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"zi" as "zee", "si" as "see" , "RZ" as R Z.. etc in Polish language


H2N
11 Sep 2019 #1
Hello dear polish people!

I just wonder, when and where you actualy say "zi" as "zee", "si" as "see", and do you ever have the pronounciation of "rz" as r and z individualy? I never heard any of those since i started to learn polish. Is there a word that contains RZ and sound like american (or latin) sound pronounciation?

I am learning polish for about half an year now and i still have trouble seeing "rz" as a single letter, i always see r andz individualy, but i'm getting used to it. It's a pleasure to learn polish, anyhow.

What i also noticed is that you dont really use the letterf. How hard are the uses of those letters to you as if spoken in other languages? Do you still find it hard like we do in Polish? Thank you!
Bezimienny
11 Sep 2019 #2
Singapur, singiel(ka) among others pronounced like "see". Zamarzać pronounced like rolled r + z like zigzag (I think also zamarznąć, and maybe a few others). I'm pretty sure I've seen an infinitive or two that ends in suffix -rzić, and pronounced like rolled r + ź. Zi pronounced like "zee" only if Z is prefix (mainly onto infinitives).

Zidentyfikować is pronounced like Zee, because Z is a prefix added onto the infinitive Identyfikować

Oops LOL my bad, my username is also zi, because the prefix Bez + Imienny
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
11 Sep 2019 #3
The combination of "zi" or "z +'high' vowel" is never pronounced like a straightforward English "z-sound"! The tongue should be touching slightly the lower palate, creating a sound somewhere between an English "z" and almost a "zh" in words such as "plea-SUre" etc.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,204
11 Sep 2019 #4
"si" as "see",

'Silos', for example. In good dictionaries you will find this pronounciation especially marked, for example as s-i.

I'm pretty sure I've seen an infinitive or two that ends in suffix -rzić, and pronounced like rolled r + ź.

Mierzić

Zamarzać pronounced like rolled r + z

A very good example.

like zigzag

The Polish spelling is 'zygzag'.
Bezimienny
11 Sep 2019 #5
The combination of "zi" or "z +'high' vowel" is never pronounced like a straightforward English "z-sound"

"Zee" pronunciation is only when prefixes bez-, roz- and z- modify a word beginning with I. The prefix bez- modifies mostly adjectives, adverbs, and nouns derived from such adjectives/adverbs (including my username "Bezimienny", which is an adjective prefixed with bez-) . The prefixes roz- and z- modify mainly infinitives and also adjectives, adverbs, and nouns derived from such infinitives. Zee is also words of non-Polish origin, if that's how the word is pronounced in the other country's language.

"See" pronunciation is mainly words of non-Polish origin. Another such word I had forgotten to include is "Sinus"

I had also forgotten to mention that sometimes dzi/dź/dż in spelling is pronounced as separate "d + ź" and "d + ż", due to prefixes nad-, od-, pod-, przed-, and śród- modifying words beginning with zi/ź/ż. But beware, there are also prefixes na-, o-, po-, and prze- modifying words beginning with dzi/dź/dż. The prefixes na(d)-, o(d)-, po(d)-, and prze(d)- are prefixed onto mostly infinitives and also adjectives, adverbs, and nouns derived from infinitives. The prefix śród- onto mostly adjectives and nouns. Plus also suffixes -ż/-że modifying words ending with d, therefore the suffixed ending pronounced as separate "d + ż(e)" instead of "dż(e)"
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
11 Sep 2019 #6
However, in "beZ", much the same for "roZ", the placement in the first word, plus the fact that "o" is a low vowel in the second, will naturally alter how the "z" is pronounced in those instances:-)

Take the word "ziemia". Once more, the pronounciation of the "z" will be audibly different from, say. "zegarz" or "zalew" and the like.
mafketis 24 | 8,817
11 Sep 2019 #7
However, in "beZ",

If bez is used as a prefix before i then the z and i sounds are separate so bezimienny (nameless) the z isn't palatalized
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
11 Sep 2019 #8
Yes, you're right. Of course, how careless of me:-)
ThanksLOL
OP H2N
11 Sep 2019 #9
Thank you all!
This anyway, although clarified, proved me that polish is still more complicated than i thought... :p
Bezimienny
11 Sep 2019 #10
Ziemia is not Z- prefixed onto iemia, and therefore it's pronounced as " ź + emia". If it was Z- prefixed onto iemia, then and only then it may be pronounced as "zee + emia". Several infinitives beginning with I are sometimes prefixed with Z-, one example is Identyfikować/Zidentyfikować, the prefixed of which is therefore pronounced "zee + dentyfikować" and not " ź + eedentyfikować". Same goes for adjectives/adverbs modified by the prefix Bez-. My username is an adjective beginning with I, prefixed by Bez-, and is therefore pronounced "Bez + eemienny" and not "Beź + eemienny"
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
11 Sep 2019 #11
Precisely my point, Bezimienny!

