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English (British) vowels and Polish vowels
Examples for the Polish vowels:
- /i/ – mit ‘myth’,
- /ɛ/ – ten ‘this’,
- /a/ – kat ‘hangman’, lak ‘sealing-wax’,
- /ɔ/ – rok ‘year’,
- /u/ – luk ‘hatchway’, runy ‘runes’,
- /ɨ/ – by³ ‘he was/has been’.
Examples for the English (British) vowels:
- /i/ – tea, meet,
- /ɪ/ – it, kill, lucky,
- /e/ – men, ten, tell,
- /æ/ – cat, pal,
- /a/ – luck, dull, other,
- /ɑ/ – father, yard, heart,
- /ɒ/ – rock, dog,
- /o/ – saw, stalk, bought, call,
- /ʊ/ – look, put,
- /u/ – moon, runes, rule,
- /ɜ/ – girl, turn, word, kernel,
- /ə/ – about, colour, sister.
WARNING: Both English and Polish vowels differ from the standard vowels marked by IPA symbols. That is why I use /e/, /o/, /y/ elsewhere instead of /ɛ/, /ɔ/, /ɨ/ to make reading of Polish transcribed words easier for those who do not know the IPA symbols.
How to read the Polish vowels properly:
- /i/ – very similar to ee in meet, but short and uniform (without y-like ending);
- /e/ – between a in man and e in men, similar to e before a dark l in tell;
- /a/ – between o in mother and a in father, very similar to the first element of I /aj/, a little more opened than u in dull;
- /o/ – very similar to the first element of oy, oi in boy, coin, between o in spot and or in sport, it is rounded very weakly and closer to standard /ʌ/ rather than /ɔ/;
- /u/ – similar to oo in moon, root, but short and uniform (without w-like ending);
- /y/ – similar to i before a dark l like in silk, kill.
All the Polish vowels are short.
Main page – Polish grammar