też (sound devocalization at the end of a word)

elroy

Imperfect Mod
US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
Cześć,

In the same recording that I referred to in a previous thread (on the twelfth page of this file), the woman pronounces the "ż" in "też" in two different ways.

When she says "też dobrze," she pronounces it normally (voiced). When she says "Ja też muszę iść" she pronounces it like a "sz" (unvoiced).

The book states that the letter "ż" is pronounced like a "sz" (unvoiced) at the end of a word - so I would have expected the pronunciation to be /tesz/ both times.

Are both pronunciations acceptable? Are there rules dictating when there has to be a pronunciation change and when there doesn't?

As a matter of fact, it would be great if we could extend this discussion to other voiced sounds that - according to the book - become unvoiced at the end of a word. The voiced sounds b, d, dz, g, rz, w, z, ź, and ż are supposed to be pronounced like the unvoiced sounds p, t, c, k, sz, f, s, ś, and sz, respectively, at the end of a word. Does this always apply, or are there exceptions? If so, are there rules for when devocalization does not occur? Is it a dialectal thing?

I would appreciate any insight on the matter. Dziękuję. :)
 
  • venenum

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Croatia
    Actually, Elroy, ż is pronunced the same as "rz", and ź is pronunced the same as "zi", and sz is pronunced as voiced version of ś (si). (At least, this is the way I understood this.
    Natives, correct me if I'm wrong!
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You are right, Venenum, but the book says that "ż" (or "rz") becomes "sz" at the end a word (see the third page of the pronunciation guide). The dialogue seems to follow this rule in one instance and to go against it in another.
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Elroy, "ż" may not lose its voice if the next word starts with a voiced consonant or a vowel like in your case you described ("ja też muszę iść"), especially if there is no pause in between. This will work the same for all other voiced consonants. Voiced consonants lose voiceness at the end of the word or in front of voiceless consonants provided they are at the end of a clause (there's no stop).

    Here's another example:
    mój mąż nie idzie
    If you make a pause after 'mąż' ż will be pronounced as sz, otherwise as ż
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Thanks, Anatoli. :)

    According to what you said, it must be voiced in both sentences. However, I listened to the recording several times and it sounded to me as though it were unvoiced before "muszę." Perhaps I've been just hearing wrong. :(

    Thanks for the information in any case. I had been under the impression that voiced consonants were always pronounced as unvoiced sounds at the end of a word - but I see now that there are exceptions.
     

    Marga H

    Senior Member
    Poland,Polish
    Dobry wieczór!
    Anatoli has done a good explanation,but a wrong example.
    The voiced sounds are pronounced at the end of the word like unvoiced:ż=sz,d=t,g=k etc.But if a next word begins by voiced sound and 2 words are pronounced together it is easier to pronounce the last sound voiced.But it doesn't concerne m or n.
    So:Tez mam czas(teszmam)
    Też dobrze (teżdobrze) d is voiced
    Mój mąż nie idzie (mąsznie )
    Mąż zawołał(mążzawołał)
    I agree with Monika we didn't realise that Polish is so complicated.
    But don't worry about this rule,it is simply easier to pronounce this way and it works automatically.
    Powodzenia!
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Thank you, Marga! :)

    It all makes sense now - Anatoli's rule applies, but "m" and "n" are exceptions! This also fits in with the pronunciations I heard.

    Thanks to everyone. This was a great discussion!
     

    Anatoli

    Senior Member
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Dobry wieczór!
    Anatoli has done a good explanation,but a wrong example.
    The voiced sounds are pronounced at the end of the word like unvoiced:ż=sz,d=t,g=k etc.But if a next word begins by voiced sound and 2 words are pronounced together it is easier to pronounce the last sound voiced.But it doesn't concerne m or n.
    So:Tez mam czas(teszmam)
    Też dobrze (teżdobrze) d is voiced
    Mój mąż nie idzie (mąsznie )
    Mąż zawołał(mążzawołał)
    I agree with Monika we didn't realise that Polish is so complicated.
    But don't worry about this rule,it is simply easier to pronounce this way and it works automatically.
    Powodzenia!
    Polish and Russian must be different in this respect that it doesn't concern m or n.
     
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