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  #1  
Old 04-12-2004, 08:56 AM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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Longest Polish name

The Dyngus day thread has me thinking ... despite growing up in Western new York, I still have a difficult time pronouncing long Polish family names like Trzetrzelewska, Dzieduszycki, and Kleszczynska. Even if you're not Polish, Buffalo-area Poles will get very offended if you pronounce their names wrong.

So, what's the longest Polish name out there? What Polish name is hardest to pronounce by English speakers? Is there a written guide oiut there for pronouncing long, vowel-filled Polish family names?
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2004, 05:13 PM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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I make a bump, in the spirit of Schmingus Dyngus,
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Old 04-12-2004, 07:16 PM
ltfire ltfire is online now
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I wouldn't touch this question with a ten foot pole.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:16 PM
polish_mleko polish_mleko is offline
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Wow this is years old ... anyway
when i was in poland last, i was challenged to pronounce "Siesztrzewitowski", "Brzenczyszczykiewicz" , and another im not sure i remember exactly : "Włotrzewiszczykowycki"

You just have to learn the pronunciation of letters and their combinations, and then sound them out, like phonics in 2nd grade
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:28 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmwood View Post
Is there a written guide oiut there for pronouncing long, vowel-filled Polish family names?
Vowel-filled? More like consonant clustered.

Very roughly:

Sz = "sh"
Si = "shee"
Cz = "ch"
Ci = "chee"
Rz = "zh"
Trz = "ch"
drz = "j"
szcz = "shch"
w = "v" or "f" (depending on whether the following consonant is voiced or not)
There's also other variants of the "sh," "ch" and "zh" sounds spelled with an "s","c", and "z" with either a dot or accent acute mark over them, but those usually are dropped in the English spelling, and you'd have to know the original orthography to know if they are "sh/ch/zh" or "s/c/z" sounds.

Accent always on the penultimate syllable (with few exceptions, usually in words of Greek origin.)

So, "Trzetrzelewska" is approximately "cheh-cheh-LEF-ska." "Kleszczynska" is "klesh-CHIN-ska." (The Polish spelling of this name palatalizes the "n" as well, but we're only going to approximate here.) "Brzenczyszczykiewicz" is "bzhen-chish-chih-KYEV-eech." Etc.

So Coach K would be pronounced "kshih-SHEF-skee" if you were trying to be reasonably faithful to the Polish.

That said, it's best to ask. My last name is Pawinski, but our families pronounce it "puh-WIN-skee" in the English, because that seems to be the most natural interpretation of that name for English speakers. Some familiar with Polish names will pronounce it closer to "puh-VIN-skee," but the actual Polish pronunciation is closer to "pah-VEEŃ-skee" (the "n" is palatalized.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-07-2010 at 09:29 PM..
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:51 PM
nikonikosuru nikonikosuru is offline
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anything with "kiewicz" sounds like "ka-vich" when being pronounced. My family's last name used to be Butkiewicz which I guess translates to something like "Shoemaker" in English?
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:26 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonikosuru View Post
anything with "kiewicz" sounds like "ka-vich" when being pronounced.
It's actually a bit closer to "KYEH-veech."

As for "Butkiewicz," my guess it's a patronymic on the name "Budek." Researching online, it says it's a variant spelling of "Budkiewicz," and a patronymic ending on the name "Budka." At any rate, it's most likely a name + the "-ewicz" patronymic ending.

"Shoemaker" in Polish is Szewczyk.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:41 AM
nikonikosuru nikonikosuru is offline
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Hm. A Polish friend told me that it was the equivalent of a person who sells high quality shoes. I wonder if it's something different, but I don't have the tools to research it.
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:20 AM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is online now
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In Anglicized Polish names, -ewski sometimes drops the /w/ altogether, and it's pronounced "eski". Reading Polish is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Here's some places you can learn it from:

U. Pitt
Random interwebz site
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2010, 10:34 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikonikosuru View Post
Hm. A Polish friend told me that it was the equivalent of a person who sells high quality shoes. I wonder if it's something different, but I don't have the tools to research it.
"But" is the Polish word for shoe, but it doesn't look to me that "Butkiewicz" should parse out to be "shoemaker." I can't say for certain, but what I'm finding on the internet seems to corroborate this. The other possibility seems to be a derivation from the Lithuanian "butkintas," an apartment dweller of some sort.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:29 AM
nikonikosuru nikonikosuru is offline
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Interesting. An aunt did mention that we have some Lithuanian in us too, so that could be feasible. Don't know much about that area of the world and its languages, as you can probably tell.
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  #12  
Old 09-09-2010, 08:58 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Vowel-filled? More like consonant clustered.

Very roughly:

Sz = "sh"
Si = "shee"
Cz = "ch"
Ci = "chee"
Rz = "zh"
Trz = "ch"
drz = "j"
szcz = "shch"
w = "v" or "f" (depending on whether the following consonant is voiced or not)
Just adding
j = "y"

(so "Jurgis" is pronounced Yur-gis, as our middle-school teacher taught us when we read "The Jungle". Or the Yun-gle as we pronounced it. And yes, old Jurgis is actually (looks it up) Lithuanian, but the j=y holds for Polish, too).
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