why are the ź and ś often pronounced like ż and sz? I was expecting them to be pronounced with no "hush" (this is hard to explain, but if you compare to Russian then ś is сь and ź is зь, but I hear them pronounced like шь and жь)
They should be сь and зь respectively, as you said, and the pronounciation seems quite okay to me... if you hear it differently, then consider what your intuition told you to be the correct version.
well they don't seem to be the same to me, for example compare the words gęś and гусь, the first one sounds like "gensh" and the second one is "gus'" (no hush there), then maź sounds like "mazh" and мазь is maz'
Well, what I heard on forvo seems quite similar for гусь and not at all similar for мазь. Still, it's infinitely easier for you to understand ź and ś and such sounds than to a person that's not native in any Slavic language... even if the comparison between сь and ś is far from perfect.
English speaker here. I have to memorize the spelling of everything because I can't distinguish between many pairs of similar (to my ears) sounds in Polish
I think the pronunciation of the alphabet here is quite okay, apart from the very veird 'ch' - just focus on normal 'h', it's the same sound after all. Oh, also 'cz' sounds to me a bit palatalized for no reason. But anyway, it's worth taking a look, especially that they also have comparison of similar sounds.
I listened to "gęś" on forvo and it sounds like one of them is pronounced more similar to шь, and the other one is more similar to сь...
they are not exactly the same sound of course (ź and ś are less "hush" than ż and sz), but still more "hush" than what I expected
I hear ż as ш and ź as шь. No зь or сь at all.
EDIT: I meant as ж and жь. Ш and шь only after a voiceless consonant, right.
yeah in some cases ż is pronounced as sz (like after a voiceless consonant), but in Russian there is no difference between ш and шь pronunciation
well for example in Russian transcription of Polish ź and ś are transcripted as зь and сь (so maybe they were pronounced like that before)