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Polish regional accents?


hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,368
15 Aug 2012 #91
I thought it possible that Poland might be included in that list, but thanks for setting me straight.

No no, you first impression is correct. There is virtually no difference in accent among young Poles of today, certainly nowhere near as pronounced as in the UK.
teflcat 5 | 1,027
15 Aug 2012 #92
I found myself talking slower and more pronounced to the average Pole and i guess it had a permanent impact.

Same here. And my active vocabulary has shrunk. Keeping it simple means I avoid all kinds of wonderful words, and now I find myself searching my memory for them when I have to write something at a high level.
jon357 75 | 22,596
15 Aug 2012 #93
I'd call it educated home counties

That's a good description. I suppose mine is educated Yorkshire. It has a bit more in common with RP than with any dialect and is several social degrees higher than, say, Estuary English and a bit of an old fashioned sound.

I do know a bit about what I'm saying

I suspect not as much as you would like to think.
teflcat 5 | 1,027
15 Aug 2012 #94
Estuary English

Some would see this as welcome social levelling, but I hate it. It sounds ugly to me. On the BBC last week I heard an economics correspondent pronounce sales as sows. Ugh!

Regional accents in England are often a delight to listen to. My personal favourites are Geordie and that mellifluous West-country burr you hear in Devon.

My ear is out of practise now, but when I was growing up I could hear the difference between a Greenwich accent and that of my home turf, Woolwich, barely two miles down the road.
pam
15 Aug 2012 #95
Middle class people, however, usually just have a "standard accent", called "Received pronunciation", no matter where they're from in the country. They could live in Newcastle in the north or London in the south and have the same "posh" accent.

I understand what you mean by this, but i don't think it's strictly true, especially these days.
Are you really trying to say that a middle class Glaswegian for example, would have absolutely no trace of an accent at all? I think not.

I'm not sure how much of this"standard accent" can be attributed to private schooling , although i'm guessing quite a bit.

I have 2 friends with so called standard accents. One is most definitely upper middle class and was privately educated.
The other comes from a working class background and managed to fail the 11+.Her parents somehow managed to get the money together to send her to a private school.

She has no trace of an accent either.
Teflcat made a good point about about broadcasters then and now. No-one speaks quite like that anymore, unless you're of a certain age.
As regards Poland, i have no idea if they have a class system, but they certainly do have a vast range of regional dialects. 2 years on and i still struggle to understand my mate Zibi who comes from the mountains in Southern Poland. Or maybe it's just that i need to improve my Polish lol!!
AlliCari 1 | 9
15 Aug 2012 #96
So you have, for example, a friend in Tyneside who has exactly the same RP accent as a friend from, say, Cornwall.

Yes, I do (just about – I don't know anyone in Cornwall). I have a friend from Tyneside who has the same RP accent as myself, and the same again as some friends of mine who live in Southampton, and the same again as some friends who live in Manchester. It's not quite as rare as you seem to think; although I believe it is much more common among the upper-middle class like myself than the "new" middle class – those that have raised through the ranks thanks to education.

To be honest, teflcat, I seriously doubt you're middle class at all, based on your crude original response ("Square root of fkuc all" – very nice). I'm especially surprised to hear something so base and childish from someone of your age. And just while we're on the subject of language, we English say "cotton buds", not "Q-tips". Not that I need them anyway, as I actually take a great interest in accents and can usually guess where an accent is from on listening to it only once. I think that rather than being an issue of hearing, this is one of social attitudes – I just have a higher threshold of what I consider middle-class.

Pam – I agree with your post. I do think a lot of it comes down to schooling; at private schools you're( supposedly) encouraged to speak a certain way, and more to the point, you listen to people with that accent, so that's the one you pick up (I wouldn't know, having not been to one myself).

However, of course, a middle-class Glaswegian wouldn't be expected to have no trace of an accent; but I was talking about English accents in my original post. Britain as a whole would naturally have different rules – and anyway, it would be a crime for a Glaswegian not to have an accent, as it is after all one of the nicest in Britain, imo!

But yes, things have changed. My views on accent are a little old fashioned, and I did simplify my point for the sake of example; and as you say,

No-one speaks quite like that anymore

– although for myself, if someone had a mostly RP accent with only a hint here and there of a regional accent, I'd consider that RP enough to be called "standard".

