I'm really struggling with Polish pronunciation. The examples for the pronunciation of consonants just don't seem to add up to me:
- dź niedźwiedź jeans [ʥ] ::::::::::
- dż dżem jam [d͡ʐ] / [ʤ]
To me, the 'j' in "jeans" and "jam" sound exactly the same... Maybe there is a minute difference in that the mouth position changes due to the different vowels that come after the 'j'?
I have the same situation here:
- ś cześć sheep [ɕ] ::::::::::
- sz proszę ship [ʂ] / [ʃ]
I just can't see how they justify different IPA symbols.
Can anyone help me out here? Any help would be appreciated! (Sorry for the weird layout; I've tried to edit it but it doesn't seem to register spaces!)
I'm suspicious of that example, as I have no idea how the "sh" of English "sheep" and "ship" are different in any way.
I'm not entirely sure if my method is correct, but I've been learning Polish for a while and I've been told I have good pronunciation.
I pronounce the "ś," "ć," and "ź" sounds (along with their digraphic counterparts "si," "ci" and "zi") as in (American) English "sheep," "cheap" and "pleasure." Likewise, "dź" (just "ź" with an alveolar stop before it) as in "jeep."
However, with the "hard" sounds ("sz," "cz," "ż/rz"), you want to curl your tongue slightly so that the tip creates friction against the alveolar ridge. No other part of your tongue should be touching your palate. If you do it right, when saying "sz" there might be a slight whistling sound as the air passes over the tip of your tongue through your teeth. If you listen to a Polish person say "czas," for example, and then "ciasteczka," the first word sounds more like the tongue tip punching the alveolar ridge, almost like a 't' sound with friction, while the second is gentler. With sounds like "dż" or its voiceless counterpart "trz," you do the same thing but press your tongue against the ridge and release the stop.
Now, if only I could hear the difference between the initial sounds of "chyba" and "hałas"!
You, sir (or madam), deserve a lingot simply for teaching my body to do something it had never done before: I had no idea I could make a whistling noise like that! I got way more excited than I should have...
Have a second lingot for helping me with my pronunciation so effectively!
Thank you! :)
Nice, I'm glad I could help! No worries, I felt similarly when I discovered it, trying over and over again to pronounce "trzy" correctly. Phonology is really a kind of exercise; ear, mind and muscles all need to cooperate, and sometimes it takes a surprising amount of effort to successfully make a sound some other culture figured was simple enough to feature in a common numeral!
The thing is, neither dż nor dź are exactly the English j.
You pronounce j in jeans with your tongue touching upper teeth (or upper alveolar ridge), right? To pronounce dż you also have to touch the alveolar ridge with your tongue, but only with the tip of it.
Now try to say dż but with your tongue touching lower teeth (while tongue lying flat). That's dź.
Ofc this differentiation works for all these weird Polish letters (sz-ś, cz-ć and so on).
There is a part in history, when Spanish arrived to Mexico and as they couldn't spell or pronounce letter X, they wrote down MeJico. As for them sounded the same (or the most similar possible). I am just interpreting polish and other languages in a different way, still understanding the grammar and speaking differences. Is the way is better for me to learn and faster. But each of us could stick 100% to the "rules". Nie??
But are you sure you are not making it harder?
Is making your own rules easier than following ones that exist? if you decide that sz, cz, rz, dz, dź, dż, have one letter silent, but other creates different sound then normally,?
I as a Polish speaker know that letter "s" is this sound, but if you mix sz and si it means "s" can be three sounds.