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Pronunciation

REMEMBER:

The written form is largely phonetic (i.e. knowing the basic rules you can theoretically master the pronunciation). The stress falls usually on the penultimate syllable (similar to Italian).
All vowels are short. There are two nasals and a few diphthongs.
In contrast to English, there is phonetically no “ur” (like in “murmur”), no “ere” (neither like in “where” nor “here”), no “th”, no “oa” (like in “boat”) and no aspiration on “p”, “t”, “k”, “f”


VOWELS:

a – always like “u” in “mum” (mama = mum)
e – always like “e” in “red” (serce = heart, read as ser- tse)
i – always like “i” in “hit” (i = and)
ia – like “yu” in “yummy” (miasto = city, town)
ie – like “ye” in “yes” (pies = dog)
io – like “yo” in “yolk” (Piotr = Peter)
ió – like “you” (pióro = pen)
iu – like “you” (biuro = office)
o – always short like “o” in “pot” (sto = hundred)
u – like “u” in “bull”- (usta = mouth)
ó – like “u’ in “bull” (ból = pain)
y – somewhere between “i” and German “ü” (ty, wy i my = you (sg.), you (pl.) and us)


TWO NASALS:

a – like ‘on” in French “bon” (maka = flour)
e – like “en” in Fren “bien” (bede = I will be)


CONSONANTS:

b – babcia = granny; read as bub-cha
c – like “ts” in “cots” (kac = hangover or co = what)
c – like “ch” in “chip” (ćma = moth; read as tchma)
ci – like “chi” in “chip” (cicho = silence; read as chi-ho)
cz – like “ch” in “cherry” (czerwony = red; read as cher-vo-ney)
d – dobry = good; read as dob-ree
dż – like “j” in “job” (dżem = jam)
dź – like “gy” in “gym” (dziura = hole; read as gi’u-ra)
dzi – like “gy” in “gym” (dziura = hole; read as gi’u-ra)
g – like “g” in “good” (gra = game)
h – like “ch” in Scottish “loch” (hej = an informal greeting, read as hey)
ch – like “ch” in Scottish “loch” (chory = ill)
j – like “y” in “York” (jajo = egg, read as ya-yo)
l – like “l” in “lead” (lody = ice cream)
ł – like “w” in “wood” (ładnie = nicely, read as whad-nie)
m – most = bridge; read short – see “o” above
n – noga = leg, foot
ń – similar to n (dzień = day, read as jeni)
ni – similar to n (nic = nothing)
p – para = couple
r – pronounced like “r” in Italian or Spanish (rower = bicycle, read as rro-ver)
rz – like “j” in French “jour” (rzeka = river)
s – słowo = word (read as swo-vo)
si – (exception) like “sh” in shift, (siła = strength, power, read as shi-wa)
ś – like “sh” in “shift” (śmiech = laugh, read as sh-myekh)
sz – szalony = crazy (read as sha-lo-ney; “sh” is stronger than in “s”)
t – tak = yes
w – like “v” in “vet” (woda = water, wódka = vodka, read as vood-ka)
z – zdrowy = healthy
zi, ź, ż – like “j” in French “jour”, (żurek – a type of sour barley soup, zima = winter, źle = badly)

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