Anyway. Thanks again to everyone who answered my actual questions – you've helped me immensely and I'm incredibly grateful.

As for the rest, I'm astounded that was what essentially a straightforward question has deteriorated not even into a pleasant debate, but a pointless and off-topic argument about accents. Jon and Pam, I don't mind your responses, because you disagreed, but you were polite about it; but to reply to someone's post, and not in any way respond to their original question, but simply nit-pick in an ill-natured, surly manner, is incredibly rude. But I suppose you always get one, don't you? That's the internet for you.
teflcat 5 | 1,027
15 Aug 2012 #97
I seriously doubt you're middle class at all

Did I say I was?

we English say "cotton buds", not "Q-tips".

You sound like a snob to me.
Believe what you like. You grossly over-simplified a linguistic point. My response was aggressive, I admit, because people who don't know better might believe you, and I wanted to counter your assertion.

I'm especially surprised to hear something so base and childish from someone of your age.

You must lead a very sheltered life. How old are you?

I have a friend from Tyneside who has the same RP accent as myself, and the same again as some friends of mine who live in Southampton, and the same again as some friends who live in Manchester. It's not quite as rare as you seem to think; although I believe it is much more common among the upper-middle class like myself

Your circle of friends must be tiny.

surly

Perhaps you think that I should know my place, your ladyship.
jon357 75 | 22,596
15 Aug 2012 #98
This thread put me in mind of an old lady who lived in the village I grew up in. She was at least middle class - perhaps even 'county' and was the widow of the area's largest farmer. She lived in quite a grand house built by her husband's family in the Eighteenth Century, came from money herself, was very articulate and cultured however someone from the home counties might just hear a Yorkshire accent and make a very incorrect assumtion about her.

I suspect there are/were quite a few people like that in Poland. People whose vowel sounds are similar to those around them, but speak in a different register.
AlliCari 1 | 9
15 Aug 2012 #99
You sound like a snob to me.

Takes one to know one. You're obviously one of those reverse-snobbery types, who take pride in looking down on others of a different class.

You grossly over-simplified a linguistic point. My response was aggressive, I admit, because people who don't know better might believe you, and I wanted to counter your assertion.

Well, what a good job we have you, self-appointed Protector of the English Language! What a shame you didn't at least see fit to even attempt to answer my question in your surly reply, but that's no surprise, really – those who can, do. Those who can't, criticise.

And if you'd wanted to "counter my assertion", it was easy to do without being aggressive, as Pam and Jon demonstrated. You might want to try it sometime.

You must lead a very sheltered life. How old are you?

Not sheltered, I just mix with people who have a sense of decorum – and most people your age have. How old am I? Old enough to behave like an adult. You should too.

Your circle of friends must be tiny.

Take note, I didn't say they were my only friends. I also have lots of other friends, many of whom are working class and/or have regional accents. These were just the only friends relevant to this discussion.

Perhaps you think that I should know my place, your ladyship.

How terribly original. Leave it to a reverse snob to behave badly and then claim the only reason a problem's arisen is because the "nobles" look down on him. You might want to analyse your behaviour next time instead of hiding behind class struggle.

You could easily have disagreed with my post politely, but instead you went out of your way to be rude. Maybe the anonymity of the Internet makes you feel tough, I don't know. I came here with good intentions simply looking to learn, and you started all this.

Then again, this is my fault, really. Never feed the trolls.

jon -- I do agree with you, and I did say that a) I was simplifying, and b) there were exceptions. I just wanted to ask about class and accents in Poland, and I only put in the bit about English accents to demonstrate what I was trying to say. And certainly, in my experience, the middle class people that I know generally don't have regional accents, the working class people I know do. But of course, there are many, many exceptions.
teflcat 5 | 1,027
15 Aug 2012 #100
Takes one to know one

I haven't heard that line of reasoning since I was about six.

You're obviously one of those reverse-snobbery types, who take pride in looking down on others of a different class.

Just shows how wrong you can be, then. For me social class is irrelevant.

Well, what a good job we have you, self-appointed Protector of the English Language!

How did you arrive at that idea? I merely want to point out that regional accents exist, even among what you term the middle classes.

What a shame you didn't at least see fit to even attempt to answer my question in your surly reply, but that's no surprise, really – those who can, do. Those who can't, criticise.

I am not qualified to comment on Polish accents. I am, however, somewhat qualified to comment on English.

