to the Polish language course at the Polka Dot school, which will help you learn the correct pronunciation of the Polish language.
I invite you to visit Culture.pl and read the article to learn more about the Polish alphabet.