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The shame! I can't pronounce my Polish wife's name (Ola)


jasondmzk
16 Feb 2012  #1
It's Ola. I know. Sad, but true. I say it like the "o" in "boat". It drives her nuts. My Polish isn't all that terrible, either. I can understand and read it fairly proficiently, but I just can't wrap my lips around the phonemes. Her last name is the same as her father and stepmother, both of whom are media personalities, so I won't print their surname, but suffice it to say I can't say it, either. What's the closest approximation in English to the "O" in Ola? Please help!
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Feb 2012  #2
it would be Spanish: Ola- Hello.
Wedle 16 | 496
16 Feb 2012  #3
I say it like the "o" in "boat". It drives her nuts. My

You must be an American, Ola is very easy as Polish names go.You will have fun when you meet uncle ' CZESLAW ' or aunty ' GENOWEFA '... Time for Polish lessons, my boy!
OP jasondmzk
16 Feb 2012  #4
You must be an American

Yup.

Time for Polish lessons

I've got the vocabulary, and the grammar is almost there, but I suck the second the words leave my brain and pass my lips. The best help I've had, is using the Polish voice-recognition on my phone. If it doesn't know what I'm saying, I know it's a word I need to practice. Which... is all of them.
Wedle 16 | 496
16 Feb 2012  #5
but I suck the second the words leave my brain and pass my lips

If you are looking for a school, try this one: iko.com.pl/contact.html most diplomats and business people use this school. As Aphro previously mentioned, listen to Ola (hello in Spanish) and you will master ' Ola ' Good luck with it all.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Feb 2012  #6
listen to Ola (hello in Spanish) and you will master ' Ola ' Good luck with it all.

that should have been Hola to be precise:)
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
16 Feb 2012  #7
what is wrong with O as in 'hot'? Its not that hard surely?
OP jasondmzk
16 Feb 2012  #8
that should have been Hola

My Spanish pronunciation is terrible, as well. Sadly, I've been speaking Spanish long before I ever dreamed I'd need to know Polish. I love how each syllable is like a quarter-note of music. But I digress.

what is wrong with O as in 'hot'?

But then it sounds like I'm calling her "Allah". Can that be right?
pip 10 | 1,661
16 Feb 2012  #9
Oh la.
say it without the break
If you have a funky American accent it is going to sound funny no matter what you say. much like speaking Polish with a British accent.
OP jasondmzk
16 Feb 2012  #10
Oh la.

Whenever I say her name like this, or what I THINK is like this, she looks at me the same way she does when I say ANYTHING in Polish: Like she simultaneously heard something funny AND smelled something bad.
Wroclaw Boy
16 Feb 2012  #11
youtu.be/4aXIFFaWNjM
pip 10 | 1,661
16 Feb 2012  #12
don't sweat it. you will always pronounce things differently. maybe she just likes the way you say it. I live and work here- I speak Polish but everybody knows that I am a foreigner. People appreciate that I do speak it and that is all that I can hope for because this language is a bit of a nightmare.
OP jasondmzk
16 Feb 2012  #13
this language is a bit of a nightmare

Amen. Thank you, all of you, for your help.
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 Feb 2012  #14
What's the closest approximation in English to the "O" in Ola? Please help!
//-->

what a stupid concept, what is the most popular sport in England? football or footboul? you evidently dont say footboul do you?
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #15
football or footboul? you evidently dont say footboul do you?

The vowel sound in football, door, whore and law is one that I've never really heard a Polish person get right. That sound doesn't exist in Polish. The OP needs to get someone to model the pronunciation and repeat until the sounds comes out right. Only practise will do it..
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 Feb 2012  #16
yes it does, its "o" and its the begining of the word Ola like "o" in football
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #17
No it doesn't! Ball isn't pronounced 'bol'. It is the same sound as 'law' which doesn't exist in Polish. If the OP use that sound for the 'O' in 'Ola', it would sound like the English way of pronouncing 'Orla' as in Orla Guerin.
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 Feb 2012  #18
it would sound like the English way of pronouncing 'Orla' as in Orla Guerin.

what r u talking about there is no 'r' in ball or door why 'orla' lol
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #19
What am I talking about? Something I know about, though it seems you don't.

There isn't an 'r' sound in the name 'Orla'. The written 'r' isn't vocalised except in certain accents. The IPA phonetic sign for the sound in 'Orla', 'ball', 'law' and 'door' is /ɔː/. The sign is diacritised with a colon because it is a long vowel. That sound doesn't occur in Polish. The sound of the 'O' on 'Ola is /ɒ/. It is a short vowel, not geminated.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Feb 2012  #20
The sound of the 'O' on 'Ola is /ɒ/. It is a short vowel, not geminated.

true
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 Feb 2012  #21
There isn't an 'r' sound in the name 'Orla'.

I know it's a long sound but whats the problem to say this sound short instead of long?
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #22
Because that would be a different sound, different word, different language.
Wulkan - | 3,251
16 Feb 2012  #23
Im asking is it a problem to a native English speaker to say it short instead? cause for my girlfriend and her female friend (both English) is not a problem
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #24
Im asking is it a problem to a native English speaker to say it short instead?

Yes. It is wrong.

my girlfriend and her female friend (both English) is not a problem

They either a) are trying to be nice or b) like your exotic accent.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444
16 Feb 2012  #25
They either a) are trying to be nice or b) like your exotic accent.

or they are not former English teachers;)
pip 10 | 1,661
16 Feb 2012  #26
who cares if it is wrong. Most Poles are just happy that foreigners make an effort and don't mind the mistakes.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #27
The thread is about pronouncing his wife's name. Something that is well worth getting absolutely right.
pip 10 | 1,661
16 Feb 2012  #28
don't be silly- obviously she is already married to him, as if she gives a rats. It is icing on the cake at this point.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
16 Feb 2012  #29
And that's why he's asking. And why your comment that the OP's question doesn't matter rather missed the point.
pip 10 | 1,661
16 Feb 2012  #30
no it didn't. it answered the question


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