Polish pronounciation for the word : Piję

"Piję": I listened to another Language App and it sounds different from what I hear on Duolingo. Could a fluent Polish speaker please clarify what it should sound like in phonetic type spelling? How does it differ really from "pije" when spoken? Thanks.

November 11, 2017


You are probably confused about the word-final realization of ę. In modern standard Polish there is a tendency to denasalize vowels which were pronounced with full nasality some time ago. Since most phonetic shifts occur asynchronically, some speakers adhere more to the old phonetic rules, and some have already completely embraced the new ones. Of course there is also the full continuum in between, with some speakers even pronouncing it inconsistently. Same goes for word-final ę.

Possible pronounciations are:

1) a full nasal diphthong: [ɛ̃w̃]

2) monophthong with significantly reduced nasality: [ɛ̃] ~ [ɛ]

3) a completely denasalizied open-mid front unrounded vowel: [ɛ]

Version 1) is very uncommon nowadays, although I hear it from time to time, especially in old recordings. It is considered to be hypercorrect, hence it sounds really pretentious and I do not recommend to pronounce it that way.

Both 2) and 3) are acceptable in my opinion, however 3) seems to be much more common.

November 11, 2017

I pronounce it as a mixture of 1) and 2) , something between 'pije' and 'pijeł', maybe closer to the second one. Middle-eastern Poland.

I have never noticed any difference in the way I and people I listen to speak. I don't know if it's small or just doesn't matter at all.

Was really surprised when someone told me several months ago that 3) is a correct pronunciation, btw.

November 11, 2017

Thank you too, JB, for your personal insight.

November 11, 2017

Thank you Alik for such a thorough explanation. ( I had sent a previous thank you reply to you but it seems to have evaporated?)

November 11, 2017
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