Appendix:Polish Pronunciation
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Appendix:Polish Pronunciation

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Polish pronunciations in Wiktionary entries.

All voiced obstruents /b, d, ?, v, z, ?, ?, d?, d?/ are devoiced (so /d/ becomes /t/, etc.) at the ends of words and in clusters ending in any unvoiced obstruents /p, t, k, f, s, x, ?, ?, t?, t?/. The voiceless obstruents are voiced (/x/ becoming [?], etc.) in clusters ending in any voiced obstruent except /v/, and /?/ spelled rz, which are themselves devoiced in this case.

IPA Polish Example English approximation
b b bardzo bike
? ?, s(i)[1] Ja? she
d d dawno door
dz[2] dz dzban beds
d?[2] d?, dz(i)[1] dziadek jeep[3]
d? [2] d? D?akarta jug[3]
f f foka feist
? g gra? girl
g(i)[1] gigant argue
j j, i[1] jak yes
k k krowa scam
k? k(i)[1] kierowca skew
l l lampa lion
m m[4] morze mile
n n[4] nad Nile
? ?, n(i)[4][1] nie canyon
?[5] n[4] bank bank
p p policja spike
r r ró?owy trilled r
s s smak sign
? sz szybko shore[3]
t t tak stow
t?[2] ?, c(i)[1] cierpki cheer[3]
ts[2] c ca?kiem cats
t?[2] cz czy child[3]
v w warto vile
w ? ?adny way
x ch, h chleb (Scottish) loch
x? h(i)[1] hiacynt huge
z z zebra zebra
? ?, z(i)[1] ziarno vision, azure[3]
? ?, rz rzadko
IPA Polish Example English approximation
a a tam father (shorter)
? e d?em bed
?[4] k?s van
i i[1] piwo eat (shorter)
? y my roses
? o rok walk (shorter)
?[4] w?s wrong
u u, ó du?y boot (shorter)
Other symbols used for Polish
IPA Explanation
' Primary stress (placed before the stressed syllable).
Usually the penultimate syllable of a word.
? Secondary stress (placed before the stressed syllable).
. Syllable break.

See also


  1. ? The letter ?i?, when followed by a vowel, represents a pronunciation like a ?j? or a "soft" pronunciation of the preceding consonant. Thus, pies is pronounced as if it were spelled ?pjes?. It has the same effect as an acute accent on an alvoelar consonant (?s?, ?z?, ?c?, ?dz?, ?n?). Thus, si?, cios and niania are pronounced as if they were spelled ?, os?, a?a?. A following ?i? also softens consonants if it is pronounced as a vowel. Thus, zima, ci and dzisiaj are pronounced as if if they were spelled ima?, i?, ?d?i?aj?.
  2. ? Affricates such as /ts/ and /d?/) are correctly written with tie-bars: /t?s/, /d/. The tie-bars are omitted in the above chart, as they do not display correctly in all browsers. Still, Polish contrasts affricates with stop + fricative clusters, like czysta ['tsta] "clean" versus trzysta ['tsta] "three hundred".
  3. ? Polish makes contrasts between retroflex and alveolo-palatal consonants, both of which sound like the English postalveolars /? ? t? d?/ The retroflex sounds are pronounced "hard" with the front of the tongue raised, and the alveolo-palatal sounds are "soft" with the middle of the tongue raised, adding a bit of a "y" or "ee" sound to them.
  4. ? The letters ??? and ??? represent the nasal vowels /, /, except when followed by a stop or affricate, where they represent oral vowels /?, ?/ followed by a nasal consonant homorganic with the following stop or affricate (e.g. k?t ['k?nt], g?ba ['mba], r?ka ['rka], pisz?cy [p?i'nt?s?], pieni?dze [p?e'nd?z?], pi ['p?e?t], j?czy ['j?nt]).
  5. ^ Allophone of /n/ before a velar /?, k, x/.

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