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Lesson Transcript

Beata: Polish Pronunciation Series Lesson 2 – Polish Consonants and Their Shocking Number
Nick: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the Pronunciation Series! Lesson 2 – Polish Consonants and Their Shocking Number
Beata: Cześć. Beata here.
Nick: Did you have a chance to practice the sounds from the previous lesson? I hope so, because we have more in store for you this time. Today, we will focus on Polish consonants.
Beata: Today's sounds are very easy, though.
Nick: Yes, they are not that different from English sounds, actually. Before we introduce the new sounds, let's just quickly recap what we studied in the previous lesson.
Beata: Sounds good.
Nick: How many vowels does Polish have?
Beata: There are nine vowels in the Polish language.
Nick: They are further divided into two groups…oral vowels and nasal vowels. Which ones are the oral vowels?
Beata: There are seven oral vowels in Polish, and they are "-a," "-e," "-i," "-o," "-u," "-ó," and "-y."
Nick: And which ones are the nasal vowels?
Beata: The nasal vowels are "-ą" and "-ę."
Nick: Great. In this lesson, we are going to teach you how to pronounce Polish consonants that are similar in sound to their English equivalents. Now, if you've got the lesson notes, it's probably a good idea to read them as you listen so that you can see what sounds we are talking about.
Beata: Since there are many consonants in the Polish language, we divided them based on the type of articulation used to produce the sound. We are going to start with the occlusive consonants.
Nick: We produce these consonants by blocking the air within the vocal tract, and then the airflow is either quickly released or held.
Beata: Let's listen to them.
Man: "-p," "-b," "-t," "-d," "-k," "-g"
Woman: "-p," "-b," "-t," "-d," "-k," "-g"
Beata: Great.
Nick: What we'll do is compare them to sounds in English. Okay, the first one…the letter "-p."
Beata: "-P."
Nick: "-P" is pronounced like the "-p" in words such as "pie" or "pen." Next is the letter "-b."
Beata: "-B."
Nick: "-B" is pronounced like "-b" in "beach" or "ball." Then we have the consonant "-t."
Beata: "-T."
Nick: "-T" as "-t" in "tool" or "talent." What about "-d?"
Beata: "-D."
Nick: "-D" as "-d" in "doll" or "dance." The next one is "-k."
Beata: "-K."
Nick: "-K" is pronounced like the letter "-c" in words such as "cold" or "clue." And finally, "-g?"
Beata: "-G."
Nick: English examples for "-g" would be "goat" and "great." Beata, could you repeat all of them once again?
Beata: Sure. It's "-p," "-b," "-t," "-d," "-k," and "-g."
Nick: Okay, so now let's take a look at the next group of consonants.
Beata: The next group of consonants consists actually of one sound only, and that is the consonant "-c," which in Polish is always pronounced as [c]. "-C" represents a group of so-called affricate consonants.
Nick: "-C." Do we have any English examples for this sound?
Beata: The pronunciation of the "-ts" group in words such as "coats," "eats," and "tsar" would be the closest equivalent to the Polish consonant "-c."
Nick: Could we hear some Polish words with the consonant "-c" in them?
Beata: Sure. Please repeat after me. "Cena," "moc," "koc," "nocą," "móc," "cały."
Nick: For translations of those words, please refer to the lesson notes. Let's move on to the next group of consonants. This time, we will be talking about so-called fricative consonants.
Beata: Fricative consonants are represented by the following sounds…
Man: "-f," "-w," "-s," "-z," "-h," "-ch"
Woman: "-f," "-w," "-s," "-z," "-h," "-ch"
Beata: When trying to produce these sounds, you'll notice that both your upper and lower incisors are closed, but there's still a narrow opening that allows air to escape. It reminds me of a hissing sound made by a snake, [sssssss].
Nick: Let's compare those consonants with sounds in English. It's always good to have some examples you can refer to. The first letter is "-f."
Beata: "-F."
Nick: "-F" is pronounced like "-f" in "fun" or "face." What about "-w"?
Beata: "-W" is pronounced in Polish [w].
Nick: So it's basically the English "-v." For example…"vine," "vest," or "visit." Then we have "-s."
Beata: "-S."
Nick: "-S" is pronounced like the "-s" in "soup" or "snake." Next there is the letter "-z."
Beata: "-Z."
Nick: "-Z" can be pronounced like the "-z" in words such as "zoo" or "zenith," or as the double "-s" in words such as "dissolve." And finally, we have "-h" and "-ch."
Beata: There is the same situation with the pair "-h" and "-ch" as we had with the open "-u" and closed "-ó" from the previous lesson. The consonants "-h" and "-ch" are pronounced the same as "-h"; however, depending on the spelling rules, we use one or the other.
Nick: So the pronunciation of "-h" and "-ch" is the same, [h]. They are both pronounced like the "-h" in the words "he," "half," and "hook."
Beata: That's correct.
Nick: So what's the last group of consonants?
Beata: The last group of consonants is called sonorants and is represented by the following sounds…
Man: "-m," "-n," "-l," "-r," "-j"
Woman: "-m," "-n," "-l," "-r," "-j"
Nick: This group sounded relatively easy, except for maybe the rolling "-r."
Beata: Actually, the [r] sound is not that difficult. Just try to roll your tongue a little. (laugh) For example, say the word "rower." "Rower."
Nick: "Rower." Interesting. Again, it's just practice. What about other consonants? For example, "-m?"
Beata: "-M."
Nick: "-M" is pronounced like the "-m" in "melody" or "me." Next we have "-n."
Beata: "-N."
Nick: English examples would be "nothing" and "nose." What about "-l?"
Beata: "-L."
Nick: "-L" is pronounced like the English "-l" in "love" or "leg." And finally, we have "-j," which sounds very different in Polish, right?
Beata: "-J" is definitely pronounced differently in Polish. It's [j].
Nick: It sounds to me like the English "-y" in words such as "yoke" or "yellow."
Beata: Very good examples.
Nick: Are there any other consonants to cover in today's lesson?
Beata: I would like to mention quickly that some Polish words will have clusters of two identical consonants in them. For example, the word "lekki" with a double "-k."
Nick: Like this? "Lekki."
Beata: Yes. Make sure to pronounce both of those "-k's" because otherwise the meaning of a word can be changed entirely. Let's use the same example "lekki" vs. "leki." "Lekki" with double "-k" means "light," whereas the word "leki" with one "-k" means "medicine."
Nick: That's a great tip for our listeners. Okay, so in this lesson, we have covered Polish consonants that sound very much like their English equivalents. We still have one more lesson to go before we can say that we've covered all of the sounds in Polish, right?
Beata: That's correct. Our next lesson will be about consonants that are unique to the Polish language.
Nick: I can imagine we're going to have a lot of fun with them. (laugh) Well, thanks for joining us today, everyone!
Beata: So stop by Polish Pod101.com and pick up the lesson notes.
Nick: It has the conversation transcript
Beata: ...vocabulary, sample sentences, a grammar explanation,
Nick: ...and a cultural insight section.
Beata: Seeing the Polish...
Nick: really helps you remember faster.
Beata: But don't take our word for it. Please have a look for yourself!
Nick: And let us know what you think!
Beata: "Cześć."
Nick: Bye.


