Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / Language  % width 59

When does polish "ch" sound like eng "ch" and when is it "h"?


Matowy - | 294  
5 Jul 2009 /  #31
plk123
Sorry, but I totally disagree. I may not be a fluent Polish speaker, but I've always heard the Polish "ch" pronounced differently from English "h". They are not the same, but the difference is small.
plk123 8 | 4,142  
5 Jul 2009 /  #32
then you are hearing things as nobody pronounces either any different then the other. ask any other pole.. you got my answer. none will be any different from mine.
Matowy - | 294  
5 Jul 2009 /  #33
plk123
I have asked many Poles, and they all say it is not the same. They have even criticised me for saying it in English "h".

Seanus
Save your pent up issues and aggression for someone else. Being so rude and pathetic as an impulsive first tactic is extremely childish.

For the record, I misspelled it. It was supposed to say "Hyghoj", since the English "gh" sound is the closest one can get to the Polish "ch" sound. Disagree all you want. Correct me, even. Just don't be such a whiny kid about it.
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #34
Well, I take it back. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees that point. The Poles don't say ch as the English h.

Sorry but ruch is like rue hhh but plk123 is making out like it's rue h.

The Poles may have been taught to think that ch is just like h but I have heard differently.

Gh, I'd say it's more like HOJ or the English surname Hodge.
plk123 8 | 4,142  
5 Jul 2009 /  #35
lol.. no way.. there is no difference.. z is another pole so reread what he wrote.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
5 Jul 2009 /  #36
lol.. no way.. there is no difference

of course there is. COmpare light airy H in Hotel to throaty H in Scottish LOCH....or am I deaf?????
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #37
Poles don't have a clue about their own grammar or phonology half the time. I don't care if he's a Pole or not, the 'ch' sounds different and is said differently.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,004  
5 Jul 2009 /  #38
The Polish "ch" sound is basically a throaty Irish "h"

No its not!

There is a huge difference when it comes to pronouncing ch and h. Loch would be the best example of of we pronounce the Polish ch.

Seanus is right, and everybody who knows something about languages knows that too.
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #39
Spot on, Davey. Loch is with a little hhh but hat is a delicate sound without any trace of hhh like loch.
Vincent 9 | 899  
5 Jul 2009 /  #40
lol.. no way.. there is no difference.. z is another pole so reread what he wrote.

Two polish guys on this thread have said that there is no difference between ch and h so I would think that's that. Is it possible that some regional accents in Poland differ slightly with pronunciation as they do in other countries and non-natives might hear the letters pronounced with a slight difference?
Matowy - | 294  
5 Jul 2009 /  #41
"Loch" makes a "k" sound when pronounced in a non-Scottish accent, so I'm not sure if that is the best example?
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
5 Jul 2009 /  #42
"Loch" makes a "k" sound when pronounced in a non-Scottish accent

lol....I meant with a Scottish accent ....obviously...:)
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #43
Well, we don't say lock for loch. The point is about whether ch is always the same or not in Polish.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,004  
5 Jul 2009 /  #44
"Loch" makes a "k" sound when pronounced in a non-Scottish accent, so I'm not sure if that is the best example?

Similar to a k sound, but not so. ok how about chrzan and heya? but this only works for people who are not from Poland. To us from other countries we can tell the difference. But for Polish people they say there isnt any difference in sound. The way they pronounce it depends on the letters before and after the ch or h. That is why it sounds different to us jonny foreigners.

End of argument.
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #45
Well, I have to say that there is a slight difference. Just think of it, the ch in RUCH almost sounds like you are gonna start to say sth Dutch. The 'h' in English is gentler. Just say ROOHHH and then say HAT. You don't say hhhhat with a semi-Dutch sound. You just say hat delicately.

Stop after saying the RUE in ruch and then make the ch sound. Then try the same with LE and then the ch for lech. The ch in lech is more like a cat hissing. It's a more open ch with lech and a more pulled ch with ruch.
plk123 8 | 4,142  
5 Jul 2009 /  #46
yes, diphthong.. we discussed this before.. lol
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #47
Well, I'm sticking by my position.
plk123 8 | 4,142  
5 Jul 2009 /  #48
yes, me too. :D :D
OP NPosuniak 8 | 91  
5 Jul 2009 /  #49
take in to consideration that a soft vowel sound before a sharp "h" sound can sometimes kind of sound like a soft "k." Native english speakers brains want to hear how it is said and not necessarily what is said....If that makes sense.
z_darius 14 | 3,965  
5 Jul 2009 /  #50
Hata is decidely weaker than chata

In Polish it's actually the other way around.
What's spelled "h" used to be, in some regions, even voiced. "ch" never was.
Again, in Polish "ch" and "h" are identical sounds. Period.
Where you hear "harder" variants of the sound is, as I mentioned before, historically among Poles from Eastern parts of the country. And that is only logical as it shows the influence of Ukrainian and Byelorussian, both of which contain pharyngeal-laryngeal voiced "h". Standard Polish language does not.

Not only easterly Poles, dariusz. I hear it here quite often.