How terribly original. Leave it to a reverse snob to behave badly and then claim the only reason a problem's arisen is because the "nobles" look down on him.

I see nothing noble in your comments. If people look down on me, that's their problem; I have no self-esteem deficit, I can assure you.

you started all this

I challenged your assertion. Anyway, I'll let you have the no doubt withering Parthian shot. Subject closed as far as I'm concerned.
Ziemowit 14 | 4,229
15 Aug 2012 #101
Accents in Poland - a very difficult questions. The differences are not in the least as great as in England. Regional differences exist, but they are rather tiny. A Polish person would say "głos ludu" except for a Kraków person who would make the final consonant in głos voiced and pronounce it: "głoz ludu". Also, people from Kraków have this tendency to soften certain consonants in certain positions, for example, they would say something like sukieńka (a sound somewhat resembling the English "ng" in the -ing ending) rather than sukienka.

Differences in words often denote people from different regions. The most known one in Poland is perhaps the expression "na polu" which in the lips of a Krakauer would mean "outside the building" while for the rest of the country it will mean "on/in the field" and make them all laugh a lot at the way the typical Krakauer speaks when pointing to something which is situated à l'exterieur de la maison (the all-national version for that being "na dworzu/na dworze").
AlliCari 1 | 9
15 Aug 2012 #102
Ziemowit – thank you so much for that; that was really interesting. I notice on your profile page that for city, you've listed Warsaw – is there anything particular you can think of that someone from Warsaw might say that would mark them out as being from Warsaw?

Thanks so much again for your help. :)
boletus 30 | 1,361
15 Aug 2012 #103
Podhale (piedmont, literally: under the mountain meadows) dialect belongs to the dialects of Małopolska (Lesser Poland) mountain belt (see Małopolski dialect), which also includes: Spisz dialect in the east and Orawa and South-Żywiec dialects in the west. Podhale dialect is inherently variable, due to the size of the region (about 50 localities).

See the attached map outlining the extent of Podhale region.

To get some ideas what it is all about ,do this:
Open the following page (in Polish), gwarypolskie.uw.edu.pl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=442&Itemid=43,
then follow the 16 properties of that dialect outlined there, keyed into this rough English explanation below. The little green triangles inside green squares invoke samples of speech, which characterize some of those 16 main properties listed.

1. "Mazurzenie" - pronounciation of consonants [sz cz ż dż] as [s c z dz]

2. Voiced inter-word phonetics - voicless consonants at the end of the first word become voiced if the second words starts with one of [r l ł m n]

3. Slanted vowels, continuation of ancient long vowels (as in Czech)
3.1 Slanted "a", a sound between "a" and "o". Dying sound, younger generation replace it by "o"
3.2 Slanted "o", a sound between "o" and "u"
3.3 Slanted "e", equivalent to vowel "y"

4. Nasal vowels (too complex to explain here ...)

5. Protetic vowels
a. Labialization
b. Aspiration
c. Pre-jotation (from Latin pre + jota) - inserting "j" in from of vowels in aspiration

6. Transition of suffix -ch to -k

7. Podhalan archaisms

8. transition of -ch to -k in numerals

9. Keeping old front-tongue £ (dark L), rare - mostly elder people

10. Keeping old "i" after the fricative "r", similar to Czech ři

11. Transition of -ił and -ył to -uł

12. Lack of transition e ==> o in front of consonants [t s] (as opposed to standard Polish)

13. Keeping the feminine suffix -e in dative

14. Morpheme -t- in passive participles, based on the roots of the past tense ending in slanted "a"

15. Frequent occurrence of suffixes -acka and -ba, forming names of actions

16. Initial stress (first syllable)

Now listen to the performance of "Siklawa" band from that region. "Mazurzenie" and the initial stress aside - the most striking features (at least for me) are the slanted vowels (outlined at point 3 above) as pronounced by sisters Danuta and Małgorzata Szeliga. Try the phrase "Takiegó Janicka serduskó by chciałó". Do you hear the o-u sounds, which I marked as ó?




  • Podhale region
jon357 75 | 22,596
15 Aug 2012 #104
someone from Warsaw

One problem with this is that there is a discontinuity between pre and post-war Warsaw. So many of the people were killed - at least two-thirds and many others left. Most of the people there now were either brought in from smaller towns and villages in the 1950s, 60s and 70s or are descended from people who were. And of course people move to the capital from all over the country because of their work. The result is a kind of Estuary Polish.

