1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Polish
  4. >
  5. Tips for remembering Polish s…


Tips for remembering Polish spelling?

Like how English has that general rule "I before E except after C"? I mean something like that for Polish.

On a side note, here's an interesting (slightly nonsensical) Polish sentence called a perfect pangram, which is a sentence where every letter in the alphabet only occurs once. English ones like "Cwm fjord veg balks nth pyx quiz," are extremely hard to understand, but this Polish one uses relatively common, if hard to pronounce words: "Pójdźże, kiń tę chmurność w głąb flaszy."

This roughly translates as "Come on and drop your sadness into the depth of a bottle."

March 23, 2016



'Whack TV fjord quiz!', lynx begs PM. (Yes, I'm cheating by using initialisms.)

As for Polish pronunciation, I'm not sure what you're asking. 'I before E except after C' is a spelling rule in English that doesn't even work most of the time, but it has nothing to do with pronunciation. Polish, on the other hand, is very phonetic.


Garpike, I challenge your statement that "I before E except after C" is a spelling rule that doesn't work most of the time. I use it all the time and cannot recall being mislead. As for pronunciation vs. phonetic, I suspect that Jacky Is requesting to have a similar rule For the phonetics. Am I right Jacky? Garpike I do love your "Whack TV fjord quiz, lynx begs PM." Did you come up with that Just now? That is just fun to read and say!


I challenge your statement that "I before E except after C" is a spelling rule that doesn't work most of the time.

Disagreeing with this as I am, I deign to inveigh against it:
There is a surfeit of words wherein this rule can proficiently be shown to lack homogeneity (if we reify it sufficiently to have heterogeneity).
A few eidolons of a weird and feisty foreign species of word have inveigled thereinto, but most were beings of the ancient, preindustrial society of this sovereign nation.
Therefore it is inconceivable that it should be given weight—only villeins and plebeians could be so nescient! This heinous rule is counterfeit, inefficient and sufficiently unscientific as to forfeit obeisance, and this I reiterate by unveiling a sufficiency of counterexamples herein; are you seeing any of them?


Please tell me this is part of a dissertation that you wrote years ago. I'm not quite sure what you said but I do see many examples of "I before E except after C" clearly not working. I can't help feeling that I need to learn English before I can successfully learn another language.


I was just trying to shoehorn in as many examples as I could. It's just about comprehensible, but the style is dreadful. There are, however, more counterexamples than examples to this 'rule'; it's only so widely-known because a small number of words that do obey it are very common (like 'receive' and 'friend').


Are you telling me that this is the first time you wrote this collection of examples of when "I before E except after C" do not happen? Well, as always I have learned from interacting with you. WOW


Just to add there's a longer version of the "rule" that helps a bit.

i before e, Except after c, Or when sounded as "a," As in neighbour and weigh

It's about as useful as the rules which purport to allow you determine the gender of a noun in French but looking at the spelling. If you have no idea using the rule probably gives you a better than 50/50 chance of being right so go ahead. It doesn't allow you to forgo learning the spelling entirely though.


I said "a general rule," not "a hard and fast Esperanto-parts-of-speech-endings rule." There's well over 10,000 examples of "I before E except after C" not working, but that's not the majority of English's 350,000 words.


I feel a little better now. Thanks Jacky. There seems to be more than one way to approach an understanding of most situations. Let's have fun learning. Also, you have to give to garpike for being willing to help. You are two of my favorite people on Duolingo. Until next time. )))


Sorry, brain fart, I meant spelling! Wasn't thinking. Really sorry...


Ah, well, vytah told me one very useful rule on here, which was:

Polish spelling of ć, dź, ś, ź, ń sounds varies depending on context:

  • word-finally and before consonants they're spelt ć, dź, ś, ź, ń

  • before i they're spelt c, dz, s, z, n

  • before other vowels they're spelt ci, dzi, si, zi, ni

This was certainly useful to me; perhaps it might be useful to you, too.


those are real rules. I do not think there is any exception to those.

