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Pronunciation difficulties for Poles speaking English


Nienazwany
28 Oct 2019 #31
Common English-language pronunciations that are non-existent pronunciations in Polish language (therefore possible difficulties with English pronunciations):

Letter A pronunciations such as August, Ball/Bawl, Bar, Bash, China, Forward, Instan(ce or t, etc), and Toward...and weakly pronounced Letter A such as suffixes/word-enders -ace, -acy, -aly, -amy, -any, -apy, -aphy, -ate, etc

Letters D, N, and T pronounced weakly (more specifically, weakly pronounced with tip of tongue not touching back of top front teeth. Letter N weakly pronounced without the tongue even touching the roof of mouth at all, especially when N is spelled before most consonants)

Letter H (Polish CH) weakly pronounced as a "non-throatful"/"non-throaty" sound

Polish I spelled/pronounced after Polish Ł/English W (is not in words of Polish-language origin, but quite common in English)

English I pronounced as a syllable, when spelled between consonant and another vowel (such as Anglophone pronunciations of Maria, Radio, etc). Polish spelling equivalent of those pronunciations would be Consonant + IJ + Vowel

Polish I pronounced without a slight Polish J sound immediately beforehand, when spelled after most Polish consonants (only if Polish I is spelled before consonants and in last-letter position). Exceptions are Polish CI, DI, DZI, SI, TI, and ZI (because no slight Polish J pronunciation after those consonants, if Polish I is spelled either before consonants or in last-letter position). DI, RI, and TI spelled before consonant or last-letter position are only in words of non-Polish origin

Letter L pronounced weakly (more specifically, weakly pronounced with very tip of tongue only slightly touching against small area of roof of mouth...or even more weakly pronounced without the tongue even touching the roof of mouth at all)

Letter O pronounced weakly (more specifically, weakly pronounced like suffixes -oby, -ogy, -oly, -opy, -ophy etc, and words Woman, Wor(d, k, ld, m etc)

Letter O pronounced like Moth(er) and One/Once

Letter O pronounced with "multi-tone drawl", such as Bowl, Road/Rode, etc

Letter R pronounced weakly as non-rolled R and French R

Pronunciation (T-)"See", except words of non-Polish origin

English TH (both pronunciations), such as Smooth/Tooth

Letter U pronounced like Unit/Computer/Menu, etc

Letter U pronounced weakly, such as Bull/Full/Pull, Bush/Push, and Put

Letter U pronounced like But(t)

Letter OO/U pronounced with "multi-tone drawl", such as Blew/Blue, Food, School, etc

Polish Y spelled/pronounced in first-letter position, and also Polish Y spelled/pronounced after Polish G, J, K, and L

Pronunciation (D-)"Zee", except words of non-Polish origin
Lyzko 25 | 7,521
28 Oct 2019 #32
Basically concur on all counts, Nienazwany.

As I've posted before, many European languages don't recognize the English 'schwa-sound' as in "evEning", "PolAnd" etc..
Typically, many Poles will seem to over pronounce such sounds or particularly the ends of words, where native Anglophones
tend to swallow them in normal speech.
Nienazwany
29 Oct 2019 #33
Yes exactly, the good ol' "schwa" LOL

Upon further thought, I also came up with a few other pronunciations that are extremely common in English language, but are also non-existent in Polish (therefore also possible difficulties when they're trying to pronounce English language in an "Anglophone manner"):

Weakly-pronounced Vowel + weakly-pronounced English L (especially word-end position, and including Consonant + LE in last-letter position in English words), such as Personal, Model, Lentil, Idol, and Fentanyl etc, and Rumble, Idle, Angle, Ankle, Rumple, Title, etc

Weakly-pronounced Vowel + English non-rolled R (especially in last-letter position), such as Mortar, Liter, Bir(d or th), Scissor(s), Femur, Martyr, etc

English "Silent E" in last-letter position (as Polish E/Ę's and Polish Y's last-letter pronunciations are non-existent in last-letter pronunciations of English words)

Anglophone pronunciation of the English preposition "Of", when Letter F is instead pronounced as English V/Polish W

Anglophone habit of sometimes pronouncing the English word "To" as the English word "Do" instead ("Ready to do" pronounced as "Ready do do")

Anglophone habit of pronouncing single-or-double Letter T as Letter D, when T(T) is spelled between vowels (and especially when pronounced before weak English L or non-rolled English R), such as Vital, Title, Little, Liter, Letter, etc

Anglophone habit of pronouncing single Letter S as Letter Z, when single Letter S is spelled between vowels (depending on word), and especially when pronounced before Letter L or non-rolled English R), such as Chisel, Taser, etc

Anglophone habit of pronouncing single Letter S as Letter Z, when single Letter S is spelled in last-letter position right after English consonants L, M, N, and non-rolled English R, and also in last-letter position after some English vowels, such as Models, Hams, Cans, Cars, etc, and Laws, Days, Was, Bunches, Fees, His, Avocados, Hairdos, Menus, etc

