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Lesson Transcript

Gina: Hello everyone and welcome to PolishPod101.com. This is Absolute Beginner, season 1, lesson 5, An Alphabet Full of Polish Tongue Twisters. I’m Gina.
Joanna: And I’m Joanna.
Gina: In this lesson you'll learn all about the Polish alphabet.
Joanna: This conversation takes place in a restaurant.
Gina: It’s between Gosia and Alex.
Joanna: The speakers are around the same age, so they’ll be using informal Polish.
Gina: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Gosia: Jak ci idzie nauka?
Alex: Chyba dobrze.
Gosia: Jakieś problemy?
Alex: Tak. Wymowa. Litery 'ż' albo 'ź' są bardzo trudne.
Gosia: Nie martw się, dobrze ci idzie!
Gina: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Gosia: Jak ci idzie nauka?
Alex: Chyba dobrze.
Gosia: Jakieś problemy?
Alex: Tak. Wymowa. Litery 'ż' albo 'ź' są bardzo trudne.
Gosia: Nie martw się, dobrze ci idzie!
Gina: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Gosia: Jak ci idzie nauka?
Gosia: How is studying going?
Alex: Chyba dobrze.
Alex: Well, I think.
Gosia: Jakieś problemy?
Gosia: Any problems?
Alex: Tak. Wymowa. Litery 'ż' albo 'ź' są bardzo trudne.
Alex: Yes. Pronunciation. Letters 'ż' or 'ź' are very difficult
Gosia: Nie martw się, dobrze ci idzie!
Gosia: Don't worry, you're doing well!
Gina: So what’s the education system in Poland like? Do people learn foreign languages?
Joanna: We start learning our first foreign language, English, in kindergarten.
Gina: Wow! That’s so early!
Joanna: Yes, but at that stage it’s fun because you’re singing songs, playing games, and just learning basic words. In the first 3 years of elementary school that study is continued, but at a slightly higher level - by then there’s only one teacher for all the classes. During the last 3 years we improve all the skills, learn grammar..
Gina: And then you move on to junior high school when you start learning your 2nd foreign language, right?
Joanna: That’s right. From that moment on we study 2 foreign languages right up until the time we graduate.
Gina: Sounds tough. But knowing a couple of languages is great! Okay, now let’s move on to the vocab.
Gina: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is...
Joanna: jak [natural native speed]
Gina: how
Joanna: jak [slowly - broken down by syllable] jak [natural native speed]
Gina: Next
Joanna: nauka [natural native speed]
Gina: studying
Joanna: nauka [slowly - broken down by syllable] nauka [natural native speed]
Gina: Next
Joanna: tak [natural native speed]
Gina: yes
Joanna: tak [slowly - broken down by syllable] tak [natural native speed]
Gina: Next
Joanna: wymowa [natural native speed]
Gina: pronunciation
Joanna: wymowa [slowly - broken down by syllable] wymowa [natural native speed]
Gina: Next
Joanna: trudny [natural native speed]
Gina: difficult
Joanna: trudny [slowly - broken down by syllable] trudny [natural native speed]
Gina: Next
Joanna: martwić się [natural native speed]
Gina: to worry
Joanna: martwić się [slowly - broken down by syllable] martwić się [natural native speed]
Gina: Next
Joanna: problem [natural native speed]
Gina: problem
Joanna: problem [slowly - broken down by syllable] problem [natural native speed]
Gina: And last,
Joanna: dobrze ci idzie [natural native speed]
Gina: You’re doing well.
Joanna: dobrze ci idzie [slowly - broken down by syllable] dobrze ci idzie [natural native speed]
Gina: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. Joanna, what’s the first word?
Joanna: ‘wymowa’
Gina: “pronunciation”
Joanna: It’s a noun that derives from the verb ‘wymawiać’
Gina: Meaning “to pronounce”
Joanna: For example, you can say ‘polska wymowa jest trudna’
Gina: “Polish pronunciation is difficult”. But I hope our listeners don’t think so! What’s the next word?
Joanna: This one’s very easy to remember - ‘problem’
Gina: It’s just like the English “problem”
Joanna: Easy, isn’t it?
Gina: Yeah, this time!
Joanna: The meaning is also very similar to English, because it’s a difficult or troublesome situation, something we have to think through. There are a few commonly used types of sentence or phrases that use this word.
Gina: I’m sure our listeners will want to hear them.