You also always say ś,ć,ź ń dź when it's s,c ,z,n,dz before "i" (with some foreign words as exceptions)


Sounds like a party! )))


I googled some spelling info for kids. Trouble is it's all rz/ż ch/h and u/ó and often relies on the knowledge of other forms.

Rz we write in endings -arz -erz -mierz -mistrz

Rz we write after : b, p, d, t, g, k, ch, j, w, Exceptions words : bukszpan, gżegżółka, kształt (shape), pszczoła (bee), Pszczyna, pszenica(wheat), adjectives ending with : - szy, - ejszy, np.: lepszy, nowszy, najlepszy, najnowszy, ładniejszy, mocniejszy, najładniejszy, najmocniejszy.

there is also "dż" which for Polish kisd sounds differently than drz but for English speakers may be difficult to distinguish.

Ż we write after letters: l, ł, r, n,

we write ż if it "changes" to g, dz, h, z, ź, s ( Ex we write "rz" if it changes to r. (EX dworzec - dworca ( station nominative- genitive)

U we write in endings -unek -uchna -uszka -uszek -uch -us -usia

U we write in verbs ending: uj ujesz uje np.: maluję, malujesz, maluje, wędruję, wędrujesz, wędruje.

U we write in verbs like: czuć, kuć, kłuć, pruć, snuć, np.: czuje, kuję, kłuję pruję, snuję.

Ó we write if other forms have: o, e, a

ex stół - stoły (table - tables nominative); przyjaciółka - przyjaciel (female friend, male friend); powtórzyć - powtarzać (to repeat perfective/imperfective)

Ó words ending with: - ów, np.: Julianów Tarłów Opatów z lasów chłopców

Ó words ending with:: - ówka, np.:
łamigłówka pocztówka złotówka

Exceptions: skuwka, wsuwka, zasuwka.

Ó words ending with: - ówna, np.:

Nowakówna Kucówna

We only write Ó at the beginning of those words : ósemka, ósmy, ów, ówczesny, ówcześnie,ówdzie. All others start with "u".


em, en, ę- spelling vs pronounciation

• ę we write in "native or assumed as native words like częsty, kolęda, ręka, wędrówka,
ę often changes to ą in other declination forms or other related words
* (ręka – rączka (hand - little hand; węża – wąż snake genitive-nominative);
• em and en we write in words of foreign origin: akcent, benzyna, dentysta, pensjonat, recenzja, talent, tempo;
• ę we write (but usually pronounce e):

  • in 1st person singular verbs od conjugation -ę, -esz and -ę, -isz: piję, piszę, palę, mówię, widzę, myślę;

  • in feminine singular and all plural past forms of of the verbs that have infinitive ending -ąć: wzięła, płynęły, płynęliśmy, zdjęliście, ;

  • in nominative and accusative of singular neuter nouns: bydlę, znamię, ramię;
  • in Accusative singular feminine (and masculine ending in nominative with -a): babcię, mężczyznę, kobietę, artystę;

em in first person singular of verbs umieć, wiedzieć, rozumieć: umiem, wiem, rozumiem.

Pronouncaition vs spelling

• ę like it's spelled before consonants f, w, s, z, ś, ź, sz, ż, ch: kęs, ciężar, język, węch;
• em, en like it's spelled before consonants b, p, d, t, c: akcent, stempel, kontynent.
Different • we write ę (you can hear em, en, eń) before
- b, p: bęben, tępy, zęby;
- t, d, c, dz, cz: tętno, pędzel, tęcza; - ć, dź: pięć, zięć, wszędzie; - k, g: błękit, Węgry. • em, en we write before f, w, s, z, sz, ch: benzyna, sens.

from http://portalwiedzy.onet.pl/140297,,,,em_en_e_pisownia_glosek,haslo.html


ę we write (but usually pronounce e): - in 1st person singular verbs of conjugation -ę, -esz and -ę, -isz

I've always wondered why it just sounded like 'e'! I thought I must have been missing some subtlety of pronunciation. Thank you for explaining and reassuring me that my ears still work!


