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Pronunciation of vowels at the end of a word


triuo 1 | 5
22 Nov 2010 #1
Hi,

I've just started learning Polish and am currently just trying to learn the basics.

According to the various pronunciation guides I've looked at, the letter "y" in Polish is approximately like the "i" in the English word "ill", and the Polish "e" is like the "e" in the English word "ten".

However, I've noticed that when these vowels appear at the end of a word, the "y" sounds (to me) like an English "eh", and the "e" sounds something like a short "a".

So, to my ears: "dobry" sounds like "dobreh", and "dobre" sounds similar to "dobra".

I'm sure I'm not imagining this (I've checked the pronunciation on this site: oddcast.com/home/demos/tts/tts_example.php), but there's been no mention of it in the course I'm following.

Could anyone please give me some advice on this because I'm trying to learn the different case endings and don't want to end up pronouncing them incorrectly.

Thanks a lot.
Ksysia 25 | 430
22 Nov 2010 #2
it's due to being sloppy when talking casually. I've noticed that the English people give the 'jen dobrey' pronnounciation, too. however, if they concentrate on the vowels, they exaggerate so much that the word turns into another word. dobry with a shwa is '(m) good', while dobrej with a long yay is '(f) of the good'.

so I would try to ignore this sloppiness on our side - you'll probably get the mumbling habit yourself, as with all bad habits it's the easiest to acquire.
OP triuo 1 | 5
22 Nov 2010 #3
Hi Ksysia, thanks for the reply!

I'm still a bit confused though because you mentioned about "dobry with a schwa", but I thought that the "y" in Polish was always pronounced like the "i" in the English word "bin"?

I found these couple of sound clips on Wiktionary:

en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dobry
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/miejsce

To me, the "y" at the end of the "dobry" sounds like "eh" (not like the "i" in "bin") and the "e" at the end of "miejsce" sounds almost like "a" (not like the "e" in "ten") , and I've noticed exactly the same thing with other words that end in those vowels.

I'd like to get these pronunciations clear in my head but I'm not sure if I'm mishearing the vowel sounds, or if they change with the position in the word, or if my own English dialect doesn't distinguish very clearly between certain vowel sounds, or... something else.

Any more advice much appreciated. Cheers!
nikt
22 Nov 2010 #4
(not like the "i" in "bin")

it absolutely doesn't sound like bin.
OP triuo 1 | 5
22 Nov 2010 #5
Nikt: Okay, but that's what I'm saying (which is why I'm asking the question...) because it contradicts what I've read in various pronunciation guides. Maybe you could you explain how it sounds? Thanks.
nikt
22 Nov 2010 #6
maybe try Youtube. There is lots of polish pronounciation presentations:

www . youtube . com / watch?v=jqxnS4QTMqo
OP triuo 1 | 5
22 Nov 2010 #7
Cheers, but in that vid it actually gives "bin" as an example of how the Polish "y" sounds.

EDIT: Just checked the 2nd vid and in those examples the "y" does sound almost like an English "i" to me, even when at the end of the word.
Vincent 9 | 803 Moderator
22 Nov 2010 #8
Here is a video of the letter "Y" pronounced in various positions in words.here
nikt
22 Nov 2010 #9
Cheers, but in that vid it actually gives "bin" as an example of how the Polish "y" sounds.

weird. Maybe they mean it's close to bin. It's certainly not the same sound. Trust me - I'm polish ;)
OP triuo 1 | 5
22 Nov 2010 #10
Nikt: Ok man, I trust you ;). In the audio of the course I've been doing it doesn't sound like "i" to me either. For example, the pronouns "ty", "my", "wy" sound more or less like "teh", "meh", "veh" to my ears, but then in that video the "y" a the end of "łysy" sounded more like "i"... So I'm still kind of confused :-/. Cheers for the help anyway.

Vincent: thanks for the link, it's the same vid as the 2nd one nikt posted.
Vincent 9 | 803 Moderator
22 Nov 2010 #11
the pronouns "ty", "my", "wy" sound more or less like "teh", "meh", "veh" to my ears,

That's how they sound to me as well, only short and fast:) I think it's because foreign words play havoc with our ears when we are not used to hearing them. It took me ages to hear the small "p" sound at the start of przepraszam. Many letters also change to a different sound, especially if they are word final.
Polish Tutor - | 80
23 Nov 2010 #12
Unfortunately when you start to learn a foreign language your brain ignores sounds which are not essential from its point of you.
In other words: it ignores sounds which do not belong to its native language. There are differences between individuals. Some people start to hear foreign sounds faster others slower. From my experience (as a teacher as well as learner) discussing sounds does not help much. )-:

You need to listen to a lot of examples. This is another (well known on this forum) great tool to do it: ivona.com
It is also good to have somebody who can present the correct pronunciation to you and CORRECT YOUR WRONG PRONUNCIATION.

BTW vowels in Polish have always the same pronunciation. Their pronunciation does not depend on the position in a word or sentence. Polish pronunciation is very regular and close to the way of writing! Good night and good luck!
OP triuo 1 | 5
23 Nov 2010 #13
Thanks Polish Tutor and Vincent for your advice :).

