Translation:Excuse me.

December 11, 2015

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First entschuldigung in German, then undskyld in Danish, and now przepraszam in Polish! It seems like people don't like apologizing too much haha


In my opinion, out of the three (Polish, German, and Danish), "Entschuldigung" is the easiest one to pronounce.


Indeed, German pronunciation is not as difficult as its grammar!


German grammar can be tricky at the beginning, but it becomes second nature after a while.


For me as a german native speaker polish definitely is the most difficult language to pronounce


I think so, despite it being the longest one hahaha


That is so true. :D


Ha ha unskyld is Much shorter! Quicker to say Danish are fast... Ursäkta can be said without the U (schekta) if in a hurry... Sweden have the quickest one - say it fast and disappear!!!

(though Danish can shorten unskyld to N skyld also very quick)


To be honest, in very informal and slang language I've heard the word "przepraszam" replaced with some variation of the English "sorry". From actual "sorry" (but pronounced as if it were a Polish word "sory"), to "sorki", and even simpler "sry". You should only do that with your friends and if it's not anything serious, otherwise it would sound like you don't really mean it.


I can't imagine "sry" being said, only written... but that's just me. This one really looks dishonest though. Of course "sorry" wouldn't be said in a serious situation anyway, I think.


In which context would one use "Przepraszam"?

1) When one is trying to walk past someone

2) When one accidentally bumps into someone and would like to apologise

3) When one is trying to grab someone's attention (eg. a waiter, attendant etc)

4) When one is apologising and asking for forgiveness


In all of them, but in the 4th context better will be "Wybacz mi" which means "Forgive me"


I knew Polish as a toddler so have a super basic understanding. Anyhow, I always thought it was best suited to your first two examples. BUT that is only based on my contextual experience. I hope that helps!


It's worth noticing that "przepraszam" is technically a 1st person form of the verb "przepraszać", to apologize, so it literally means "I apologize". Same thing with "proszę" - "prosić" - "to ask (for something)" and "dziękuję" - "dziękować" - "to thank".


That's really good to know, dziękuję!


This audio is rather fast; is the pr pronounced to any degree?


In Polish "rz" is one sound that is also identical to "ż". After unvoiced consonants it is also devoiced and sound like "sz" – like in this example.


since there's "p" and "rz" right after - it's pronounced more like [pshe-pra-sham], i think.


I second this question-- the 'rz' digraph makes me think the p is silent and it begins with a soft j sound as given here: http://mowicpopolsku.com/polish-alphabet-pronunciation/. but forvo makes it sound like 'sh'? http://forvo.com/word/przepraszam/#pl


I don't think there even are any silent letters written in Polish - I've always found those confusing in English and French. P is not voiced, so it makes rz to not be voiced, and not voiced equivalent of rz is sz - exactly the sh sound. So yep, you are hearing that well :). The prz combination is rather common in Polish, BTW.


One could say that in standard Polish the letter "c" in the "ch" digraph is silent, but etymologically speaking this would be a simplification. Some dialects, especially in the east, still differentiate "h" and "ch" in pronunciation (akin to Ukrainian г and х or just like in Czech) and it is "h" that merged into "ch" rather than the other way.


ok thanks! so 'prz' will always sound like 'sh' ... got it :)


like"p'sh," more like :). and no problem :)


Not to be particular, but is P "voiced" in English? It's kind of a breath sound. (Sorry, I'm not a linguist.) I'm hearing the "stop" of the p prior to the "sh" sound. I'm hearing what Gumiennik described.


There is no such thing! A voiced "P" is a "B"!


The p is "aspirated" at the beginning of most words in English. It's not voiced though.


As far as I can tell, "p" is not voiced in general, because I have yet to see a language which has it pronounced in a way that would be loud and make one's vocal chords vibrate (touch to one's throat when saying stuff makes one feel the difference between voiced and not voiced. But I'm not a linguist either, I quote a special ed sort of definition.)


