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I was born in Poland and I cannot pronounce 'CZ'


adaarmada  
29 Dec 2016  #1

I moved to America when I was 5 and I'm fluent as hell in English and while my Polish may be rather basic and elementary, I can speak it pretty well aside from this SAD and unfortunate reality. Apparently this is an issue I've had since I was a child. My parents just gave up after a while and just accepted that it's something I was having a very difficult time with. I always wanted to speak better but this inability frankly makes me want to cry. It makes me so upset. I'm dating someone now who is Polish and I couldn't be happier but my inability to pronounce **** correctly is honestly what has held me back from visiting home in ten years. I need help. How I can practice this sound with American or Spanish words? I can't express how much embarrassment I have dealt with as a child as a result of this.

DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #2

@adaarmada

Well, you have access to a native speaker, so sit down with them and keep saying Polish words with the sound you wish to master over and over again, while they say after each repetition of you are cold, warmer or on the money. It might take many hours over the course of several weeks, but there is no faster way. Oddly, most English speakers have a much harder time pronouncing ć than cz.
terri Activity: 1 / 1,077
Joined: 3 May 2009 ♀
 
29 Dec 2016  #3

The sound of 'cz' which is difficult, is very near to the sound of 'cz' that you get in the last sounding of 'church.
There is no other way than repeating words with that sound to a good native speaker who can correct you. You must thing to yourself that if one person can say it so can you. You have the same mouth, tongue, teeth - use what you have. No one is expecting you to be perfect, just a 'near sound' will suffice.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #4

just a 'near sound' will suffice.

Not exactly. Actually, a sound that is near enough not to be confused with another sound is needed. Otherwise, the listener has to work to figure out whether you mean sound A or sound B, and that gets tiring really fast, especially if you have issues with more than one sound.
sirena  
29 Dec 2016  #5

well, snap. I didn't even know cz and ć are pronounced differently, sound the exact same to me :P
I'm not a native speaker though.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #6

@sirena

Just like "f" and "th" sound the same to Poles, as do the words "bad", "bed", "bat" and "bet".
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
Joined: 19 Oct 2016 ♂
 :-(
29 Dec 2016  #7

@DominicB
LOL. Nonsense. Maybe for Poles after primary schools there's no difference lol Especially in British English words like bad and bed or bat and bet are very easy to distinguish.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #8

words like bad and bed or bat and bet are very easy to distinguish.

For native English speakers, they are very easy to distinguish. For Poles, they are not. Very few Poles who learn English are able to pronounce these words differently.
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
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 :-(
29 Dec 2016  #9

@DominicB
Seems I am not Polish then since I have no problem to pronounce these.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #10

@NoToForeigners

You're one of the few, then.
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
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 :-(
29 Dec 2016  #11

@DominicB

There is many false stereotypes about Poles like the "th" sound being somewhat impossible to produce by them (where it is as easy as just putting tongue between teeth and mildly blowing) or to understand English cases and putting those in use.

Like I said. Those aspects are hard for primary school "absolwents" (lol) that often struggle with Polish itself. Lol
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #12

@NoToForeigners

The "th" thing is a major problem for Poles, even well educated ones. Oddly, I grew up around Polish people speaking English with a Polish accent, and NEVER once heard any of them say "f" instead of "th". (they all came to America a century ago). It was only when I moved to Poland that I encountered it, from practically every Pole I met.

It is a VERY, VERY distinctive and distracting trait of the modern Polish accent, and is extremely difficult for Poles to get rid of, which is odd, because the Polish "t" and "d" sounds are rather close to "th". A lot closer than "f" and "v".

I have a student who has been studying in the States for three and a half years now, and he still can't break the habit.
WhirlwindTobias Activity: - / 27
Joined: 9 Jul 2015 ♂
 
29 Dec 2016  #13

English Native, been living in Poland for just over a year.

Pronouncing cz, sz etc was the first thing I dealt with when learning Polish. Dominic hit the nail on the head, it literally just takes sitting down and practising, whilst knowing what you should be doing with your mouth. Personally I suggest choosing words that have szcz inside them, throw yourself into the deep end.

Now is the perfect time actually, go around wish people a Happy New Year! I'm doing it to every store clerk I interact with.