"Zi-" is pronounced like "z" with an acute accent above the "z".
:-)
Ziemowit 13 | 4,204
11 Sep 2019 #12
'Zi' is just a graphem for 'ź' (soft z) used when a vowel follows it. Otherwise, it is spelled 'ź'. If our ancestors were a bit cleverer, they would have introduced a more accurate transcription before the vowel, such as: źemia, źelony, źimny or przeźerać.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
11 Sep 2019 #13
No brainer! Can't argue with ya there, dude:-)
It's what I've been posting all along.
Bezimienny
11 Sep 2019 #14
'Zi' is just a graphem for 'ź' (soft z) used when a vowel follows it

I have some admittedly silly questions, my apologies. I've never seen the letter combination "iy" in Polish, and so I'm assuming it's nonexistent (both in spelling and pronunciation)? Therefore no ciy, dzi, niy, siy, and ziy (spelling), and no ćy, dźy, ńy, śy, and źy (spelling & pronunciation)? Also, are those same accented consonants (except ń) ever spelled/pronounced before letter ł? They all seem to be spelled/pronounced before letter L instead of Ł, and ś/ź spelled/pronounced before only ń/ni instead of "regular n". I've also never seen accented letters (except ó) spelled/pronounced before letter j, and never seen cii, dzii, jii, sii, and zii (I've only seen ii spelled at end of only words of non-Polish origin). I'm almost 100% sure?
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
11 Sep 2019 #15
Correct.

Transliterations of graphemes (lit. "sound pictures") from one language to another are always going to be slightly confusing, particularly to a learner such as yourself because no two languages are pronounced identically, right?

Words of non-Polish origin aren't always "polonized", but often written as they would be in the original language, especially non-European words with different phonemic quality, say, from Chinese and such.

When learning Polish, it's best to learn the phonetics as they're written in the original, not to transcribe them as you might read and pronounce them in your native language:-) You'll only end up getting even more confused!
Ziemowit 13 | 4,204
12 Sep 2019 #16
Therefore no ciy, dzi, niy, siy, and ziy (spelling), and no ćy, dźy, ńy, śy, and źy (spelling & pronunciation)?

I think you've never grasped the concept of softness in Polish properly, so you ask all those rather silly questions. The writing has always been secondary to speaking, so the most important thing is look at the pronounciation first. The spelling 'ćy' is absurd by definition (ć is soft, so it will never be followed by 'y' - it is simply impossible to pronounce it this way), so it is useless to search for some strange combination of letters.
Bezimienny
12 Sep 2019 #17
What i also noticed is that you dont really use the letterf

My apologies for not addressing the 2nd part of your original question regarding Polish use of letter f. Letter f is more common in Polish pronunciation than in Polish spelling, due to Polish letter w being sometimes pronounced (or "devoiced") as letter f, even though still spelled as letter w.

For example, Polish w in first-letter position is devoiced as letter f, if the next consonants before the very 1st vowel are c, ch, ci (pronounced as ć, and letter i is pronounced only if spelled before a consonant or in last-letter position), cz, f, h, k, p, s, si (pronounced as ś, and letter i pronounced only before a consonant or last-letter position), sz, and t. Polish rz in first-letter position is also devoiced as sz, if followed in spelling by the same next consonants, before 1st vowel. The original spellings remain unchanged, despite changes in pronunciations. The devoicing rules also apply if the consonant clusters listed above are spelled between vowels.

Polish letter w is also devoiced as letter f, if spelled with the above consonants in vice-versa order, before the very 1st vowel. So letters c, ch, ć, cz, f, h, k, p, s, ś, sz, and t in first-letter positions followed by letters w + 1st vowel in spelling, but pronounced as f + 1st vowel. The devoicing rules also apply if the same first-letter consonants are followed in spelling by wj, wl, wł, wm, wn/wni, wr, and wrz (letter w devoiced as f, and wrz devoiced as fsz) before 1st vowel. Polish rz is also devoiced as sz, if spelled after the above consonants, before 1st vowel. The devoicing rules would also apply if the listed first-letter consonants are followed in spelling by hypothetical but nonexistents rzj, rzl, rzł, rzm, rzn/rzni, and rzr, and rzrz (rz devoiced as sz, and nonexistent rzrz would be hypothetically devoiced as szsz) before 1st vowel. Once again, the original spellings also remain unchanged. And once again, the devoicing rules also apply if the consonant clusters listed above are spelled between vowels.

