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.