You should be hearing (en: psheh-PRAH-shum)


How would you say rzechula? Its a last name


English spelling: Zhehula or Zhekhula

The kh is a hard "H". You don't actually hear or pronounce the "K". Phonetically /x/


Does it look like a Polish last name?


It seems there are many People called "Rzechuła" in Poland, so it is possible.


I'm not Polish, so I couldn't tell you definitively, but "RZ" is definitely a Polish phoneme, unless it was anglicized from the Czech "Ř," in which case it would be pronounced "Rzhekhula." The "CH" phoneme is Western Slavic but is also found in Germanic languages.


In that case, it would be pronounced "Zhehuwa" (English spelling of the pronunciation)


Yes, but 'h' is a very misleading English spelling for Polish 'ch'. English 'h' is not pronounced like Polish 'h/ch'.


(as you know - just clarifying for others)


Polish "przepraszam" can mean "Excuse me", "I am sorry" or "Pardon" depends on context. http://en.pons.com/translate/polish-english/przepraszam


Prazepam is a benzodiazepine


If I get too many of it, I start seising..


Am polish an my answer exuseme. For. Przepraszam because its not clear. And i was wrong


Why doesn't Polish use cyrilic letters since it's quite similar to other languages that do? Seems like that would make pronunciation infinitely easier.


Cyrillic and Latin are both alphabets. On itself, neither gives inherent advantage over the other in terms of pronunciation. Many supposed shortcomings of the current orthography over the Cyrillic could be simply solved by modifying the current alphabet rather that full out conversion (and even then actual Poles don't consider those a problem enough to warrant such change).

So what would the pros and cons of conversion would be?

+Increased written comprehension between Polish and East Slavic languages (and to some extent with South Slavic as well) in two ways. Poles have probably more to gain here than other Slavs, since probably more people would learn Latin script anyway for another language (Cyrillic is less popular, but I've heard about people, me included, who learn it just to make it possible to sound out Cyrillic words for limited comprehension).

+The increase in popularity for Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian in Poland. The new script is only a slight barrier to entry, but for some potential learners it might look taller than it really is.

-The conversion costs would be gigantic. From roadsigns, to documents, to books… everything now had to be rewritten.

-For a long time there would be a case of biscriptism in written material. People would need to be proficient in both old and new script to live comfortably.

-Over time the older texts would become harder to read, as the old Latin orthography would come into misuse (and people would know Latin letters only from their experience with other languages, like English). Modern technology, digital ones included, allows for texts to survive for even longer than before. If we could do the conversion in the past, now it's pretty much a bit too late (and it will worsen over time).

-Many places only "accepts" Latin scripts (like names on sports teams' shirts). This would require us to perform the full romanization. Currently we can use the original spelling for names in such places (worst case scenario, it only undergoes a simple ASCIIfication).

-I simply don't see the social support for such change. We have to admit it, Poland and Russia has been political rivals for centuries. And while I know examples of friendships between people of those nations and don't find them surprising at all, this is not something the general population would accept. As Jellei alluded to, even 123 years of being a part of tsar Russia could not make us convert (I've heard of such ideas, but never fulfilled). The communists after WW2 probably didn't even try (especially since at that time we were just after the orthographic reform of 1936 which finally established the spelling we pretty much use today).

-We would have a harder time with font support. How many of the fancier looking ones remember to include Old Church Slavonic letters (which we would need at least two of, four if we include iotified variants)? Getting a couple of extra letters from one of the Latin extended blocks included in the font is probably easier than a few Cyrillic letters only we would use today. Similar issue with incompatible encoding (not common today, but something not entirely nonexistent); at worst we lose some letters here and there and you might be able to relatively easily reconstruct the original. If written in Cyrillic, it would be completely lost unless you are an expert with a lot of time or have a deciphering program.

-The argument about similar languages using Cyrillic is a little… strange. The entire West Slavic branch uses the Latin script, so unless you proposed a group change, then we would have even closer languages suddenly using another script.

-Let's admit it, English is the world's language. While you've just removed a barrier between Polish and East Slavics, you've just created one for English.

