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Polish pronounciation of: cz vs ć/ci, sz vs ś/si, ź vs ż and dż vs dź/dzi - how to make these sound diff



NoToForeigners 7 | 856    
16 Feb 2017  #31

Similarly, "gorzy" and "górze" sound like "gawzhuh", resp. "guuhzheh",

Since there's no audible "r" in them why would you even mention those?


Lyzko 17 | 3,672    
17 Feb 2017  #32

As the question arose in a prior post, I was merely responding to said query.
stickymany    
23 Oct 2017  #33

Merged:

Why is the "i" not pronounced in the word "działa"? Polish language.



I wrote "działa" in google translate and played the audio. It was pronounced as "ja-wa". I also found a wiki page for this word, which also has the pronunciation.

en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/działa

It's pronounced as /ˈd͡ʑa.wa/. The d͡ʑ refers to the dz sound. But there's no symbol representing the letter "i". It goes directly to the "a" sound.

Is this a normal rule in the polish language? As in, if there's a word with "ia" in it, you don't pronounce the "i"? If so, are there any other words where this rule is followed?
Ziutek 8 | 141    
23 Oct 2017  #34

The "i" turns "dz" into " d͡ʑ". Register as a member and I'll tell you more.
Chemikiem 4 | 928    
24 Oct 2017  #36

działa

The letter combination 'dzi' is pronounced in the same way as the digraph ' dź '. In both these combinations the letters sound like the 'Jee' in the word Jeep, but the overall sound is softer and less hard.

Is this a normal rule in the polish language? As in, if there's a word with "ia" in it, you don't pronounce the "i"?

For that particular 'dzi' letter combination yes, but in every word I can think of containing 'ia', both the 'i' and 'a' are pronounced as Polish is a phonetic language. Think how 'Biały' is pronounced for example. Both letters are sounded.
Lyzko 17 | 3,672    
24 Oct 2017  #37

Exactly, Chemnikiem. This is why Anglo-Saxons especially often have tremendous difficulties pronouncing Polish, as English for example typically elides sounds and barely pronounces the final or medial schwa-sounds in words such as "evening". The latter is always represented in the IPA as a "backwards "e" " in second position, said though by the average Polish native English learner as "iivenink" instead of "E-E-V'-N-I-N-G", which requires a voiced final struent rather than the devoicing of final consonants!
Ziutek 8 | 141    
24 Oct 2017  #38

i always softens the proceeding consonant. What "soften" means depends on the consonant in question. For most consonants, it just means insert an "y" (as in "yellow") sound. If the i appears on its own it is pronounced, but if it is before another vowel it is silent. So "pani" sounds like "panyi" but "nie" sounds like "nye", "pies" sounds like "pies". However, for c,dz,s,z it means produce a soft "shushing" sound.

If the softened consonant is at the end of the word, an acute accent is used instead of i: n->ń, c->ć, dz->dź etc.
Lyzko 17 | 3,672    
25 Oct 2017  #39

Exactly, which is what gives Russian especially, Polish also, their particular palatal quality:-)
Chemikiem 4 | 928    
26 Oct 2017  #40

If the i appears on its own it is pronounced, but if it is before another vowel it is silent.

I am presuming this is regarding the 'dzi' combination of letters? Your following sentence where you are talking about 'Pani' and 'nie' is confusing me because these words don't contain the 'dzi' letter combination under discussion. Plus the 'i' in my earlier example of the word biały is definitely pronounced and not silent. If you are talking about the 'dzi' letter combination, then I would say this definitely holds true. This is why in stickymany's example ' działa' is pronounced 'Ja-wa', and the 'i' is silent, as it typically is in other 'i' + vowel combinations such as dziecko, dziewczyna, tydzień, dziękuję. Words where the 'dzi' combination actually sounds like the "jee' in jeep, are those without a vowel after the 'i', such as godzina, rodzina.

I'm only mentioning this because I found what you said to be slightly misleading ( or perhaps I didn't understand exactly what you meant ) and stickymany specifically asked:

if there's a word with "ia" in it, you don't pronounce the "i"?