(Cont'd from my Post #33), a few other pronunciations that are extremely common in English language, but are also non-existent in Polish (therefore also possible difficulties when they're trying to pronounce English language in an "Anglophone manner"):

English mixed consonant clusters (especially when spelled in first-letter position before 1st vowel, or when spelled between vowels, or 2 separate words beginning/ending with voiced/voiceless consonants) pronounced by Anglophones as individually voiced/devoiced or vice-versa order (in Polish pronunciation, the mixed consonant clusters are either completely voiced/devoiced), such as Anglophone pronunciations of Baseball, Basketball, Churchgoer, Edgefest (regional musical event), Eggshell, Fudgesicle (brand name product), Lunchbox, Subsidy, Textbook, etc...and also 2-word nouns/phrases such as Blood Type, Gated Community, Math Book, Music Genre, Plastic Bag, Shopping Trip, etc

Most English last-letter voiced/voiceless consonants are pronounced as is (and not voiced/devoiced), except Letter S in last-letter position voiced as Letter Z, right after English consonants L, M, N, and non-rolled English R, such as Models, Hams, Cans, Cars, etc

Also, Letter S in last-letter position voiced as Letter Z, when spelled after some English vowels, such as Laws, Days, Was, Bunches, Fees, His, Avocados, Hairdos, Menus, etc
mafketis 23 | 7,829
29 Oct 2019 #34
This is all without even getting into the _real_ problems of

rhythm: Polish is syllable timed with each vowel receiving its full value and stressed syllables aren't that much stronger than unstressed syllables. English stressed syllables are much stronger than unstressed syllables (the vowels of which are reduced to almost nothing).

intonation: especially contrastive stress, such as the difference between "I saw June yesterday" (neutral) vs "I _saw_ June yesterday" "I saw June _yesterday_" etc etc etc
Lyzko 25 | 7,521
29 Oct 2019 #35
However, unstressed phonemes is something shared by many Slavic languages, not to mention other language groups as well:-)
As Polish normally accents the penultimate syllable of most one-to-two syllable words/nouns, "FOtel", "HOtel", "SZAfa", "POkoj" etc., this tendency often transfers over to other languages, such as English. While words of three syllables or more will always be stressed on the second syllable, notably all native Slavic words, such as "podLOGa", "dluGOpis", "sciANa", and so forth, English syllabification (much as with our spelling) is frequently ever so unpredictable, a Polish learner will have to have almost preternatural recall and a truly musical ear to be able to mimic successfully the rhythms and cadences of English speech patterns, let alone pronunciation of individual phonemes in order to sound authentic. Vice versa also!

English speech rhythms often seem to just sort of roll on without breaks in between the individual words, as I already mentioned.
I think too that "casual" pronunciation indicates a degree of nonchalant confidence and style among many Anglo-Saxon native speakers, among them, numerous college profs. and other intellecuals whom I've encountered over the years.

Take as a for instance the late conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr. who prided himself on the barely grasped verbal innuendo when holding forth, sometimes barely audible, much less comprehensible, unless you listened extra carefully. He dropped endings of words reminded this poster of a man infected by Locust Valley lockjaw.

Polish native speakers, at a high academic level especially, consider above all audible, clear, deliberate speech of utmost importance.
This carries over into their English. Check out on YouTube Dick Cavet's famous interview in the early 80's with Jerzy Kozinski following the anniversary screening of his 'Being There'. Classic example of Poglish pronunciation, completely fluent in English as he was:-)
kaprys 2 | 2,127
31 Oct 2019 #36
Alicja Bachleda Curuś in an interview as it's been decades since Poles or other nations learnt English from a book only. Not native but quite different from Kosiński's English.

youtu.be/aVooDLzOJqg
Lyzko 25 | 7,521
31 Oct 2019 #37
@kaprys,
Kozinski doubtless learned English right after the War from a Polish native speaker in high school aka lyceum.
While it is true that the younger, more social media savvy are able to absorb practically native speaker English, rarely does any non-native capture the flavor and nuance of the target language.

Joseph Conrad might well have been the notable exception......at least in his English writing, considered by many to be a master stylist of the English language, in the same class as Thomas Hardy. However, he spoke English, according to witnesses of the period, like a Pole and with a heavy accent:-)
kaprys 2 | 2,127
31 Oct 2019 #38
@Lyzko
People speak foreign languages with an accent.
Especially those who haven't been exposed to the language in question enough.
But talking about examples from the 19th century or mid 20th century is a bit too much really.
mafketis 23 | 7,829
31 Oct 2019 #39
.at least in his English writing, considered by many to be a master stylist of the English language

If read that someone (his wife?) edited his prose which would make sense...
Lyzko 25 | 7,521
31 Oct 2019 #40
Admittedly, he surely had an editor, a native Englishman most likely:-)
Yes, kaprys is right. At least this woman in the YouTube video was actually trying to get it right.

One never knows how one's second language truly sounds to another native speaker of that language.


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