And also, I have C1 students who are in their late 30's/early 40's and still say "During de weekend I took my kids to de park" on the odd occasion (it's usually the first thing I have to fix), so it's not a false stereotype by any means.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #14

And also, I have C1 students who are in their late 30's/early 40's and still say "During de weekend I took my kids to de park"

I'd be happy to hear that. It's a lot better than the usual "Durink va weekent I took my kits to va park".

Not to many Poles use "d" and "t" for "th" nowadays. They use "v" and "f" instead.
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
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 :-(
29 Dec 2016  #15

@DominicB
Well. There's your experience and there's mine hehe.

Anyway. Those things regardless of how annoying to you may be are just nuances. It's a level on par with English speakers trying to ask me about Katarzyna's whereabouts by saying "Where's Kasza?":). It's just a question of practice. Nothing more.

Vast majority of Poles using English on daily basis (Poles abroad) are self taught (like myself), never had a proper lesson and a tutor. Most of them have never seen an English dictionary yet after a year or so in the UK they are able to talk with natives about their work and even meet with then in a pub after the work to have a relaxing chat (ignoring nuances). Now imagine a generally lowly educated British "Bob the construction worker" coming to Poland and after one year going to "knajpa" and having a chat in Polish with the natives there. I can't see that happen.

Now IMHO there are two major reasons to that.

1. Poles are used to barriers in languages since they were fighting to beat the extremely complex Polish grammar from day one of their lives,

2. English (up to pretty high level) is EASY (yes I said it) therefore they don't really need to learn it properly (just being submerged in it daily is enough) and are basically unaware of the subtle nuances you mentioned above (since they were never taught about those).
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #16

@NoToForeigners

I call English a "Plug-and-Play" language. You learn a word, and you can just use it with little trouble. You rarely have to do any manipulation with endings and changing the word roots. Like "two". Compare that to Polish dwa dwie dwóch dwoma dwiema dwogiem etc, etc. Even what should be seemingly simple like I have a car, I don't have a car requires a bit of thinking in Polish, as does the idea that verbs could have gender (był, była, było). And how do you get "tnę" out of "ci±ć"?

By the way, our experience may differ because I dealt almost exclusively with young academics and professionals that learned English in school, not on their own,and primarily by reading instead of listening. I found it odd at first that while most of them had typical Polish accents, there were quite a few that had unmistakable Russian accents. Then I found out that a lot of the English teachers in Polish schools were reschooled Russian teachers.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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29 Dec 2016  #17

One last thing. After I got to Poland I studied the language intensively forty, fifty or more hours a week, and it was two years before I could go to the knajpa and have a half-decent chat, in spite of the fact that I was reading at professor level already, and translating scientific papers with batting an eyelash. Even after twelve years of living in Poland, my spoken Polish is still hesitant at times, though the pronunciation is near perfect. I wish my parents had taught me the language when I was young. I lived twenty-two years of my life in a house where Polish was spoken every day, and I didn't learn anything because it was never spoken to me. There is no such thing as "absorbing" a language by "passive learning". You have to put in the work yourself, personally.
Ziemowit Activity: 7 / 2,168
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29 Dec 2016  #18

It's a lot better than the usual "Durink va weekent I took my kits to va park".

It has just reminded me of a Swiss student whom I met in Scotland once. He told me that "Ze maazer is in ze baaazroom" was his Swiss teacher's version of pronouncing this simple English sentence.

Poles are used to barriers in languages since they were fighting to beat the extremely complex Polish grammar from day one of their lives,

That is not true of Polish children immersed in a Polish-speaking environment and acquiring Polish naturally. They are not fighting to beat the grammar at all, writing and the spelling of some words may be a problem, but that's a different kettle of fish. Endings, cases or tenses including the use of (perfective and imperfective) aspect are not.
Lyzko Activity: 11 / 2,253
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30 Dec 2016  #19

"CZ" is equivalent to an English "CH-"sound, German "TSCH", and Italian "C" before most vowels! As not all languages such as Spanish, have a "CZ" to relate to when learning Polish, for example, it can be a challenge.