Ziutek 8 | 141    
26 Oct 2017  #41

So to try and transliterate into English spelling your example of biały, are you saying it is pronounced b-ee-awy?
Chemikiem 4 | 928    
26 Oct 2017  #42

are you saying it is pronounced b-ee-awy?

No. You have used a combination of two ee's in that example, which in English results in a long 'e' sound. The sound of the 'i' in biały is much shorter. If you look at any English source for how to pronounce Polish 'i', you will get an example along the lines of 'feet' or similar. This is the closest example of pronunciation but it isn't correct.

You are not a native speaker either, so I'm not sure what you are trying to say here? Do you think that the 'i' in biały is silent and therefore the word is pronounced as b-awy?
Ziemowit 8 | 2,636    
26 Oct 2017  #43

Plus the 'i' in my earlier example of the word biały is definitely pronounced and not silent.

This is in fact a soft b rather than b+i. One can imagine another way of recording softness of a consonant. For examnple, in Russian they do it by writing a specific vowel which reveals the softness of the preceeding consonant. Thus you would write белый in Russian which word in Polish would be written 'biełyj'. The softness of the consonant 'b' is attached to the following vowel, whereas in Polish the vowel 'i' is used for that purpose.

If you wanted to throw that softness out, you should write бэлый which word would be transliterated into Polish as 'bełyj' (without the i).

That's how the idea of softness works in Slavic languages. The Russian language doesn't employ the 'i' to indicate softness, whereas the Polish language does. Other Slavic languages may have other methods to record softness of which the most popular one is using the apostrophe after a consonant.
Chemikiem 4 | 928    
26 Oct 2017  #44

OK, thanks for that explanation Ziemowit, very helpful and easy to understand. So in for example ' miałam wypadek ', the 'm' softens just as the 'b' in biały does. It still sounds like a very short 'i' to my English ears though :-(
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #45

. It still sounds like a very short 'i' to my English ears though :-(

because it is - there is no audible difference in Polish between biały and bjały or miał and mjał
Ziutek 8 | 141    
26 Oct 2017  #46

Do you think that the 'i' in biały is silent and therefore the word is pronounced as b-awy?

No. Ziemowit has explained the situation better than I have so far managed. I was using the word "silent" in the same sense as you when you wrote

This is why in stickymany's example ' działa' is pronounced 'Ja-wa', and the 'i' is silent

. That is, it doesn't produce its own sound but serves to soften the preceding consonant (b in biały, dz in działa)
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #47

because it is - there is no audible difference in Polish between biały and bjały or miał and mjał

for all purposes biały can be transliterated into English as byawih the same goes for miał (myahw)
Chemikiem 4 | 928    
26 Oct 2017  #48

because it is

Thank God for that because I was starting to think that my years of study were all for nothing and I had somehow been making a big mistake in pronunciation all these years! I only wanted clarification for the sake of the poster who started this little debate and who might have thought that the 'i' was completely silent when it preceded an 'a' .

it doesn't produce its own sound but serves to soften the preceding consonant (b in biały, dz in działa)

Yeah, I get what you mean now :-)
Chemikiem 4 | 928    
26 Oct 2017  #49

for all purposes biały can be transliterated into English as byawih the same goes for miał (myahw)

Yes. The effect of the 'i' softens 'b' and 'm' and this sound can actually be heard. I thought that Ziutek meant that no sound could be heard at all and the words would be pronounced as if the 'i' were missing completely. Glad that's all sorted then!
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #50

@Chemikiem

the biały bjały equality is not reflected for all consonants - c,s,dz,z behave differently in this respect - ciał (a plural genetive of ciało) is not the same as cjał as in the word potencjał - Marsjanin (a Martian) sounds different from Marsianin (a made up word) - ciał sounds the same as ćał, siano can be transribed as śano and działo as dźało - so yes in a way i disappears as a sound here - instead it's just used to denote the soft c,s,dz,z before other vowels

to make things more complicated in words like cisza, sito, dzik, zima the i both makes the preceeding consonants soft and is and audible sound itself -

to make things even more complicated there are borrowed words with 'si' where i doesn't denote the softening of s - like say sial (the outermost layer of the earth - a geologiacal term - sounds like sjal in pronounciation but is by convention trascribed as sial) or silos (silo) (silos =/= śilos)

