https://www.duolingo.com/arminia11_web_de

Polish Joke.

Optometrist shows a card printed with "czercypqzxt" to his Polish patient. "Can you read this?" Polish man replies, "Can I read it? I know the guy!"

June 25, 2018

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/WarsawWill

Excellent! Have some lingots.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KVRMx

...and that was just his first name....

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EboneyAtki

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Rafal-Majewski

Can someone explain me this joke?

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WarsawWill

These "consonant clusters", such as "szcz", which are a feature of Polish, are very strange for English speakers (and apparently also for Germans - see pokinho1's link). We rarely have more than two consonants in a row. The joke is the idea that this apparently impossibly sounding word, with eight consonants in a row, might actually exist. Of course it doesn't, but there's a street name in Warsaw with seven. See my other comment.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Rafal-Majewski

Oh, 'x' and 'q' misled me, because they aren't in the Polish alphabet.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WarsawWill

I think that was part of the joke. :)

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WarsawWill

Warsaw street names were my first test, in order of difficulty (for me):

Wałbrzyska
Świętokrzyska
Park Szczęśliwice
Krakowskie Przedmieście
Plac Trzech Krzyży

But their bark is worse than their bite. We have most of the sounds in English, it's just putting them together that's the trick. And of course, being Scottish, I have no problems with "Politechnika, Ochota, Mochnackiego", etc.

I've just found this - seven consonants in a row. But in fact it's easy enough to say.
Bliżne Łaszczyńskiego

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

y is a vowel not a consonant

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jellei

The question is if it makes sense to count consonants separately if they create one sound, like sz, cz, ch etc. ;) After all, it's just the way the sound is represented, whether it's one or two characters doesn't change anything.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/HenkKooiman

No, you are right, but to non-Polish people it still looks quite spectacular :) Although, in Dutch, we have for example: 'angstschreeuw' (cry of fear).

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KVRMx

Well...a very fitting word.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RazTheOne

In swedish we also have a word with 8 consonants. This is the first time I see this somewhere else :D The swedish word is: Världsschlager, meaning World hit, like in hit song. Sure, schlager is originally a german word, but swedish is full of burried german words, which also seems the case with polish since a lot of polish words are the same as swedish (the only explanation that I can find for this since polish and swedish are from two separate families of language is that the poles and the swedes have borrowed the same words from the german)

There's also a very common joke in Sweden regarding the poles :D It goes like this, in some different constelations:

Den här saken är ifrån Polen, det syns på lacken!

It translates to: This thing is from Poland, the lacqeur shows!

The pun disappeares when translated, but "på lacken" (pronounced [paw lacken] sounds like the swedish word "polacken" (the pole).

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Tilo_K

In German there's “Polacken” too, naming the Polish people, but it's pejorative, so better don't use it.

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jellei

While "hit" is rather more common, we also say "szlagier" ;)

July 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KVRMx

Världsschlager and szlagier .. I wonder if the English word for hitting someone which could leave them stunned is related? “ Slug / slugged”

July 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KVRMx

Those Germans!!! .... ; ) Thanks for sharing.

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WarsawWill

I was talking about the reaction of an English speaker when they first see these clusters. It was also meant to be a light-hearted comment, not a serious linguistic analysis.

June 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jellei

Yeah, I know :)

June 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Tilo_K

s-z-c-z are 4 letters, but consonants are sounds, not letters. The two digraphs here – sz and cz – correspond to the sounds [ʃ] like in “ship” and [ʧ] like in “chip”, so “szcz” depicts actually only 2 or 3 consonants, depending on whether you count the affricate [ʧ] as one or two consonants.

PS: If you are confused by the technical terms and characters, Wikipedia is your friend.

PPS: I see from the following conversation that you are aware of the flippancy of your comment. My answer shall provide some linguistic background for interested readers.

Btw, I also like this little game of reading street names in Poland. Clusters are still fun.

June 27, 2018
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