Please to leave a comment.
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PolishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi PolishPod101.com Listeners! What consonants do you find difficult to pronounce?

PolishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:02 PM
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Cześć James,

Thank you for your question.

Lesson audios and videos can be downloaded by clicking on the Download Audio/Video button under the title. The button is the fourth round-shaped button.

Hope this helps! Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.



Team PolishPod101.com

Sunday at 03:39 AM
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Is there an audio file for the lesson notes, especially for the Polish words?

PolishPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 08:41 PM
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Cześć Ben,

Thank you for sharing your opinion 👍

Keep practicing and you will master the Polish "R" sooner than you think!

Should you have any questions, please let us know.



Team PolishPod101.com

Wednesday at 09:52 AM
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The "r" is the most difficult for me, but not overly difficult. I'm used to trying to roll the "r" in other languages I've learned so the concept of rolling it isn't all that foreign. It's just not something I do everyday so I need to continually practice doing it.

PolishPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:57 PM
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Hello Laurie,

Thank you for posting.

The Lesson Notes PDF is available under the 'Download PDFs' drop down menu.

Regarding how to navigate the site, you'll find further info by clicking on links:



Let us know if you have any question.



Team PolishPod101.com

Monday at 10:32 AM
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Where are the lesson notes for this lesson? I have the seven day free trial. Shouldn't they appear for every lesson while I am doing the trial? I'm new to this site as I try it, and I am so confused. I feel like I can jump around anywhere. What is the structure of this site? I can't get a handle on it. Some lessons are called pathway, some series are survival, some lessons are a completely different category. How do you know where to go first? I couldn't find any pronunciation lessons in any of the categories I saw, (which I feel should be tackled right off the bat) so I did a search an ended up here. Why do some lessons have video and others do not? Why do some get lesson notes and some do not? And many lessons begin by telling me to "visit polishpod101" but I'm actually already here doing the lesson! Is this audio taken from YouTube, perhaps? Please help! I need to know a better way to navigate this site!

Wednesday at 11:03 PM
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Too much English, we are trying to learn Polish, one example of English. Then move on to the Polish. Think this would work much better.

PolishPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 09:42 PM
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Hello Donus!

We wish you good luck in your studies!

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Wish you Happy New Year!


Team PolishPod101.com

Monday at 10:40 AM
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Moja zona is Polish so I expect I am lucky, but still (as an Australian) have a lot of trouble with the pronunciation although my tesciowa claims I am improving. So, I have gone back to the beginning and will try to improve before continuing with the other beginner lessons. I find the lesson notes especially useful as I seem to understand more when I can see the words(s)_ / phrases written.

many thanks

PolishPod101.com Verified
Friday at 11:37 AM
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Hi JP Brzechwa,

Once again, thank you for the feedback.

Feel free to let us know whenever you find something confusing about our materials and we will make sure to fix the problem.

Hopefully you don't get discouraged and continue the adventure with Polish language.

Thank you.


Team PolishPod101.com