Actually, it's not "e" but denalized "ę", some nasality should still remain but TTS pronounces it as "e".


I really love how depending on source we can find
"we usually say ę, but lighter"
or we ussually say "e" at the end of words.

(the source I cited had "ę piszemy (natomiast wymawiamy e)".


Ch we write after letter s np.: schab, schody, wschód.

Ch we write at the end of words , np.: na drogach, orzech, zuch. (exception druh)

ch we write if it "changes" to sz (ex mucha-muszka- fly - litte fly/bowtie)
h we write if it changes to g, ż, z, dz, (examples are all too far from each other to be good for Polish kids like (wahać się(to hesitate, oscilate)- waga (weight, balance, scales)

from http://www.zasady-pisowni.dyktanda.net/pisownia-ch.php


First I would like to make clear that my comment, "Sounds like a party" was made immediately after Jackie shared "an interesting (slightly nonsensical) Polish sentence called a perfect pangram." He explains what a perfect pangram is and what this one specifically is and then says, "This roughly translates as "Come on and drop your sadness into the depth of a bottle." This sentence struck me as a poetic invitation to come drink and forget your troubles. I suspect that once again my comment will not be under what I am commenting about. How does this happen? Now I would like to comment on what Hivemindx posted because I do not see a reply button under his post. Hivenindx, I had totally forgotten about, "or sounded as "a" As in neighbor and weigh" I had a grammar school flashback. Those were the days. Thanks for the memories.


unfortunately in Polish it sounds more like go than come, so it sounds depressing to me. I interpret it like go away and throw your bad mood into the bottle.

you commented under the main post and other comments were moved up, while your stayed the same, which is why it seems like you are not commenting what you wanted to.


How can I keep my comment under the main post so that I don't appear to be out of touch with reality? Why do other comments move up? This may sound petty in comparison to you guys discussing all this amazing linguistic information, but this is presently my concern. (Je suis rouge) )))


You cannot unfortunately. everybody should assume that you are commenting the main post, but the comments move depending on votes.


also this is not a rule but there are 34 words ending -fka, and more than 200 words ending -wka.

(the rule is szafa->szafka; ława->ławka)


„Ly”, „Łi”, and „Rzi” are either rare or nonexistent combinations. Use „Li”, „Ły”, and „Rzy”.


I just want to notify you that: "Pójdźże, kiń tę chmurność w głąb flaszy." is hardcore Polish, I believe this is first time anybody actually mentions those words and it's actual usage.


pójdźże, and w głąb are normal words (pójdźże might be regional)

"flasza and kiń are rare and sound archaic

chmurność is rare and sounds poetic (cloudiness)


I just saw it at #4 on this page: http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/pl.htm Hardest word to say at first for me was "pòjdźże". I guess that's said "pweedʒ-ʒeh" (/ʒ/ is the IPA letter for the sound you get from "s" in "measure" or "vision")


It's easier than you think.

It should be more like pooy[ʥ]-ʒeh; or more regional pooj[ʨ]-ʒeh
according to https://www.duolingo.com/skill/pl/Phrases dź is [ʥ] jeans and ć is [ʨ] -cheap

try IVONA https://www.ivona.com/pl/ because I'm really bad at approximation.

Also there is other famous phrase "zażółć gęślą jaźń" which is shortest sentence to have all Polish special letters.
(it means make a soul yellow using folk instrument "gęśle")


immery, You are a treasure. How have you become so knowledgeable?


I'm Polish.

And I don't know this stuff. I just google it in Polish and translate.


Is there a course on learning English grammar for English speakers? I am a native English speaker and my grammar still needs fixing up, my spelling is fine.

Learn Polish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.