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Learning: Polish Language


We begin with the Polish alphabet which is uniquely different from the English alphabet. It is important to be at least a aware of the special characters in the Polish alphabet and what their use is. While it is possible to memorize some Polish words, phrases or names without this knowledge. It is quite another to be able to write or verbally communicate in Polish without an understanding of these characters. In this section we will provide some tools and resources to get you started towards communicating in the Polish language.


Polish Alphabet:
Polish " L~ " ()
Poor hand writing may result in this character look like a "K". As an example, it's possible that a name such as L~ipik might be records by a clerk as Kipik. Or, in the case of how it sounds, Wipik. Such errors in Polish names should always be considered especially when having difficulty in locating family records.

This is a simple introduction to the Polish alphabet. To the right is a table of the alphabet. As you look it over you will notice that it has is similar to the English alphabet except some of the characters include an accent or graphical marked called a diacritic. There is no " Q ", " V " or " X " in the Polish alphabet.

In this table are rough (examples) of how a Polish letter sounds where it is different than the English sound of that letter. To the far right of the Polish alphabet table is another table that is helpful to hear some of these sounds. This table has words/phrases and an audio for sample for each. Look at the Polish spelling then hit the audio and listen closely for the sounds of the alphabet for each word.

This is a very basic introduction to the Polish alphabet. If you are interested in learning how to write and speak Polish, it is best to find a sources such as a formal class, books, or even other internet sites devoted to this subject.

Polish Sounds:
The sound table below was created by Kris Koperski and is an excellent tool for hearing some of Polish alphabet sounds used in words. A word/phrase in English is given along with it's Polish spelling, but you can also hear an audio of how it sounds in Polish.

Polish alphabet

Audio Sampling of Polish
English Polish
(click for audio)
Hi, Hello, Bye Czesc Chesht
How are you? Jak sie masz? Yac shye mash?
Good Dobrze Dobzheh
So, so Tak sobie Takh sobieh
I don't understand Nie rozumiem Nyeh rozoomieah
Yes Tak Takh
No Nie Nyeh
Good morning Dzien dobry Djane dobryh
Good evening Dobry wieczor Dobryh veechoorh
Good night Dobranoc Dobrahnots
Goodbye Do widzenia Doh vitseneeah
Thanks Dziekuje Dsjencooyah
Please Prosze Prosheh
Excuse me, I am sorry Przepraszam Psheprasham
Congratulations Gratuluje Gratoolooyeh
Merry Christmas Wesolych Swiat Vesowich Shviant
Happy New Year Szczesliwego Nowego Roku Shchensilivego Novego Rokoo
Happy Birthday Sto lat Stoh lat
Grandma Babcia Babtsyah
Grandpa Dziadek Dsyadekh
I love you Kocham Ciebie Coham tseebyeh
I miss you Brakuje mi Ciebie Bracooyeh mee tseebyeh
Warsaw Warszawa Varshavah
Poland Polska Polscah
Christopher Krzysztof Cshershtoph
This reference table was created by Kris(Chris) Koperski who has permitted us to share it here you. Visit the author's Home Page for additional information.

Polish Consonants:
Consonant Sounds
l~ / same as w in woman
Z~ / same as s in street
ch / same as h in happy
cz / same as ch in church
dz / same as d followed by z
dz~ / same as d followed by z~
rz / same as s in treasure
sz / same as sh in share

Polish Diacritics:
How Polish diacritics (accented) letters are typical represented in type:

Use of the tilde " ~ " is the accepted practice for typing Polish diacritic letters. (Pronunciation examples from "Fred" Hoffman.)

TypeAccent locatedPronounced "sound"
A~ a~belownasal, pronounced "on" (or as "om" when following a B or P, Da~browski = Dombrowski)
C~ c~ above pronounced roughly "ch"
E~ e~ belownasal, generally pronounced "en" (or "em" when following a B or P, [De~bin~ski = Dembin~ski])
L~ l~ angled slash pronounced much like English W
N~ n~above kind of like "ni" in "onion"
O~ o~ above sounding much like "oo" in "book".
S~ s~ above kind of like "sh" in "sheep"
Z~ z~ above a soft, hissing "zh" sound
Z* z* dot above a chunkier "zh" sound
Note: Another means to reprint the Polish alphabet characters is using the "alt" key and numbers. This page of Ralph Prinkle gives the coding for doing this.

"The materials on this page represent a very basic introduction to the Polish language that is primarily focused on giving you enough understanding for researching your Polish ancestry. We encourage you to utilized the links resources below that provide a great deal more than what is available here.