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Do the Polish words for 'please' and 'piglet' sound very similar?


InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
24 Mar 2012 #1
Apparently, a foreigner such as myself could mean to say 'please' in Polish, but it could sound like the Polish word for 'piglet' if care is not taken. True or a wind-up? On the audio Google translate, the words sound sufficiently different for a foreigner to not make that mistake.
Zman
24 Mar 2012 #2
Did you make such a mistake yourself? :)

Answer: True

Proszę - Please
Prosię - Piglet

To a polish ear the difference is quite easy to discern the difference. To foreigners (especially if not slavic) - it has to be learned.

However, it's not like you would not be understood if you say "prosię" when buying chewing gum or what not. Perhaps you will get an extra smile from whoever is selling it :)
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
24 Mar 2012 #3
Did you make such a mistake yourself? :)

Nearly! Anyway, thank you Zman.

On Google, it says the Polish word for piglet is "Prosiaczek"

So I am still confused on this.

Actually, listening to the Google audio for Proszę and Prosię, I think I have been saying piglet!
translate.google.com/#pl|en|Prosi%C4%99%0D%0AProsz%C4%99%0D%0A

Is it any wonder no one likes me in Poland!

It seems that Proszę (please), the end of the word sound changes - and in English phonetics becomes a weak version of the phonic "ow" - sort of similar to the sound in the English word "owl"

If anyone can better describe the sound, go ahead
Lyzko
24 Mar 2012 #4
Sort of like the difference between 'Bóg' vs.'buk', or 'czy' vs. trzy' etc.. for Poles as opposed to non-Poles? Is that a fair analogy?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
24 Mar 2012 #5
I think I have been saying piglet!

learn the difference. then you'll know when Poles are taking the piss out of you.
mafketis 23 | 7,803
24 Mar 2012 #6
Sort of like the difference between 'Bóg' vs.'buk', or 'czy' vs. trzy' etc.. for Poles as opposed to non-Poles? Is that a fair analogy?

The first two are homonyms in modern standard Polish. The second two can and often are distinguished but many Poles don't pronounce them differently in rapid casual speech.

prosiaczek is a diminutive form of piglet (piggy? piggly?)

If a foreigner says prosię then locals realize they're trying to say proszę.

Learn how to pronounce them (the tongue is flatter and the lips are spread more for prosię and the tongue is more pointed and the lips are more rounded for proszę but don't worry about trying to hear the difference (especially in real time).
Zman
24 Mar 2012 #7
Prosię - a basic noun to describe a piglet
Prosiak - another noun to describe the same (a bit diminutive).
Prosiaczek - another noun to describe the same (totally diminutive)
catsoldier 62 | 596
24 Mar 2012 #8
Actually, listening to the Google audio for Proszę and Prosię, I think I have been saying piglet!

thanks for the information and the link, I never knew that existed.

Does she miss the p sound at the start of przepraszam?

translate.google.com/#pl|en|przepraszam

I was testing her.

Hi InWroclaw, have you ever tried Polish voice recognition software to see if it can pick up what you are saying? I am interested and am wondering if it is any good.

Thanks.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
24 Mar 2012 #9
Does she miss the p sound at the start of przepraszam?

Yes, can't hear it in that audio clip. Has she taken the p?

Hi InWroclaw, have you ever tried Polish voice recognition software to see if it can pick up what you are saying? I am interested and am wondering if it is any good.

No, that's a good idea though

learn the difference. then you'll know when Poles are taking the **** out of you.

lol

Prosię - a basic noun to describe a piglet

Thanks for that, I was wondering what that was about
Ziutek 9 | 160
24 Mar 2012 #10
The different pronunciations of ę on Google translate are unrelated to the difference between "sz' and 'si". In "proszę" the tip of the tongue should be rolled up to touch the top of the mouth - in "prosię" the tip should be pointing downwards and the middle of the tongue lifted. By "should" I mean that's what I do with apparently acceptable results!