In addition, I'd have to agree as a foreigner that Polish "Ć" is much harder than "CZ", and may in fact be unique to Polish, same with "¦":-)

Nasals, for French speakers, oughtn't pose too much of a problem.
Lyzko Activity: 11 / 2,253
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30 Dec 2016  #20

Slight correction. Spanish speakers DO have a "ch", yet oddly cannot pronounce the same sound in English, much less Polish etc.
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
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 :-(
1 Jan 2017  #21

Slight offtopic

oughtn't pose

I thought "oughtn't" requires infinitive "to" to be used correctly since if you break it down it is "ought not to". So your sentence in next to last of your posts should look like this:

Nasals, for French speakers, oughtn't to pose too much of a problem.

Or am I mistaken?

Thanks
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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1 Jan 2017  #22

Both are common and normal, with and without the "to" in negatives and questions. The "to" is falling out of use on both sides of the Atlantic among younger speakers.

Lyszko didn't make a mistake.
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
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 :-(
1 Jan 2017  #23

Lyszko didn't make a mistake.

Never claimed he did.
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
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1 Jan 2017  #24

@NoToForeigners

I can't think of a case where using "should" is not as good or better than using "ought to", at least in American English. You could live your whole life without the word "ought" ever crossing your lips. And "oughtn't", like "mustn't" is much rarer in American English. Quite honestly, I can't recall ever having used or heard "oughtn't" used in the States in my life.
mafketis Activity: 16 / 3,576
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1 Jan 2017  #25

And "oughtn't", like "mustn't" is much rarer in American English. Quite honestly, I can't recall ever having used or heard "oughtn't" used in the States in my life

I think (no data to support, just an impression) that "ought" is more common in the South than other parts of the US, for me "oughtn't" is a little folksy / old-fashioned sounding but not as jarring and wrong-sounding as "mustn't" (which does sound wrong in US English, like 'shan't')

I have the idea (again no data to back it up) that for USans that use 'ought' it carries a stronger hint of "but I probably won't" than should does.

"I really should go to the doctor's" (I don't want to, but I probably will)

"I really oughta go to the doctor." (but I probably won't unless forced).

(don't ask about the 's - my intuition was to put it in with should and leave it off with oughta but I don't know why)
NoToForeigners Activity: 5 / 420
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 :-(
1 Jan 2017  #26

@DominicB
I just love to use archaic or simply rare words in everyday Polish. Words like "fintifluszka" or "stolec" (as a word for chair) are simply hilarious :) I tend to do the same in English.

I know I'm weird :)
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
Joined: 28 Sep 2012 ♂
 
1 Jan 2017  #27

@NoToForeigners

It's not an issue of archaicism or rarity, it's an issue of using a word that has an underlying meaning that you are not aware of, and, as a non-native speaker, probably never will be. Like with using "must" instead of "have to", or "have got" instead of "have". You may end up conveying a subtle, but strong, meaning that you did not intend to. It's best to stick with the safer forms, and avoid the unsafe forms altogether.

In short, "ought to" means "should" plus, "have got" means "have" plus, and "must" means "have to" plus, where "plus" is something that is incredibly hard to define, but practically never necessary.
Lyzko Activity: 11 / 2,253
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1 Jan 2017  #28

Dom, NotForForeigners IS correct, for British though, not American:-)
lol
DominicB Activity: - / 1,529
Joined: 28 Sep 2012 ♂
 
2 Jan 2017  #29

@Lyzko

It's the same in British, too. The "to" after "ought" in negative statements and questions has been gradually disappearing for some time now. The difference is that Americans use "ought" a lot less than Brits, and rarely use "oughtn't" at all.
Polonius3 Activity: 975 / 11,309
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2 Jan 2017  #30

"Ć" is much harder than "CZ"

A lot depends on where in the US the speaker is from. In much of the midwest the English ch-sound in check, Chet (short for Chester/Czesław), change is closer to the Polish ć than the cz and comes out sounding something like ciek, ciet, ciejndĽ rather than czek, Czet or czejndż. In NY, however, some English speakers may have a problem with ć.

The same holds true for sz/¶ and ż/Ľ. Shopping centre sounds a lot like siapyń sener. German shepherd is closer to dziyrmyn sieperd than to dżyrmyn szeperd.




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I was born in Poland and I cannot pronounce 'CZ'
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