It's funny about the small "p" at the start of "przepraszam" because I'd already spent a while listening to that word and told myself it must be a silent letter, hehe. Hopefully I'll get more to grips with the pronunciation soon...
Bolle 1 | 147
23 Nov 2010 #14
It's funny about the small "p" at the start of "przepraszam" because I'd already spent a while listening to that word and told myself it must be a silent letter, hehe.

took me ages to hear the small "p" sound at the start of przepraszam

So you can't hear the difference between "przepraszam" and "rzepraszam"??

come on now...
Ksysia 25 | 430
23 Nov 2010 #15
she might not hear - it's sheprasham and 'sheprasham instead of psheprasham, we really don't concentrate on the initial sound. besides our p's and b's are not as carefully pronounced as in English, where they come out with a burst of air. she might not notice them.

by shwa I mean that at the end of the last word of the sentence we might just forget to vocalize everything. in between words it's usually blurred, too. but the essencial idea is that the brain makes up and still hears full words.

dobrY wieczór is usually clearly pronounced

dzień dobry might be something like dziń dobr: - but those are not real rules, it's just careless pronounciation. don't copy that
Teffle 22 | 1,321
23 Nov 2010 #16
psheprasham

I always say it this way. Maybe I shouldn't bother!

For me, w porządku is pretty awkward, the V and quickly followed P and ZH sounds.
Zed - | 195
23 Nov 2010 #17
Teffle, in this case (w porządku) the letter "w" is always pronounced as "f" not as "v". Similarly in a word "paw" (peacock) the pronounciation is "paf" but of course when you decline the word it the "w" is once agin sounded e.g.: "z pawiem" (with a peacock)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
23 Nov 2010 #18
Yeah, OK. I should have put F rather than V - wasn't really thinking.

It's still difficult for me either way!
Ziemowit 12 | 3,609
23 Nov 2010 #19
This is called "ubezdźwięcznienie" which means that voiced consonants become voiceless consonants. Please, repeat: "u-b-e-z-dź-wi-ę-cz-ń-e-ń-e". Very good!
nikt
23 Nov 2010 #20
Yeah, OK. I should have put F rather than V - wasn't really thinking.

It's still difficult for me either way!

you should pronounce it like one word fpo-rzą-dku. The same case is with the phrase "w ogóle" ("generally"). Its vo-goo-le. That's why many Poles make spelling error in this phrase by writing it "wogóle" (which is wrong).

The same things happens with "z". "Z przodu" (in the front) we pronounce like sprzo-du not zy-przo-du.

ZH sounds

zh?

"w ogóle" ("generally")

EDIT. wrong translation. I must be tired. Mostly it means "at all":

Nie obchodzi mnie to w ogóle. (I don't care at all)

or colloqiual phrase meaning something similar to "actually":

W ogóle to bez sensu... (Actually it has no sense)

Ogólnie means generally.

Ogólnie czasami takie rzeczy się zdarzają (Generally sometimes such things may happen)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
23 Nov 2010 #21
zh?

Maybe that's the wrong way of putting it - I mean like massage
nikt
23 Nov 2010 #22
ż? So good news for you that this process

"u-b-e-z-dź-wi-ę-cz-ń-e-ń-e"

is also here. It's impossible to pronounce "rz" after "p" that's why "rz" sounds like "sz" :)

przepraszam is in fact psze-pra-szam.

Is it what you meant?
Teffle 22 | 1,321
23 Nov 2010 #23
ż?

I think so - the problem is I am using phonetics po angielsku and you po polsku
: )
Kamil_pl - | 59
23 Nov 2010 #24
Every letter in every word always sounds the same. That's the difference compared to english. Of course you have to remember that rz sz and ch are pronounced different than these letters apart.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
23 Nov 2010 #25
BTW vowels in Polish have always the same pronunciation. Their pronunciation does not depend on the position in a word or sentence.

So you mean that ę in ręka and wolę arepronounced the same?

Or that ą in ząb, Dąbrowski and czarną are pronounced the same?

Examples of sentences from my reply above:

Moja ręka jest złamana. | Wolę czarną herbatę. | Boli mnie ząb.

Not really the same in my opinion.
gumishu 11 | 5,017
23 Nov 2010 #26
yes SzwedwPolsce - your examples show there is difference how various letters can be pronounced depending on their position ( it is not just ę and ą that get pronounced differtently depending on their position or neighbourhood - someone already mentioned the phenomenon of devoicing of consonants (ubezdźwięcznienie)) - but there seems to be pretty consistent rule to this
Ksysia 25 | 430
23 Nov 2010 #27
Or that ą in ząb, Dąbrowski and czarną are pronounced the same

zomp
dommrofski
czarnom

are all laziness. if you'd like to hear it pronounced properly, see a film with trained actors like Stuhr
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
23 Nov 2010 #28
So you mean that ę in ręka and wolę arepronounced the same?

Especially this one!

However, compared to other languages, pronunciation of Polish letters is extremely regular.


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