An old Warsaw resident told me that the pre-war Warsaw accent was quite sibilant - lots of sh and ch. I've met elderly people who've spent their entire lives there, even through the Uprising and the massacres that followed but I can't say I've noticed that. People's accents can change with time and exposure to others.

There used to be a programme on Polish television that showed fragments of pre-war films with a commentary. Most of the actors were of course cultured so perhaps their accents weren't typical.The accent was very different from today's - closer to that of educated bourgeois elderly people I know who came from Vilnius, Grodno etc.
Ziemowit 14 | 4,229
15 Aug 2012 #105
is there anything particular you can think of that someone from Warsaw might say that would mark them out as being from Warsaw?

Not really. One distinct feature that was once often mocked of by people from the rest of the country was pronouncing the i after the L in a slightly different manner than the standard pronounciation would make, in a way that made people from outside Warsaw hearing them pronouncing y rather than i. Of course, this difference wasn't as great, but more much more subtle, nevertheless it led people from outside the capital to imitate a person from Warsaw as saying "stolyca" rather than "stolica" ["capital" in Polish]. I have very rarely come across that pronounciation myself, so my astonishment was truly great when I heard it in the TV advertisment of the biggest Polish bank, Powszechna Kasa Oszczędności (PKO) just a few days ago. The chap who praises the PKO for its different merits in the advertisment (not a young voice) does speak like that! But it's not that obvious as it may seem and foreign people as well as some Polish people might not get it. The first impression of mine was: hey, there is something really peculiar in the way he speaks, and it was not until I had analysed what I heard more thoroughly that I discovered what the specific feature of his speech that made him sound "peculiar" was.
boletus 30 | 1,361
15 Aug 2012 #106
saying "stolyca" rather than "stolica"

This comes from Mazovian dialect:
+ Platalization of [ke ge] => pronounced as [kie gie]: nogie, rękie
+ No palatalization after l, li => ly : lytr, lysa, lymuzyna
+ -mi ==> -my in plural instrumental

The funniest part was the ke, ke deal. In 19th c. two language schools appeared; both proposing standardization of Polish orthography. Among many other issues the Warsaw's school insisted on kie-, gie- prefixes, as in kielner, gienerał and gieografja; the Kraków's school on ke-, ge- prefixes: kelner, generał, geografia. Both sides barricaded themselves and none of numerous committees, meetings and conferences could solve the issue for the next 65 years, until 1954/56.
AlliCari 1 | 9
16 Aug 2012 #107
boletus, jon357, Ziemowit -- you three are absolute angels. Thank you so much.
carolgreen943 2 | 5
16 Aug 2012 #108
Poland except for a couple of areas

btw there are areas in Poland (and vast ones) that don;t have any regional accent where all younger generations speak standard Polish
Mieszka - | 6
31 Dec 2013 #109
Merged: Accents within Poland?

I live in America and some of my Polish friends say that I have a Silesian accent when I speak in Polish. I don't think that I have an accent, but they say I do. Has anyone else encountered something similar?
Wulkan - | 3,172
31 Dec 2013 #110
so are you gonna tell us where did you live in Poland?
jon357 75 | 22,596
31 Dec 2013 #112
Has anyone else encountered something similar?

Yes. Apparently I have a bit of a Mazowsze accent.

Poznan, Podlasie, Krakow and Slask are fairly easily recognisable.
Mieszka - | 6
1 Jan 2014 #113
What makes a Slask accent sound Slask? I don't hear a difference.
Wulkan - | 3,172
1 Jan 2014 #114
male driving instructor has a heavy slask accent
Pokrzywa - | 1
1 Jan 2014 #115
The vowels are 'darker' or 'less open' in Silesian accents.
jon357 75 | 22,596
1 Jan 2014 #116
When people from some parts of Silesia speak English at a good level, their accent can be bit like a Colorado one - think South Park.
Mieszka - | 6
1 Jan 2014 #117
What does darker/less open mean?
jon357 75 | 22,596
1 Jan 2014 #118
Exactly what it suggests.
Mieszka - | 6
1 Jan 2014 #119
But it doesn't suggest anything to me
jon357 75 | 22,596
1 Jan 2014 #120
Really? Try here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_vowel


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