Joanna: The first example would be ‘problem z głowy’
Gina: The literal translation is “problem off your head”. Hmm, what does it mean?
Joanna: You can use it when you have just solved some problem, or rid yourself of some trouble.
Gina: Can we get one more example?
Joanna: A very simple and useful one is - ‘mam problem’
Gina: “I have a problem”
Joanna: You usually use it when you want to talk about or discuss something that’s bothering you.
Gina: Okay, and what’s the last word?
Joanna: This time it’s a phrase - ‘dobrze ci idzie’
Gina: This literally means “it’s going well for you”, but we will stick to the English equivalent “you’re doing well”
Joanna: If you want to encourage someone even more, feel free to change the adverb ‘dobrze’ into ‘świetnie’, which will give you ‘świetnie ci idzie’
Gina: “you’re doing great”
Joanna: Let’s hope our listeners hear this while they’re studying Polish!
Gina: Definitely. Okay, now onto the grammar.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn about the Polish alphabet.
Joanna: It’s based on the Latin writing system, like many other languages in the world, but there are some sounds and characters that are typically Polish.
Gina: Some of them may be a little bit challenging when it comes to pronunciation, and the writing system also requires a lot of practice. Now Joanna, the listeners might be worried that some words are really hard to pronounce!
Joanna: It’s not that terrible! You will probably just have to use mouth muscles that you have never used before.
Gina: Okay! So let’s give your mouth a workout and go through the Polish alphabet.
Joanna: Great idea!
Gina: Listeners, Joanna will start with a Polish letter, then you’ll have a few seconds to repeat after her, and then I’ll give you the English equivalent, if there is one...and if there isn’t, then I’ll move on to the next letter. Let’s start!
Joanna: A
Gina: (pause) “a”
Joanna: Ą
Gina: (pause) this sound is unique to Polish
Joanna: B
Gina: (pause) “b”
Joanna: C
Gina: (pause) “c”
Joanna: Ć
Gina: (pause) next unique sound
Joanna: D
Gina: (pause) “d”
Joanna: E
Gina: (pause) “e”
Joanna: Ę
Gina: (pause) unique sound to Polish
Joanna: F
Gina: (pause) “f”
Joanna: G
Gina: (pause) “g”
Joanna: H
Gina: (pause) “h”
Joanna: I
Gina: (pause) “i”
Joanna: J
Gina: (pause) “j”
Joanna: K
Gina: (pause) “k”
Joanna: L
Gina: (pause) “l”
Joanna: Ł
Gina: (pause) that’s another unique Polish sound
Joanna: M
Gina: (pause) “m”
Joanna: N
Gina: (pause) “n”
Joanna: Ń (pause)
Gina - unique to Polish
Joanna: O
Gina: (pause) “o”
Joanna: Ó
Gina: (pause) unique sound
Joanna: P
Gina: (pause) “p”
Joanna: R
Gina: (pause) “r”
Joanna: S
Gina: (pause) “s”
Joanna: Ś
Gina: (pause) unique sound
Joanna: T
Gina: (pause) “t”
Joanna: U
Gina: (pause) “u”
Joanna: W
Gina: (pause) “w”
Joanna: Y
Gina: (pause) “y”
Joanna: Z
Gina: (pause) “z”
Joanna: Ź
Gina: (pause) unique Polish sound
Joanna: Ż - another unique Polish z.
Gina: Did you get all the sounds correct? Some seem pretty difficult to pronounce...
Joanna: That’s because in Polish we use quite a few diacritical marks, like dots, lines and slashes...which change the sound of the original letter.
Gina: Everyone, be sure to check the lesson notes because you’ll see all the Polish characters there.
Joanna: Something that makes the Polish language quite special among other Slavic languages, is that it has the nasal vowels Ą and Ę
Gina: I’m not even going to try to pronounce those!
Joanna: Okay, listeners, try to repeat after me...Ą [pause] and Ę [pause]
Gina: One of the other key characteristics of Polish, is that it has voiced and unvoiced sounds where most voiced sounds have a voiced representative. So they’re like pairs.
Joanna: Exactly. In that sense, they are easy to remember, a little bit like symmetry! In the lesson notes there’s a table that shows that really well, so be sure to check it out!
Gina: I’ve heard that Polish is kind of a whistling language too.
Joanna: That’s true, we have many sounds like - sz, rz, cz, ż dź.. and so on
Gina: That’s great pronunciation practice!


Gina: Ok, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Gina: Bye!
Joanna: Papa.