Quite often doesn't indicate where the speakers are from, or what variant of Polish they used at home. These are people with roots in the Eastern parts of Poland. Most were forced to move to what is now Western Poland, and other parts.

Again, a Pole will be often able to tell whether a person is from Wroclaw, which is South West Poland. The tale tale signs will be easterly manners of pronouncing words. Sounds confusing?

Not when you realize that Wroclaw in 1945 was populated mostly with Poles from Lvov, which is now in Ukraine.

There used to be a little joke on the subject:

A kaliega to skąd? (easterly manner of pronouncing the word "kolega")
A ja z Wraclawia. (with "L" being the now nearly extinct in Polish, equivalent of dark L)

take in to consideration that a soft vowel sound

There is no such thing as "soft vowels" in Polish phonology. All of them are voiced.
OP NPosuniak 8 | 91  
5 Jul 2009 /  #51
There is no such thing as "soft vowels" in Polish phonology. All of them are voiced.

I didn't know that. When i wrote it i meant smoother, lighter sounding letters.
z_darius 14 | 3,965  
5 Jul 2009 /  #52
OK, I think I may have sounded a little on harsh side here.

Linguistics was a subject of my studies so I'm kinda used to somewhat precise terminology.
To start with, in phonology and phonetics we do not talk about letters but about sounds and phonemes, which may be represented graphically by letters.

Perhaps if you give examples of what you mean that would make it easier to understand your point.
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #53
Well, Dariusz, you are only convincing yourself. I live here and I hear what they sound like. My ears don't fail me. Another instance of where practice differs from the theory!?
z_darius 14 | 3,965  
5 Jul 2009 /  #54
Another instance of where practice differs from the theory!?

Not at all. I am not debating what you hear. I am debating the pronunciation of "ch" and "h" in standard Polish.

The ch and h are also pronounced identically; some authors of dictionaries and other descriptions forget it. I was learning Esperanto at one time: in the first lesson I was told that the seldom used h^ corresponds with the Polish ch, while the h is pronounced like the Polish h. It may have been true in Białystok in Zamenhof's days - of the inventor of the language. To be sure, till the present day there has still existed a small group of Poles pronouncing the h in another way than the ch - as a laryngeal voiced spirant

[grzegorj.w.interia.pl/gram/en/gram02.html] - Source

That's from a Polish linguist living in Poland. As far as I know you are a Scottish lawyer teaching English in Poland.
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
5 Jul 2009 /  #55
Pronounced identically according to standard linguistics but there are variations to the rule and that's my point. You even admitted as much before. It even says above and I don't think that group is so small.

Dariusz, an LLM is chosen by some lawyers with money to gain extra expertise and insight into their chosen area but you need a DipLP to first become a lawyer which I don't have and don't want (I chose it to further some of the themes in my Honours year which I liked and I knew I couldn't be a lawyer proper long before). I completed my tertiary education 9 years ago and was happy with it. I've been an English teacher, phonetics included, for almost 7 years. That's much more to the point.
z_darius 14 | 3,965  
5 Jul 2009 /  #56
Pronounced identically according to standard linguistics but there are variations to the rule and that's my point. You even admitted as much before. It even says above and I don't think that group is so small.

Sure I admitted, and the quote says so too. These are remnants of foreign influences that sipped into the Polish language. When you watch Polish movies made between the wars you'll hear even more of it. Today you'll hear it sometimes and and the tendency is for the differences to die out with the passing away of easterly influences on the Polish language.

One of the easiest ways to visualize what's cooking with that sound in question is to take one word with common root and see how it's pronounced, goring from East to West (Russia to Poland, via Byeloruss and Ukraine). The "h" in word "hero" will vary from the phoneme "g" in Russian (Герой) to "h" in Polish. You will hear a number of close-by variations in the areas bordering those various linguistic groups. In Poland they are dispersed, due to WW2 resettlement. But to say that these minority linguistic variations are what represents Polish language is like proposing a manual on RP English by studying pronunciation in Belfast.
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
23 Jul 2009 /  #57
This is more like it :)
Ziemowit 14 | 4,278  
24 Jul 2009 /  #58
The whole - skądinąd interesująca - discussion is in vain. I am sure Seanus can hear the difference between the two "ch" in Ruch and Lech, at the same time it is true that these are pronounced the same in both words. The pronounciation of the same identical sound may slightly differ depending on its linguistic surrounding, so people with "muzyczny słuch" (as we call it in Polish) may quite distinctly tell such a difference. [I myself may tell I can hear it in Lech and Ruch, although it is a subtle one.]

This has nothing to do with the difference in pronounciation between ch and h. Some Polish speakers have retained the different pronounciation of h until the present day. The most famous among them is perhaps actress Nina Andrycz, born in 1915 in Brest Litovsk (wife of the late Polish communist prime minister Józef Cyrankiewicz), whose pronounciation is clear and elegant (she is a well-known recitator of poetry, poet and writer herself as well).
Seanus 15 | 19,674  
24 Jul 2009 /  #59
I have muzyczny słuch (a musical ear) so I hear that subtle difference.

Archives - 2005-2009 / Language / When does polish "ch" sound like eng "ch" and when is it "h"?Archived