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Pronouncing final -ą as -oł (Czech infleunce?)


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
1 Nov 2009 /  #1
Seems in some native Polish speakers I have detected a tendency to pronounce
the final -ą as -oł with no nasality whatsoever, hence bendoł or bendou rather than bendą.
Could that be an influence of Czech which has no nasal vowels? Is that pronunciaton more common in any regions of Poland?
mafketis 29 | 9,851  
1 Nov 2009 /  #2
Back in the 80's I read an article (based on acoustic laboratory research) that most Poles can't tell the difference between final -ą and -oł. That is, educated speakers asked whether a recording has -ą or -oł had about a 50% success rate (random chance).

I don't think it's Czech influence as I can't imagine how Czech would influence Polish in this case.

Finally, some go further and just pronounce it -o (considered substandard) and others go in the other direction and pronounce it -om (also considered substandard).
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
1 Nov 2009 /  #3
Well, isn't the first syllable stress in Góral speech not influenced by Czech and Slovak? As in 'My ZObocyli' (upper case indicates stress), uon dobry POcynstunek PRZYgotowoł...etc.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,441  
2 Nov 2009 /  #4
Finally, some go further and just pronounce it -o (considered substandard)

This is particularly ugly, nevetheless it may perhaps be a feature of some local dialects (???). This method of pronouncing the final ą in standard Polish is best ridiculed in the following dialogue:

- (someone is asking you) Po co? [meaning: dlaczego? w jakim celu?]
- (the person is replying ridiculously in substandard Polish) Poco to sie nogi noco! [meaning: Pocą to się nogi nocą].

and others go in the other direction and pronounce it -om (also considered substandard).

This is much more common than the former. A surprisingly high number of Polish politicians pronounce the final ą like that. One of them is Lech Wałęsa, another is one (if not both) of the Kaczyński brothers who were brought up in an "intelligentsia" family of Warsaw, and what is more, the most "intelligentsia" district of Warsaw, Żoliborz. Personally, I find this manner annoying, suggesting that the person is an uneducated fellow, which is obvious in the case of Lech Wałęsa, but is not in the case of the Kaczyński brothers and other politicians from the whole spectrum of Poland's political parties.
mafketis 29 | 9,851  
2 Nov 2009 /  #5
isn't the first syllable stress in Góral speech not influenced by Czech and Slovak?

No, you're getting too hung up on state borders. What happens is that as you move south from Wrocław, Częstochowa, Kraków the penultimate stress in words eventually turns into initial stress.

On the other hand if you're moving north from Liberec, Olomon and Presov, then the initial accent eventually turns into penultimate accent. In other words, there are two accent areas in western Slavic, a penultimate one that's north of an initial one and the border is porous. It roughly corresponds to national borders, but not entirely so that you find some initial stress in Polish areas near the initial stress zone and (somewhat less commonly) penultimate stress in northern areas if the initial stress zone. There's really no point in talking about one 'influencing' the other.

In rough, simplified terms, look at the block below (where P = penultimate and I = initial)

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
PPPIIIPPPPIIIPPPPIIIII
PPIIIIIIPPPIIIIIIIPIIIPII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

You'll find you can't draw a border (in a straight line) that includes all the P's on one side and all the I's on the other. That's the way to think about fact that the stress borders (and standardized national linguistic borders) don't exactly coincide.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837  
2 Nov 2009 /  #6
Could that be an influence of Czech which has no nasal vowels?

Czech does in fact have nasal vowels, even though it does not acknowledge them in spelling. E.g. if you say "na louce" (on the meadow), the "ou" is actually pronounced almost identically to a Polish "ą".
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
2 Nov 2009 /  #7
But the ą in łące is not nasal but a plain on (łonce) sound. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only true remaining nasal in Polish is the final -ą.
mafketis 29 | 9,851  
3 Nov 2009 /  #8
In standard Polish (as described by Polish philologists I've known (and whose articles I've translated)):

The difference between ą and on, om and ę and en, em (before a stop or affricate) has been lost in modern Polish. So łąka is łonka and the standard pronunciation of będzie is bendzie (or beńdzie if you prefer).

Further, the difference betwen ą and on and ę and en before a fricative is also lost, so that the standard pronuncation of sens is sęs.

In other words, ą is pronounced nasally before a fricative (as in mąż or związek) and as o plus nasal consonant before a stop or affricate (rąk = ronk, stąd = stont)

The patterning is exactly the same for ę, en and em (często, vs wnęka = wnenka etc) except that the sequence -ętn- is usually pronounced -etn- as in pietnaście, umietności etc)

Before l and ł, ą and ę are pronounced o and e respectively. Nasalizing those vowels would sound bizarre.