As far as the final ę is concerned, standard pronunciation is now like "e". The sound on Google for "Proszę" is considered old-fashioned or regional.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
24 Mar 2012 #11
Ah, so the Google audio of the Polish word for please is some sort of textbook speak from the past? Well, don't you agree then that the majority of Poles also seem to be saying piglet?! No wonder I am learning bad speaking habits, they're perhaps just not clear enough in their elocution and I'm picking up the Polish equivalent of estuary English!
Zman
24 Mar 2012 #12
I think Ziutek may have confused you a little.... pronunciation of sz vs. si is totally a different animal than ę vs. e. It is true that in everyday speech Prosię is pronounced prosie and likewise Proszę is pronounced: prosze. But the stage pronunciation is with ę! Every Pole will pick up if you mispronounce sz vs. si, however.
Lyzko
24 Mar 2012 #13
Nasals "ę" an "ą" are typically slurred over royally in everyday speech. Even I tend to blur their distinction, unless of course I'm over-pronouncing them for a non-Pole to hear this (albeit academic) distinction.

Certain consonant combos cause no end grief for beginners, especially us Yanks, e.g. "świat", "wszechświat" etc.
catsoldier 62 | 596
24 Mar 2012 #14
this video seems to be good, you can distinguish the different sounds

youtu.be/aJI6JDAxUd4

dżownica is spelt as dżdżownica in the video
strzyga 2 | 993
24 Mar 2012 #15
dżownica is spelt as dżdżownica in the video

because it is dżdżownica, with double "dż"
Zazulka 3 | 129
24 Mar 2012 #16
dżownica is spelt as dżdżownica in the video

The spelling with a double dż is correct.
gumishu 11 | 5,127
24 Mar 2012 #17
Nasals "ę" an "ą" are typically slurred over royally in everyday speech.

it's not true mostly - otherwise Polish people could not hear the difference between 'mąka' and 'męka' - (flour, ordeal) - so it's not an academic distinction - maybe you meant situations where nasals lose their nasality (like at the end of the words) in every day speech
catsoldier 62 | 596
24 Mar 2012 #18
The spelling with a double dż is correct

You are correct as usual :-). Is it pronounced with one or 2 dż sounds?

thanks
mafketis 23 | 7,803
24 Mar 2012 #19
Is it pronounced with one or 2 dż sounds?

With two, both dż's are clearly audible.
OP InWroclaw 89 | 1,915
24 Mar 2012 #20
Thank you everyone for the tips!
Ziutek 9 | 160
24 Mar 2012 #21
Every Pole will pick up if you mispronounce sz vs. si, however.

Yes - that's what I meant.
a.k.
24 Mar 2012 #22
True or a wind-up

Actually most English speakers pronounce something between sz and si.

The second two can and often are distinguished but many Poles don't pronounce them differently in rapid casual speech.

Do you live in Cracow maybe? ;)

Ah, so the Google audio of the Polish word for please is some sort of textbook speak from the past?

I would say more like actor's speech. However she pronounce it too clearly, no Pole would put so much efford in one word as she does ;)

Nasals "ę" an "ą" are typically slurred over royally in everyday speech. Even I tend to blur their distinction, unless of course I'm over-pronouncing them for a non-Pole to hear this (albeit academic) distinction.

And that's how it should be pronounced - a bit slurred way (I mean ę at the end of word)

Does she miss the p sound at the start of przepraszam?

No, she clearly says p. However I must pick on the way she accents this words, she should not pronounce the accented syllable so long.

don't you agree then that the majority of Poles also seem to be saying piglet?!

Definitely no. Between si and sz the difference is clear for a Polish ear.
The same way as Pole can have a problem to distinguish between some English sounds, you as an English speaker can have problem with distinguish some Polish sounds. You are not the first one to have problems with si and sz (in English you have sh which is a sound between si and sz), or p before rz (which is pronounced as sz after p). Both difficulties are common among English speakers.
Lyzko
26 Mar 2012 #23
Gumishu, I was referring only to "ą" and "ę" in FINAL, rather than initial or medial, position!
Thanks for the clarification:-)
Schmokes - | 3
1 Apr 2012 #24
As if the language couldn't get any more confusing. I'll stick with trying to learn the impossibly difficult German for now.


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