(there is also a chemical term or rather a prefix cis that is pronounced without softening of 'c' in Polish - as opposed to the Slavic word cis (yew) which is pronounced as ćis)

the similiar situation (as with c,s,dz,z) is with n - niania (nanny) sounds as ńańa, nie (no) can be transcribed as ńe, nic (nothing) as ńic - however there are words that are traditionally spelled with - nia and pronounced as - ńja - mania (mania), unia(union), Hiszpania (Spain), Dania(Denmark), Rumunia(Romania) etc - this leads to some ambiguities: Dania(Denmark) is pronounced differently to dania(dishes) and mania (mania) is pronounced differently to Mania (a nickname for Maria)
Ziutek 8 | 141    
26 Oct 2017  #51

however there are words that are traditionally spelled with - nia and pronounced as - ńja

So does this sound like a doubled ń or a n followed by a double jj? I've just tried danie vs Dania on Google translate and on Ivona and I must admit, I can't really hear any difference.
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #52

danie vs Dania

dania (dishes) = dańa
Dania(Denmark)= Dańja

many Anglophones don't hear a difference between sz and ś - maybe this is the same case with you and dania/Dania (or maybe ivona doesn't prononounce Dania properly)
Lyzko 17 | 3,672    
26 Oct 2017  #53

As many Poles don't hear a difference between "bit" vs. "beat", because of the long and short vowel sounds in English:-)
For that matter, I can't say how many times my Russian teacher tried to get me to hear the distinction between "brat" (brother) and

"brat' " (to take), and yet I never could quite pronounce it as a Russian native speaker!
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #54

the distinction between "brat" (brother) and "brat' " (to take), and yet I never could quite pronounce it as a Russian native speaker!

i can hear the difference and what is more I can produce the difference in speech as well - maybe because I am a Slav - I'm pretty sure there are sound pairs in existing languages I wouldn't be able to tell appart though
Ziutek 8 | 141    
26 Oct 2017  #55

I've listened to these files and I can (just about) hear the difference.
pl.wiktionary.org/wiki/danie
pl.wiktionary.org/wiki/Dania
So could someone now tell me how to pronounce the genitive versions? For example manii (mania) Mani (Maria).
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #56

So could someone now tell me how to pronounce the genitive versions? For example manii (mania) Mani (Maria).

mania - genetive =manii pronounced as mańji
Maria - genetive = Marii pronounced as Marji
Mania - genetive = Mani pronounced as Mańi
gumishu 11 | 4,661    
26 Oct 2017  #57

@gumishu

it's not the exact looking pair but it should give you more feeling of the issue
Toskania (Tuscany) Toskańja - genetive Toskanii = Toskańji
kania (a type of edible mushroom) - genetive kani = kańi
Ziutek 8 | 141    
26 Oct 2017  #58

@gumishu
That's very helpful. Thanks
dolnoslask 2 | 1,173    
26 Oct 2017  #59

kania

Dipped in egg and breadcrumbs then fried, wonderful.
Ziemowit 8 | 2,636    
27 Oct 2017  #60

It still sounds like a very short 'i' to my English ears though :-(

This is no surprise at all, it does sound like that to the majority of Polish native speakers. Most of them would swear there they pronounce a (very) short 'i' in miał or biały. In fact they don't fully distinguish between the concept of a consonant and the concept of a vowel. For pronouncing a vowel you need a certain flow of air through your mouth. When you pronounce the soft b (b') or the soft m (m'), your tongue is positioned in the mouth as if you wanted to start saying the 'i' all along with pronouncing either of those consonants. And in fact you actually produce the consonant b or m while holding your toungue in that starting position of the vowel 'i'. But then you start to pronounce the vowel 'a' and not the vowel 'i'. The resulting impression experienced by most people, native speakers included, is that they actually utter a short 'i' after saying the 'b' and before uttering the 'a'.

Plus, their opinion is strongly influenced by the graphic representation of the soft consonants in Polish (in our case 'bi' and 'mi'). However, you start to pronounce the very true and real 'i' after the soft 'b' in words such as 'biwak', 'bić' or 'Birma'.




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