Word finally both nasal vowels have a similar range of variants, but the distribution varies. In order from most to least ... elaborate.

nb. in the following ~ = vowel nasalization

1. [ou~] and [eu~]. In other words, o and e followed by a short nasalized u (or ł) sound. The initial part isn't nasalized, only the u. This is common for ą but not so much for ę (except for się when it's emphasized) and often enough dziękuję.

2. [ow] and [eu]. As above but the second part isn't nasalized. Often people think variant 1 is being used when it's actually variant two. This is why most modern speakers can't distinguish between zginął and zginą, pronouncing both as zginoł (even educated speakers who think they can distinguish them mostly .... cannot. The patterning is the same as for 1.

3. [o~] and [e~]. In other words, o and e which are nasalized to some degree. Usually the start more oral and the nasalization only happens toward the end of the word. This is common for ą and not unheard of for ę. As I wrote previously, the best style is considered to pronounce some instances of ę with nasalization and others without. The determination of which to pronounce in which way should depend on homophonic and other factors (like place in the sentence).

4. [o] and [e]. That is, like plain o and e. For ą this is considered substandard, for ę it should be in alternation with 3. or 1. and 2. (this is for native speakers only, absolutely no one really cares what a non-native speaker uses as long as they're understandable ....)

5. [om] and [em]. Like plain om and em. This is considered substandard for both, it's generally more common for ą than ę (but Wałęsa is known for the latter as in his famous quote "Nie chcem ale muszem."

Final points.

1. You can sometimes hear self-conscious pronunciations like [beu~deu~] instead of the preferred [bende or bende~]. This should be regarded as hypercorrection and should not be mimicked by anyone (except perhaps for humorous purposes).

2. It is okay to distinguish ę and en in spelling pronunciations. Poles mostly don't spell words outloud like English speakers do. To clarify the writing of an unusual or ambiguous last name, they may use a spelling pronunciation where each letter has it's canonical value.
gumishu 11 | 5,740  
3 Nov 2009 /  #9
The difference between ą and on, om and ę and en, em (before a stop or affricate) has been lost in modern Polish. So łąka is łonka and the standard pronunciation of będzie is bendzie (or beńdzie if you prefer).

sorry - but I don't find łąka the same as łonka - at least in the nominative - maybe it is just me - maybe some speakers produce the same sounds when they pronounce łąka and łonka (or for that matter stonka - cause there is no such word as łonka in Polish as far as I know)

the thing is if you the nasal sounds in both łąka and stonka are different in careful enough speech - I am quite sure many Polish speakers will agree with my point
mafketis 29 | 9,851  
3 Nov 2009 /  #10
My meaning was that łąka is pronounced the same as if it were written łonka....

As for the rest. I'm just summarizing a whole bunch of articles by phoneticians and philologists who've devoted years of their lives to these questions. Backed up by phonetics lab research.

Also, most people are not good judges of what they do and don't say unless they've had linguistic training (and sometimes even then). Linguistic research is full of people who think they say X when they really say Y.

the nasal sounds in both łąka and stonka are different in careful enough speech

"Careful enough" usually means 'spelling pronunciation' which means the speaker is working backwards from the written form. This kind of artificial speech is of only secondary importance to linguists. I was describing what educated native speakers do in everyday speech (at home, at school, at work). Many Poles think they always distinguish the sounds in łąka and stonka but the research indicates they don't (and can't).
gumishu 11 | 5,740  
3 Nov 2009 /  #11
My meaning was that łąka is pronounced the same as if it were written łonka....

And in my perception it is not - I don't know how many Polish speakers pronounce these two words identically (especially even in careful speech) but I think many Polish speakers would clearly pronounce it differently in everyday speech - in standard Polish n sound in stonka had nothing to do with the sound the English would produce pronouncing the word (don't know the linguistic terms for that - would be grateful if you could provide these)

"Careful enough" usually means 'spelling pronunciation' which means the speaker is working backwards from the written form.

I understand this - I must be among those few that produce łąka and łonka diffrently then ;)
still my point is there are many people like me in that matter - perhaps not the majority - but I can safely bet 20 per cent of all speakers of Polish
mafketis 29 | 9,851  
3 Nov 2009 /  #12
standard Polish n sound in stonka had nothing to do with the sound the English would produce pronouncing the word (don't know the linguistic terms for that - would be grateful if you could provide these)

I think the term you're looking for is 'velar', in Polish miękkopodniebienny

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spółgłoska
gumishu 11 | 5,740  
3 Nov 2009 /  #13
looks like it's correct - so n in stonka (biedronka, koronka, błonka so also łonka (there is a word słonka (a kind of bird))) is not velar in Polish (it wasn't when I learned the language as a child don't know about younger generations now) unlike in English where I guess it would end up velar
mafketis 29 | 9,851  
3 Nov 2009 /  #14
looks like it's correct - so n in stonka (biedronka, koronka, błonka so also łonka (there is a word słonka (a kind of bird))) is not velar in Polish

Yes it is (according to the people that study that kind of thing).

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