Consonants in last-letter position are pronounced as voiced consonants only if the very next word in sequence has a voiced consonant pronunciation in first-letter position, and only if there's no spoken hesitation between those words. Voiced consonant pronunciations in first-letter positions are individual or clustered letters b, d, dz, dzi (pronounced as dź, and letter i is pronounced only if spelled before a consonant or in last-letter position), dż, g, rz, w, z, zi (pronounced as ź, and letter i pronounced only before a consonant or last-letter position), and ż, before very 1st vowel. The above voiced consonants are also pronounced as voiced if immediately followed by consonants j, l, ł, m, n/ni, and r, before 1st vowel. Voiceless consonants c, ch, ci, cz, f, h, k, p, s, si, sz, t, in first-letter position are pronounced as respective voiced counterparts dz, voiced ch, dzi, dż, w, voiced h, g, b, z, zi, rz/ż, d, only if voiced consonants (excluding w and rz) are in next-letter position, before 1st vowel. Also pronounced as voiced if the above voiced consonant clusters are immediately followed by consonants j, l, ł, m, n/ni, and r, before 1st vowel. As before, the original spellings remain unchanged.

In some parts of Poland, consonants in last-letter position are also pronounced as voiced consonants if the very next word in sequence begins with a vowel, and also only if there's no spoken hesitation between those words. Also in some parts of Poland, consonants in last-letter position are also pronounced as voiced consonants if the very next word in sequence begins with j, l, ł, m, n/ni, and r, and only if there's no spoken hesitation between those words. As before, the original spellings remain unchanged.

Letter w as preposition (w as preposition means at/in/inside/inside of) is devoiced as letter f, if name of location has a voiceless consonant pronunciation in first-letter position. Same with W- as prefix (W- is prefixed mostly onto infinitives, and also adjectives, adverbs, and nouns derived from infinitives), if name of infinitive etc also has a voiceless consonant pronunciation in first-letter position. As before, the original spellings remain unchanged.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
12 Sep 2019 #18
Polish "softness" bears an ever so close similarity with certain Russian palatalization as in the words 'dver, brat', and so forth!
While the latter is clearly more pronounced in Russian than in Polish, Polish orthography, athough "phonetic" to the degree of grapheme/phoneme
uniformity compared with English, there are nonetheless numerous challenges for the learner in terms of consonant articulation:-)
pawian 173 | 13,389
12 Sep 2019 #19
and do you ever have the pronounciation of "rz" as r and z individualy?

Of course. E.g., in Tarzan. Being a small boy, I tried to read it as Tarzan. But later I found out it should be Tarzan. :)
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
12 Sep 2019 #20
However "Tarzan" is a foreign word/name, and so once again, the rule of "rz" doesn't apply in this case:-)
mafketis 24 | 8,817
12 Sep 2019 #21
I remember reading a language advice book a long time ago that addressed Tarzan... it said that the ż pronunciation was okay for pets (apparently people named pets Tarzan) but not for the ERB character...
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
12 Sep 2019 #22
Hmm, curious as to which book that was.
pawian 173 | 13,389
12 Sep 2019 #23
it said that the ż pronunciation was okay for pets

They probably meant Tarzan derived from tarzać się - to wallow.. Then a Polish pet called Tarzan uttered with ż would be Wallower in English.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
12 Sep 2019 #24
Thus "POWtarzac" would therefore mean "to wallow....for a while [on something] aka "to repeat"!
:-)
kaprys 3 | 2,466
13 Sep 2019 #25
'Marznąć' - r and z are pronounced individually.
mafketis 24 | 8,817
13 Sep 2019 #26
Here's a link with some guidelines on when rz is r+z

pl.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aneks:J%C4%99zyk_polski_-_wymowa_-_dwuznaki#rz
cinek 2 | 345
13 Sep 2019 #27
Nowe Marzy - a village in N PL.
OP H2N
14 Sep 2019 #28
I'm so glad to see that you were this dedicated to clarify my questions. Your attitude alone makes polish learning smoother easier. My respect and thanks, as always.
mafketis 24 | 8,817
14 Sep 2019 #29
makes polish learning smoother easier

Not something that gets said a lot....

For myself I think that it would be nice if diagraphs were separated with ' or - when they're supposed to be pronounced separately

mar'znąć

super-zabawa

etc


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