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Are Anglophones able to detect different Polish accents?


Lyzko 20 | 6,034
29 Sep 2017  #1
As a sequel to the existing thread about English or British accents, I was wondering whether or not there are certain Polish accents which English speakers find especially difficult to understand.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,141
29 Sep 2017  #2
Not really... Poles who speak English with a Polish accent tend to sound more or less the same.. with maybe gorale a tad different..

I've met some Poles who lived in the UK for a while and speak English with a sort of weird mix of British/Polish accent.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,660
29 Sep 2017  #3
according to my ex there is not such a wide variation of regional accents in Poland as in the islands because of various historical factors, population movements and loss, etc

of course he did often talk nonsense so would be glad to be put right.
Chemikiem 6 | 1,658
29 Sep 2017  #4
certain Polish accents which English speakers find especially difficult to understand.

Górale are difficult to understand. I have a friend who lives in the mountains in south Poland, and the first time I heard him speak I could barely understand a word he said. At the time I thought it was my lousy Polish, until I mentioned it to Polish friends who said that sometimes they had a job to understand him too. Even some of the words he used weren't standard Polish.

I doubt I could detect any difference in other accents/dialects across Poland, although I've never heard Kashubian or Silesian spoken yet.
mafketis 19 | 6,847
29 Sep 2017  #5
according to my ex there is not such a wide variation of regional accents in Poland as in the islands

He's right in this case! Mostly distinct dialects have disappeared since WWII and have been replaced by standard Polish (maybe with local accents).

Typically if two Poles meet in a foreign country and begin speaking..... neither will have any idea where the other is from. There are some regional features but they're pretty subtle and seem to be less salient when Poles are abroad.

I remember a work related meeting (in another country with people from a few different countries) a Croat absolutely refused to believe that local dialects aren't a big thing in Poland. To make the point I asked one of two Polish women present if she could tell where the other was from (they had heard each other speak Polish).

"hmmm maybe south, like... Silesia?" the other Polish woman was actually from around Gdańsk...
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,141
29 Sep 2017  #6
@Chemikiem

Gorale have totally different phrases and greetings. There's not much difference in dialect between people from Warsaw vs Krakow vs Gdansk etc. There is a minor difference among those in the NE like in Bialystok and the Poles in Lwow speak a bit differently. Otherwise it's all pretty homogenous.

Kaszubski sounds kind of similar to Polish but yet a bit different. It almost sounds like Czech to me in a way. Kaszuby tend to have very similar names as Poles though but a lot of aspects of their culture - clothes, cuisine, language, are different.
jon357 63 | 14,076
29 Sep 2017  #7
certain Polish accents

There are some that are noticeable. Poznan, Upper Silesia, and (especially) Podlasie.
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,034
30 Sep 2017  #8
Many thanks for your prompt replies, gang!
Tlum 10 | 149
1 Oct 2017  #9
They do hear a difference (some of the foreigners can tell if a Polish person is from 'Warsaw' versus from other parts of Poland - not sure how they can tell, but they do).
Ziemowit 12 | 3,296
1 Oct 2017  #10
not sure how they can tell

Because quite a number of people in Warsaw would pronounce a hard 'L' instead of a soft one - 'stolyca' rather than 'stolica'.
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 459
1 Oct 2017  #11
I've met some Poles who lived in the UK for a while and speak English with a sort of weird mix of British/Polish accent.

funny fact: after living in the Mighty for over a decade, I have- apparently- developed a.. French accent o.O
and I was told that by a few Brits, as well as by.. Polish (in Poland- they have noticed my accent has changed). Funny thing is I speak no French, never learned it etc.
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,034
1 Oct 2017  #12
@tlum,

Possible Russian influence there?
DominicB - | 2,650
2 Oct 2017  #13
@Lyzko

Nope. Russian has had very little, if any, influence on Polish lexicon (except for criminal slang), and none at all on pronunciation.

Weirdly, it had a major affect on how some Polish speakers pronounce English. After 1989. Many Polish teachers of Russian were reschooled to teach English, and taught English with a rather pronounced Russian accent. I was quite surprised to see many Polish teenagers speaking English with a strong Russian, not Polish, accent when I first arrived in Poland in 2002. That influence has decreased over time, though.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,141
2 Oct 2017  #14
That influence has decreased over time, though.

Yeah no one really speaks Russian in Poland anymore (except for the Ukrainian and Chechen migrants that came recently). The people who were taught Ruskij barely ever use it and forget it more and more as time goes on.
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,034
2 Oct 2017  #15
Years ago, my second Polish teacher from Krakow told me that nearly every Pole understands at least minimal Russian, while nobody dares to speak it:-)
Wulkan - | 3,251
3 Oct 2017  #16
Maybe he was talking about his old generation?
OP Lyzko 20 | 6,034
3 Oct 2017  #17
Very likely, Wulkan. This was during the late '70's:-)


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