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déjà vu in Polish


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
11 Oct 2010 #1
Have you ever noticed the way many native Poles pronounce certain French terms in general circulation. One example is déjà vu (literally: alłready seen, meaning something obvious, old hat). They usually say dejża (that's OK) wi (English: vee).

Americans also to the specific French sound vu.
Even more common are words ending in -é. Poles treat it like the short 'e' in Englihs let and for café say kaFE, rather than something closer to kaFYJ. Also beauté comes out sounding like boTE and coup d'état like kudeTA.

This applies to otehr languages like German Kohl (is kol but should be kołl) and Bahnhoh (is banhof but should be banhołf). I won't even touch English because that is a real minefield.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
11 Oct 2010 #2
Maybe some of the phonetics are ambiguous but

coup d'état like kudeTA

That looks pretty much correct to me.

Mind you, Americans tend to pronounce femme as FEM which is wrong so I wouldn't throw too many stones ; )
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
11 Oct 2010 #3
kudejTA would be closer. Of coruse Americans are not in general good at languages, except those with stronger ethnic (Italian, Polish, Hispanic, etc.) ties.
Marynka11 4 | 676
5 Nov 2010 #4
Polish, unlike German and English does not have long vowels. If you did not practice enough foreign languages you will not have the ability to pronounce them, or even notice them. I become aware of that after taking phonetics classes, and once I started working on my long vowels my accent in German and Polish decreased.

And I think that is the problem here. They just pronounce the vowels too short.
Bzibzioh
5 Nov 2010 #5
I always have a laugh when ppl are trying to say trompe-l'œil, (French for 'deceive the eye'). It's always comical no matter who does that :)
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
5 Nov 2010 #6
"et cetera" is often pronounced "ex cetera" for some reason...
Teffle 22 | 1,321
5 Nov 2010 #7
By many English speakers too!
alexw68
5 Nov 2010 #8
coup d'état

kudejTA would be closer

Polish, unlike German and English does not have long vowels.

Nor French, unless it's a diphthong. English attempts to pronounce French (historically lamentable, wonder why :)) also do that é-aigu = /ei/ thing, but that's not really how it sounds in practice.

é-aigu in French is somewhere between polish /e/ and /y/ - it's still short though.
è-grave and 'ai' (as in je n'hesitais jamais) are closest to the ę in chcę when it ISN'T nasalised and rounded off - ie in connected, informal speech.

Ah yes, the French nasals - malin, marrant, verront, etc. Big prob for even university level Polish speakers of French as they so often get turned into rounded ę, ą. (Not that us Brits are any better - we tend to render them all as the same adenoidal honk)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
5 Nov 2010 #9
we tend to render them all as the same adenoidal honk

LOL - well put!
alexw68
5 Nov 2010 #10
Cheers - anyway, to return to the OP example of /wi/ for vu.

This is because Polish (and just about all other Euro languages I think) doesn't have differentiation between the /ou/ of vous, toujours etc (done with the lips pushed forward) and the raised, /u/ of vu, aigu, utile, etc articulated somewhere behind the teeth in a manner quite similar to /i/ (try it). The Polish ear hears the latter similarity.

Sorry, phonologists, if my jargon's a bit crap, it's been 15 years :)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
5 Nov 2010 #11
Poles tend to have trouble with the English vowels sounds e.g. differentiating between not, nut and note for example, so I would imagine French presents even more problems.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
5 Nov 2010 #12
Is trą-POJ about right?
alexw68
5 Nov 2010 #13
For what? tromper?
jwojcie 2 | 763
5 Nov 2010 #14
Not exactly on topic, but there is nice Polish comedy from 1988 called Deja Vu:
..
Mr Grunwald 33 | 2,156
5 Nov 2010 #15
coup d'état

I allays say Kuup De etat, is that correct or?
Marynka11 4 | 676
6 Nov 2010 #16
Why do we worry about Polish butchering French. Listening to French speaking English is much more fun.
smigly wilno
6 Nov 2010 #17
Up to his death, my father, born and raised in Poland, never spoke English very well. Being the father of 3, he had more than enough worries trying to provide for us.

If he had had the resources to learn proper English pronunciation and syntax, the man would have been a great teacher. He had the patience and wisdom to convey even the most complex ideas.

I kick myself every day for not learning Polish. I just imagine the conversations we could have had.
musicwriter 5 | 87
6 Dec 2010 #18
When my mom was still living she would use the word 'wej' as an interjection in English, usually as a response to a 'dumb' question like "Mom, why is busia's hair white"? She would answer "Wej, because busia is very old".

I'm not sure if that is a Polish word or a loan word from another language. What say you?
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
6 Dec 2010 #19
skysoulmate:
"et cetera" is often pronounced "ex cetera" for some reason...

By many English speakers too!

That's what I meant. Here in America, especially in the "black" vernacular.

When my mom was still living she would use the word 'wej' as an interjection in English, usually as a response to a 'dumb' question like "Mom, why is busia's hair white"? She would answer "Wej, because busia is very old".

Here we go again, another prophet of the moronic and non-existent word busia. It's called babcia, babusia, etc. Never busia. There must be 20 threads here on this fake word...
landora - | 199
6 Dec 2010 #20
Poles might not be too good in pronouncing French, but English are terrible as well. Ask any French person what they think about it :D

Speaking of pronunciation, have you ever heard any English native speaker trying to use Latin?? Oh, the horror!

Even relatively simple Pinus is commonly pronounced as "pajnus". :D
scottie1113 7 | 898
6 Dec 2010 #21
Cheers - anyway, to return to the OP example of /wi/ for vu.

This is because Polish (and just about all other Euro languages I think) doesn't have differentiation between the /ou/ of vous, toujours etc (done with the lips pushed forward) and the raised, /u/ of vu, aigu, utile, etc articulated somewhere behind the teeth in a manner quite similar to /i/ (try it). The Polish ear hears the latter similarity.

All my students who mispronounce vu tell me that's how they were taught in their French classes in high school. One even argued a little about it, even though she knew that mu uni degree is in French and my spoken French is excellent, although these days it's a little rusty from lack of use.
mafketis 32 | 10,506
6 Dec 2010 #22
Well French sounds don't go gracefully into Polish which doesn't distinguish between 'open' and 'closed' vowels (nb French é =/= ej) and doesn't have any front rounded vowels.

Essentially the French u sounds like ju or u to Americans and like i to Polish speakers.

The same thing happens with menu (meni or meny I'm not sure which) and jury (żyri or żiri ditto).
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
7 Dec 2010 #23
alexw68
for trompe-l'œil


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