-Programming use English commands. Switching the script to Cyrillic would create additional hassle for anybody who ever needs to do some programming or use markup language. Web addresses also are written mostly in Latin script (even in Cyrillic-writing countries (it's in fact technically possible in some top level domains, just almost nobody does it)).


You're right! And not only that, many countries have switched to Latin alphabets and have thrown formerly Cyrillic alphabets into disuse.

Romania (very long ago), and Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan after Soviet times, and Bosnia/Herzegovina and Croatia after Yugoslavian times. And Belarus developed a precise Latin version of their Cyrillic alphabet (similar to Polish) for ease of exterior use.


I hope others took my comment as the joke it was intended. I am not a linguist so I merely made what I thought was an obviously humorous rhetorical comment/question for those who struggle learning Polish like I am. I come from a Russian background so for me it is a lot easier to read text in Cyrillic, where pronunciation is usually straight forward. I am able to guess the meanings of many Polish words with my Russian (and tiny bit of Ukrainian) knowledge yet figuring out the pronunciation is a whole other matter.

Thanks for all the comments. Some of you really went back in history with your responses. : ))


Here you go! hahaha, Polish in Cyrillic!

А Оў Б Ц Чь Д Э Эў Ф Г Х И Й К Ль Ў М Н Нь О У П Р С Шь Т У В Ы З Жь Ж, and the double consonants:

Cz Ch Sz Ść Rz


Some of my Cyrillic double letters representing Polish sounds can be replaced with Serbian Cyrillic:




Now that you've thoroughly exhausted the topic I'd like to ad just one word... "Braille"


what would make pronunciation for you better is treating Polish alphabet as separate from English one.


Why would we? We were not THIS DEEP under the tzar's boot... (I mean we were, but not to this extent)

Plus not every sound can be even written in Cyryllic, at least Russian Cyryllic.


That's true. Ę and Ą (the Cyrillic versions of these) were Old Church Slavonic letters that were removed from the Russian alphabet by Peter the Great. But Belarusian has Ў, which is Ł in Polish.


None of the Catholic countries have a reason to use Cyrillic, since the Roman (Latin) alphabet pre-dates Cyrillic (10th Century C.E.) by over 1000 years.


Because of the religion. Back in time, there were two christian rites in Europe: Western (Roman) and Eastern (Greek). Depending on which rite the country chose to be baptized in, there was also writing system in the package: for the Western rite it was Latin alphabet and for the Eastern rite it was Cyrillic. Since Poland was baptized in Western rite, here you have your answer why do we use Latin alphabet. :)


Is the p silent here?


No, silent letters are extremely rare in Polish.


I put 'I am sorry' which was correct. Is 'excuse me' also correct?


I know "excuse me" works but what about "I am sorry" and "sorry"?


All of those work, all of those actually are starred answers (best answers).


i know its supposed to be przePRAszam but i keep hearing PRZEpraszam


I'm afraid that the intonation of the text-to-speech is not to be trusted :|


No one speaks in poland " pardon", sorry or pszepraszam.


"pardon" is the English translation here, not Polish.


So rz is pronounced ш too ? ❤❤❤


Normally, it's more like ж, or at least that would be the equivalent. But since it comes after unvoiced P, the pronunciation changes to unvoiced.


I have a question for anyone willing to answer! In all previous lessons that involved, "pzrepraszam," it said that the translation was sorry. Is this an appropriate word to use for sorry and pardon me? (Sorry if this us a stupid question haha)


"Przepraszam" can literally be understood as "I apologize", although the most common translation is "I'm sorry". That means that it also works for just "sorry", as well as "pardon me".


Is there a difference between "sorry" and "pardon" in polish? how do you write them?


Rarely, you say "pardon" in Polish, that sounds rather formal. Generally both those are "przepraszam".

In informal Polish, English 'sorry' entered the language and we commonly say something that sounds more like "sory", it can also be changed to "sorki". But that's not something that would be accepted in a language course ;)

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