The Polish Alphabet
This page contains a table containing and explaining the Polish alphabet, and letters which help you pronounce the words in a given language. You will also learn about the different consonants and vowels.
The Polish alphabet is a modified version of the Latin alphabet and consists of 32 letters. It includes all the letters used in the English alphabet, as well as additional letters with diacritic marks, such as the "ą," "ć," "ę," "ł," "ń," "ó," "ś," "ź," and "ż."
One unique aspect of the Polish alphabet is the use of diacritic marks, which are added to certain letters to indicate different sounds. For example, the letter "ą" is pronounced as a nasal "o" sound, while the letter "ę" is pronounced as a nasal "e" sound. The letter "ł" is pronounced as a "w" sound, but with the tongue pressed against the teeth instead of the lips.
Another important aspect of the Polish language is the pronunciation of certain letter combinations. For example, the letters "sz" and "cz" are pronounced as the English "sh" and "ch" sounds, respectively, while the letter combination "rz" is pronounced as a slightly rolled "r" sound.
The Polish alphabet is used to write the Polish language, which is the second most widely spoken Slavic language, after Russian. It is an official language of Poland and is also spoken by millions of people around the world, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Germany.
By learning the Polish alphabet, you can begin to read and write in Polish and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the language and culture. With practice and patience, anyone can master the Polish alphabet and open up a world of knowledge and understanding of this fascinating language.
Make sure to check our Learn Polish page, which contains several lessons that might help you in your learning process.
Here is the Polish alphabet (lower case): a ą b c ć d e ę f g h i j k l ł m n ń o ó p r s ś t u w y z ź ż. (upper case): A Ą B C Ć D E Ę F G H I J K L Ł M N Ń O Ó P R S Ś T U W Y Z Ź Ż.
|a as in father tak thus, so, yes, raz once|
|ą as in dome są they are, wąż snake|
|The sound ą is pronounced like om, except that the lips or tongue are not completely closed to pronounce the m, leaving a nasal resonance instead.|
|b as in big bok side, aby so that|
|bi- as in beautiful bieg course, run, race, tobie to you|
|c as in fits co what, noc night, taca tray|
|ch as in hall chata cottage, ucho ear, dach roof|
|The sound of ch is much raspier and noisier than English h.|
|ci- as in cheek ciasto cake, cicho quiet|
|cz as in chalk czas time, gracz player, tęcza rainbow|
|ć as in cheek ćhoc although, nićmi thread (Inst. pl.)|
|The letters ć and ci- are pronounced the same. The combination ci- is used before a vowel. The letter c before i is pronounced like ć/ci-. The sound of ć/ci-, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English )y), is different from that of cz, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "r".|
|d as in do data date, lada counter|
|dz as in odds cudzy foreign, wodze reins|
|dzi- as in jeans dziadek grandfather, ludzie people|
|dź as in jeans wiedźma witch. ludźmi people-Instr.pl.|
|dż as in jaw dżez jazz, radża rajah|
| The letters dź and dzi- are pronounced the same. The combination dzi- is used before a vowel. The letters dz before i are pronounced like dź/dzi-.|
The sound of dź/dzi-, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "y", is different from that of dż, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "r".
|e as in ever ten this (masc.), ale but, Edek Eddie|
|ę as in sense gęE goose, tęsknic long for|
|The sound ę is pronounced like em, except that the lips or tongue are not completely closed to pronounce the m, leaving a nasal resonance instead. At the end of a word, the letter ę is normally pronounced the same as e: naprawdę "naprawde".|
|f as in felt farba paint, lufa rifle-barrel, blef bluff|
|g as in get guma rubber, noga leg, foot|
|gi- bug you giełda stock-market, magiel mangle|
|h as in hall hak hook, aha aha!|
|Pronounced the same as ch (see above), the letter h appears mainly in words of foreign origin.|
|i as in cheek list letter, igła needle|
|j as in you, boy jak as, raj paradise, zając hare|
|k as in keg kot cat, rok year, oko eye|
|ki- like you kiedy when, takie such (neut.)|
|l as in love las forest, dal distance, fala wave|
|ł as in wag, bow łeb animal head, był he was, ołowek pencil|
|mi- harm you miara measure, ziemia earth|
|m as in moth mama mama, tom volume|
|n as in not noc night, pan sir, ono it|
|ni- canyon nie no, not, nigdy never|
|ń as in canyon koń horse, hańba disgrace|
|The letters ń and ni- are pronounced the same. The combination ni- is used before a vowel. The letter n before i is pronounced like ń/ni-.|
|o as in poke pot sweat, osa wasp, okno window|
|ó as in toot ból pain, ołówek pencil|
|The letter ó is pronounced the same as u.|
|p as in pup pas belt, strap, łapa paw, cap billy-goat|
|pi- stop you piana foam, łapie he catches|
|r as in arriba (Span.) rada advic, kara punishment, dar gift|
|The sound r is pronounced by trilling the tip of the tongue, as in Spanish or Italian.|
|rz as in pleasure rzeka river, morze sea|
|The letter-combination rz is pronounced the same as ż; see below.|
|s as in sad sam the same (masc.), pas belt, rasa breed|
|si- sheep siano hay, sito sieve|
|sz as in shark szal frenzy, dusza sou,|
|ś as in sheep oś axle, kwaśny sour, śpi he sleeps|
|The letters ś and si- are pronounced the same. The combination si- is used before a vowel. The letter s before i is pronounced like ś/si-. The sound of ś/si-, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "y", is different from that of sz, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "r".|
|t as in top tam there, data date, kot cat|
|u as in toot but shoe, tu here, ucho ear|
|w as in vat wata cotton wadding, kawa coffee|
|y as in ill dym smoke, ty you (sg.)|
|z as in zoo zupa soup, faza phase|
|zi- azure ziarno grain, zima winter|
|ź as in azure wyraźny distinct, źle badly|
|ż as in pleasure żaba frog, plaża beach|
|The letters ź and zi- are pronounced the same. The combination zi- is used before a vowel. The letter z before i is pronounced like ź/zi-. The sound of ź/zi-, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "y", is different from that of ż, pronounced with the mouth in the position of English "r".|
Interesting facts about the Polish alphabet
1) The Polish language has a unique letter called "Ł" (pronounced as "w" in English), which is not found in other Slavic languages. The letter has a crossbar that distinguishes it from the English letter "L."
2) The Polish alphabet used to have a letter called "soft L" (Łatwe L), which was a combination of the letters "L" and "I". It was used to represent a specific sound in the Polish language. However, this letter is no longer in use today.
3) The letters "Q," "V," and "X" are not commonly used in the Polish language, and only appear in borrowed words from other languages.
4) The diacritic mark called "kreska" is used in the Polish alphabet to change the pronunciation of letters. For example, the letter "c" with a kreska (ć) is pronounced as "ch" in English.
5) The Polish alphabet was officially standardized in the 20th century, and has gone through several changes and modifications throughout history, including the addition of new letters and the removal of obsolete ones.
I hope the content of this page was useful to you, and that you learned some Polish alphabet, consonants and vowels. Try to memorize them to be able to use them in your daily conversation. Learning about the unique aspects of the Polish alphabet can help you appreciate the language and its rich history even more.