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Lesson Transcript

Nick: Hi, everyone! Nick here. Welcome back to the Pronunciation Series, lesson 3 - Very Polish Consonants
Beata: Jestem Beata. I'm Beata.
Nick: In the past two lessons, you learned how to pronounce Polish vowels, and in addition, you became familiar with Polish consonants that sound very much like their English equivalents. In today's lesson, however, we would like to introduce you to the very Polish consonants that aren't so common in other languages.
Beata: You don't have to worry. We have plenty of exercises in this lesson that will help you with the pronunciation of those consonants.
Nick: We would strongly recommend following the lesson notes as you listen so that you can see what sounds we are talking about.
Beata: So we didn't complicate things, we also divided today's consonants based on the type of articulation used to produce the sound, which is the same criterion that we used in the previous lesson.
Nick: So let's start with the first group of consonants, the so-called affricate consonants.
Beata: So far, you have had a chance to practice only one affricate consonant, which was "-c" (English "-c"). You can find this sound in English words such as "tsar" and "coats."
Nick: But "-c" is not the only affricate consonant. There are others.
Beata: Let's listen to them.
Woman: "-dz," "-cz," "-dż," "-ć"/"-ci," "-dź"/"-dzi"
Nick: Wow, they do sound different.
Beata: You might be surprised, but actually, some of them do have English equivalents. For example, the first sound, "-dz," is pronounced like "-ds" in English words such as "needs," "kids," or "islands."
Nick: "-Dz." Please notice that the sound "-dz" consists of two consonants, "-d" and "-z." Actually, in the Polish language, you will see a lot of consonant clusters that consist of two consonants or two consonants and a vowel.
Beata: The key to pronouncing them properly is not to separate them one from the other, but rather to pronounce them as one sound.
Nick: Today's lesson is mostly devoted to such consonant clusters, with the sound "-cz," consisting of the letter "-c" and "-z" being next.
Beata: "-Cz." We also find this sound in the English language. It's represented by the "-ch" in the word "cheese," by the consonant "-c" in the word "cello," and also by the letter "-t" in the word "nature."
Nick: I think that our listeners will find those examples very helpful.
Beata: Okay, the next sound is "-dż," again consisting of two consonants, "-d" and "-z" with a dot above.
Nick: Were you also able to find some English equivalents?
Beata: Yes, the sound "-dż" is represented by the consonant "-g" in "gin," by the letter "-j" in the name of the month "June," and by the "-dg" cluster in the word "judge." "-Dż."
Nick: The next sound on our agenda is…
Beata: …"-ć"/"-ci," which can be spelled both ways, depending on the spelling rules; however, it has the same pronunciation.
Nick: We've seen a similar situation in the previous lesson with the consonants "-h" and "-ch." They are spelled differently, but pronounced the same way as "-h."
Beata: Exactly. The sound "-ć"/"-ci," spelled either way, is a very soft sound. It's pronounced more softly than the sound "-cz." It's "-ć"/"-ci."
Nick: Can we have some examples?
Beata: Sure! Some examples with the sound "-ć"/"-ci" are…"ćwiczyć"
Nick: "to exercise"
Beata: "dać"
Nick: "to give"
Beata: "ciocia"
Nick: "aunt"
Beata: "ciemny"
Nick: "dark"
Nick: "-Ć"/"-ci." Am I saying it right?
Beata: Very good. "-Ć"/"-ci."
Nick: Great. What's the next sound?
Beata: "-Dź"/"-dzi." We again have two different spellings. It's either "-d" and "-z" with an acute mark above it, or the consonants "-d" and "-z," and the vowel "-i"; however, they both have the same pronunciation.
Nick: Any luck in finding English equivalents?
Beata: No, unfortunately not. The sound "-dź"/"-dzi" is pronounced more softly than "-dż." It's "-dź"/"-dzi" in Polish words such as "dźwigać"…
Nick: "to carry"
Beata: "dźwięk"
Nick: "sound"
Beata: or "dziecko"
Nick: "child."
Nick: Okay. So once again, the affricate consonants are…
Beata: "-Dz," "-cz," "-dż," "-ć"/"-ci," and "-dź"/"-dzi."
Nick: Now, let's move on to the next group of consonants, the so-called fricatives.
Beata: In the previous lesson, we introduced you to the fricative consonants "-f" ("-f"), "-w," ("-w"), "-s" ("-s"), "-z" ("-z"), and "-h"/"-ch" ("-h").
Nick: Today, you will get to know four more fricatives. Let’s listen to them.
Woman: "-sz," "-ż"/"-rz," "-ś"/"-si," "-ź"/"-zi"
Nick: Well, they sound like a lot of fun. (laugh) What's the first sound?
Beata: "-Sz." "-Sz" is a consonant cluster consisting of the letters "-s" and "-z." "-Sz."
Nick: Any English examples?
Beata: "-Sz" is pronounced like "-sh" in "fish" and "she" and as "-c" in "ocean."
Nick: Great. Next we have…
Beata: …"-ż"/"-rz." Again, we have two different spellings, but the same pronunciation, "-ż"/"-rz."
Nick: The sound "-ż"/"-rz" is pronounced like "-g" in "beige" and "genre" and like "-s" in the word "vision." What's next?
Beata: Next we have "-ś," spelled with "-s" and an acute mark above it, or "-si" written with "-s" and "-i." Their pronunciation is the same.
Nick: Any English example?
Beata: Unfortunately, not. The sound "-ś"/"-si" is pronounced more softly than "-sz." Some Polish examples with the sound "-ś"/"-si" are…"świat"
Nick: "world"
Beata: "ktoś"
Nick: "someone"
Beata: and "siedem"
Nick: "seven"
Nick: And finally, it's time for the last fricative sound, which is…
Beata: "-ź" spelled with the letter "-z" and an acute mark above it, or "-zi," represented by the letters "-z" and "-i." "-Ź"/"-zi." Some Polish examples would be "źle"
Nick: "badly"
Beata: "źródło"
Nick: "spring" or "source"
Beata: and "zielony"
Nick: "green"
Nick: "-Ź"/"-zi." It seems to me that whenever you have the acute mark above a consonant, it makes it sound really soft. Am I right?
Beata: Very good observation. Absolutely! The acute mark is used to mark the softness of a particular consonant; it's not an accent mark.
Nick: So, finally, we got to our last group of consonants, the sonorants.
Beata: In the previous lesson, you learned five sonorants…"-m" ("-m"), "-n" ("-n"), "-l" ("-l"), "-r" ("-r"), and "-j" ("-j").
Nick: Today, you'll get to know an additional two. Let's listen to them.
Woman: "-ł," "-ń"/"-ni"
Nick: That wasn't so bad. What's the first sound?
Beata: The first sound is represented by the letter "-l" with a slash sign and it's pronounced as "-ł."
Nick: "-Ł" is pronounced like "-w" in "wedding," "win," and "walk." What about the other sound?
Beata: "-Ń"/"-ni" have two different spellings but the same pronunciation. The closest example that we could find that would illustrate how to pronounce it is…
Nick: the part "-ney" in the word "money." "-Ń"/"-ni" is pronounced more softly than the letter "-n."
Beata: Some Polish examples would be…"dłoń" ("-n," "hand"), "słoń" ("-n," "elephant"), and "niebieski" ("-n," "blue").
Nick: Since we officially covered all the consonants in Polish, I have one more question for you. So we were talking today about all those consonant clusters that are so characteristic of the Polish language. Is it possible to have more than one consonant cluster within a word?
Beata: Oooh, absolutely. Words with four consonants next to each other are nothing surprising in the Polish language.
Nick: Could you give us some examples?
Beata: Sure. Let's start with two consonant clusters. For example, "-sz" and "-cz" next to each other. Please repeat after me…"szczupły."
Nick: "slim"
Beata: "szczupak"
Nick: "pike" (fish)
Beata: "szczęśliwy"
Nick: "happy"
Beata: "chrząszcz"
Nick: "beetle"
Beata: and "szczeniak"
Nick: "puppy."
Nick: What about the consonant cluster "-ść?"
Beata: Not a problem. Please listen and repeat after me…"wieść"
Nick: "a piece of news"
Beata: "nieść"
Nick: "to carry"
Beata: "kość"
Nick: "bone"
Beata: "wejść"
Nick: "to enter"
Beata: "przyjemność"
Nick: "pleasure"
Beata: and "maść"
Nick: "ointment"
Nick: Again, we recommend listening to these words while following along with the lesson notes. And listen again until you have these sounds down!
Nick: Remember, you can leave us a comment on this lesson.
Beata: So if you have a question or some feedback, please leave us a comment!
Nick: It's very easy to do. Just stop by PolishPod101.com,
Beata: ...click on comments,
Nick: ...enter your comment and name,
Beata: ...and that's it!
Nick: No excuses. We're looking forward to hearing from you!
Beata: "Cześć."
Nick: Bye.


