10 English Pronunciation Errors by Polish Speakers

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If your mother tongue is Polish, you may find certain sounds in English more difficult than others. Here we present to you some of the common errors made by Polish-speaking students at Pronunciation Studio:

The audio in this article is by Pronunciation Studio teacher Tom Wisniowski who speaks GB English and Polish.

1. th

Polish speakers often replace the two ‘th’ consonant sounds /θ/ and /ð/ with /f/ and /d/:

I think there’s three of them.

2. /r/

/r/ in Polish is rolled – in English it is smooth:

train three dry crash

Also < r > is silent in English at the end of a syllable:

burn third cart her

3. Consonant / Vowel Joining

In English, where one word ends with a consonant and the next one begins in the vowel, the consonant moves to the next word, not so in Polish:

What͜ are͜  Ed͜  and Janet͜  eating?

4. Voiced Endings

Polish does not contain voiced sounds at the end of syllables, so Polish speakers often devoice the final consonant:

bed cab rag love

5. Aspiration

/p/, /t/, and /k/ are aspirated in English – they have a big explosive sound when they are released – but not for Polish speakers:

park came time

6. Short Vowels /æ/ /ʌ/ /ɑ:/

Polish speakers will often mispronounce the vowels /ʌ/, /æ/ and /ɑ:/ as Polish does not contain them, instead the Polish /a/ is often used. The following words should be pronounced with different vowel sounds:

hat hut heart

7. -ing Endings

Polish speakers often mispronounce -ing endings in two ways, firstly by adding a /k/, secondly by using an /n/:

I was walking, talking & singing.

8. /ʊ/ Diphthongs

English contains two diphthongs (double vowels) ending with ʊ, Polish speakers tend to mispronounce the first part and over stress the second:

Don’t go so slowly.
How now brown mouse?

9. are

‘are’ is a confusing word to pronounce with at least 5 pronunciations in English (see this article), Polish speakers often struggle with it, using just one pronunciation:

Are you ok?
Where are you going?
They aren’t here.

10. ‘o’

Polish is a phonetically written language, you say what you see. English is not so much and one spelling that confuses Polish speakers is ‘o’, which can produce 8 pronunciations in English (Polish speakers may use just 2):

got /ɒ/
do /u:/
go /əʊ/
pork /ɔ:/
gold /ɒʊ/
wolf /ʊ/
today /ə/
women /ɪ/


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By | 2017-02-02T12:01:51+00:00 November 28th, 2013|Accents, International Accents, Pronunciation, Teaching|0 Comments

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