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Our Quick and Easy-to-Read Guide on the Polish Alphabet

With all the reputation about Polish being one of the most difficult languages to learn, there luckily comes a piece of good news: The Polish alphabet is not entirely different from the English one.

 

If you are ready to get familiar with a few singularities and to master them in no time, you are on the right track to start your adventure with one of the fastest growing languages in Europe (it’s also the second most spoken language in England).

Polish Dictionary

Basics of the Polish Alphabet

The Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet. Which means that the basic letters are the same ones used in English. However, Polish includes also some letters with diacritical marks.

 

The total count of letters in the Polish alphabet is 32.There are 9 vowels and 23 consonants and 7 letters among them contain diacritics: the acute accent (ć); the overdot (ż); the tail (ą); or the stroke (ł). What’s more, the letters q, v and x are not counted among Polish letters, as there is no need to use them in Polish wording. They appear only in words of foreign origin.

 

The table below gathers all the Polish letters with their names, examples and how they sound in English. As you can see, the Polish alphabet isn’t too difficult for native English speakers 😉

 

Letter Polish name Similar English sound Example
A a a like a in large artysta
Ą ą a; a with tail nasal o (a bit like o in own) mąka
B b be like b in bed biuro
C c ce like ts in pits cyrk
Ć ć cie; ce with accent like ch in cheap, but a bit softer mieć
D d de like d in dog dom
E e e like e in bed pies
Ę ę ę; e with tail nasal e pękaty
F f ef like f in fingers fortepian
G g gie like g in go garnek
H h ha like h in hammer hamak
I i i like ee in meet ikra
J j jot like y in yes jajko
K k ka like k in king kot
L l el like l in light latarka
Ł ł like w in will igła
M m em like m in mother mama
N n en like n in not narty
Ń ń eń; en with accent like ny in canyon koń
O o o like o in long oko
Ó ó o with accent; ”closed u” like oo in wood góra
P p pe like p in people portki
R r er the sound is “trilled” r rak
S s es like s in sound syty
Ś ś eś; es with accent like sh in sheep, but softer ślimak
T t te like t in stop tata
U u u; “open u” like oo in wood ukrop
W w wu like v in vow woda
Y y y; igrek like i in bit (very short) myjka
Z z zet like z in zoo zebra
Ź ź ziet; zet with accent somewhat like si in vision, but softer źrebak
Ż ż żet; zet with dot like si in vision żebro

 

But it’s not over. The Polish alphabet has these formations called “digraphs”. Digraphs are when two letters are used to write one sound. You can think of it like the sh in sheep or fish. There are 7 digraphs used in Polish: ch, cz, dz, dź, dż, rz and sz.

 

Easy, right?

 

Oh, and there’s also trigraphs, such as dzi. Like in dziecko or dziki.

LingQ

Alright, you know the alphabet, but how do the letters sound?

The only way you’ll improve your Polish listening and speaking is by finding good Polish content that you can listen to and read out loud.

 

That’s where LingQ comes in (available for Android and iOS).

LingQ Mobile

 

LingQ has thousands of hours of content. Content that you can listen to and read at the same time. The focus here is to provide you with content you love and if you can’t find it in the library, you can import your own.

 

For example, do you like Polish music? You can import any song into LingQ and create a lesson to follow along the lyrics and read each word’s translation. The great thing about LingQ’s app is that everything is jam-packed into one, and it’s also on mobile which means you can take your music (or podcasts, videos, and so on) on the go.

 

Learn Polish on LingQ

 

Take a look out our guide to importing Polish songs into LingQ to find out more. Remember, you can import any content into LingQ as long as you have the transcript (audio is a bonus). That means you can have an infinite number of lessons in your LingQ account to study off of and never get bored.

 

So what are you waiting for? Start your Polish journey with LingQ and content you enjoy.

 

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Agnieszka Meljon is a native speaker of Polish. In addition to English, she has studied German for 12 years. She speaks also basic Spanish and French

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