Please to leave a comment.
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PolishPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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Hi Listeners! What's the best way to practice pronunciation, in your view?

Sunday at 08:06 PM
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Hi Jorge,

Thank you for your positive feedback.

Let us know if you have any questions.



Team PolishPod101.com

Tuesday at 06:58 PM
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thanks! is really useful! 👍

PolishPod101.com Verified
Friday at 03:40 PM
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Hello Thanh,

Thank you for the cute emoticon! :smile::thumbsup:

We hope you enjoy PolishPod101.com!

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Sunday at 08:57 PM
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PolishPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:43 AM
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Hi Ricardo

Thank you for your message. Actually you are right, the sounds for "dz" , dź" and "dż" are quite different. We arranged it this way so that people who are not accustomed to Polish sounds can get the initial idea. I am very impressed that you got the difference so fast! :thumbsup:

Let me know in case you have other questions.



Team PolishPod101.com

Sunday at 07:06 AM
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First of all I am very impressed by your system, it surpassed my expectations. But now down to business,

you say that dź is softer than dż, but I get the feeling that there is another difference in them, being that in "dż" the vocal chords do not move while in "dź" apart from being softer than the previous, it features vocal chord movement. Am I right on this one? How does this work, need some clarification :)

PolishPod101.com Verified
Friday at 11:33 AM
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Dear JP Brzechwa,

Thank you very much for your feedback. We always appreciate it!

We'll consider your comments to improve our website quality.

Good luck with your Polish studies.



Team PolishPod101.com

JP Brzechwa
Tuesday at 11:12 PM
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Subject: feedback

Hello there,

Like "Pronunciation 1 and 2", we have to jump from one page to another: p4, 5, 7 are skipped. What's more we never know which words will be pronounced or not. Sometimes, it is not said in the order, and in my view, not only should we hear the examples in English but also in Polish.