Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Phonetics - confusion? Go to page 19., 20 Aug 2012
This review is from: Polish For Dummies (Paperback)
Having only had a quick read through the first section, it looks mostly quite good.

Polish is not easy, and I note the book says it is not for those who want to speak fluently, but is instead for those who just want to communicate basically in Polish and know some words and phrases (page 4, I paraphrase).

At first glance, it looks like the structure may be well thought out - but Polish being Polish I am beginning to doubt that even a Dummies book can make light work of learning the most important aspects of it.

Before you start reading any of the Polish words and develop bad habits in how you say them, for example the Polish word for please is proszę and the first mention of the word in the book suggests, via phonetics, it is said as pro-she. What they really mean is pro as in prod, and she as in shed. This is explained but LATER at pages 19 and 20. So remember that and don't skip ahead. (In fact, some Polish speakers will say the word proszę with an ending which is hard to describe, but as a Briton I find Polish people usually understand me if I pronounce it as above. Also caution here because the Polish word for piglet is similar to the sound for proszę!)

I am not sure I fully agree with how some of the sounds are replicated, because in the UK regional accents may change how things are said locally, but if the reader follows that guide then, yes, a good enough pronunciation should be possible. It is a shame that this guide was not where I expected to find it before I posted the original review and IMO it should really have been printed before any Polish words and their phonetics were quoted in the book. (In Chapter 1, the book lists lots of Polish words and phonetics well before the guide on pages 19 and 20.)

That said, yes it is quite a good book, nevertheless. Perhaps I was just hoping for something unrealistically easy.

Some of you reading this will think I am exaggerating on how difficult Polish is - well, if you think you know the language then you probably don't! Native Poles tell me that they are not always able to get the correct forms and some tell me their siblings still don't know all the forms and ways to say or write something - and they're natives!

It will be many months or a year until I finish reading the book - these are my initial thoughts only.
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