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Lesson Transcript

Hello and welcome to Polish Survival Phrases brought to you by PolishPod101.com, this course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Poland. You will be surprised at how far a little Polish will go.
Now, before we jump in, remember to stop by PolishPod101.com and there, you will find the accompanying PDF and additional info in the post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.

Lesson focus

In the previous lesson, we introduced you to some phrases you can use when in Poland, and this is the last lesson of the series we dedicated to learning from people around you. Today we are going to cover "How do you read this?"
In Polish, "How do you read this?" is Jak się to czyta? The first word jak means "how." Next, we have się, which in English means, "itself."
Then, we have the demonstrative pronoun to ("this").
Finally, we have czyta meaning, "reads." Czyta comes from the verb czytać ("to read").
So all together, we have Jak się to czyta? Literally, this means, "How is it read?"
If you are pointing at something, probably at a book, a newspaper, or simply a street sign, you might also like to ask, "How do you pronounce this?" Jak się to wymawia? This sentence is almost identical to the one we just introduced.
The only difference is that we exchanged czyta ("reads") for wymawia ("pronounces").
After you have learned the reading and the pronunciation, you will probably want to know about the meaning.
So why don't you try to ask, Co to znaczy? "What does it mean?" The first word co means, "what." Next, we have to ("this").
Finally, we have znaczy, which in English means, "means."
The form znaczy comes from the verb znaczyć ("to mean").
Cultural Insights
The pronunciation of Polish letters is quite different from English. Besides the diacritical marks we mentioned in the previous lesson, Polish also has a different set of vowels.
The vowels are: a e i o u y ó ą ę
You're probably wondering what these last two vowels are.
These are nasal vowels ą and ę, similar to French.
They both have little hooks underneath.
They are pronounced nasally in some positions, but not in others.
Their nasal pronunciation is weaker than French.
The vowels u and ó, even though represented by two different letters, have the same pronunciation.
The usage of these vowels is based on Polish spelling rules.
For example:
luty = "February"
nóż = "knife"
In Polish, there are no long or short vowels as such. However, when the vowel is accented, it is pronounced a little bit longer.
For example, let's have a look at the pronunciation of the vowel -a in the following words:
telewizja = "television"
mama = "mom"
marynarka = "jacket"
The accent in Polish is rather constant and in most cases falls on the second to last syllable For example: lam-pa ("lamp"), sa-mo-chód ("car"), and ko-lo-ro-wy ("colorful"). If the word has only one syllable, then the whole word is accented, for example, mam ("I have"), and nie ("no").
In some words with foreign origin, the accent falls on the third to last syllable, for example, ma-te-ma-ty-ka ("math"), and mu-zy-ka ("music").
The forms of the past tense in first- and second-person plural also have their accent on the third to last syllable, for example, pi-sa-li-śmy ("we wrote"), and mó-wi-li-ście ("you spoke").


Okay, to close out this lesson, we'd like you to practice what you've just learned. I'll provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you're responsible for shouting it aloud.
You have a few seconds before I give you the answer, so powodzenia, which means “good luck” in Polish.
"How do you read this?" - Jak się to czyta?
Jak się to czyta?
Jak się to czyta?
"How do you pronounce this?" - Jak się to wymawia?
Jak się to wymawia?
Jak się to wymawia?
"What does it mean?" - Co to znaczy?
Co to znaczy?
Co to znaczy?
All right, that's going to do it for today. Remember to stop by PolishPod101.com and pick up the accompanying PDF. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.