In this post I want to explain to you why Polish sounds very rustling and rattling? It’s all because of unvoiced letters. What are these? Let me explain to you step by step:
Sounds are divided to consonants and vowels. Vowel make syllables, consonants don’t. Polish language don’t have too many vowels but is very rich in consonants. Most of consonants create pairs in which one of them is voiced – when you pronounce and you touch your throat you can feel gentle vibration- and the second one is unvoiced – it’s produced completely in your mouth and your throat doesn’t move. Which are which? Look at the image:
So we already know what are voiced and unvoiced consonants.
Some languages, like English I bet, prefer voiced consonants. With Polish it’s the other way around. Moreover, when two consonants from different groups meet, the unvoiced consonant changes the voiced consonant to its unvoiced pair. It’s like on a battlefield. The unvoiced team takes over the voiced one.
It doesn’t matter if the voiced (weaker) one is before the unvoiced or it is followed by one. Look at the examples:
przepraszam – / pszeprasham/
podstęp – / potstęp/
It also happens when a voiced consonant is left alone in the end of a word or a phrase.
lekarz – /lekasz/
or when it doesn’t stand directly in the same word next to an unvoiced consonant but the next word starts with it.
w porządku – /f porzątku/
You can also watch my videos where I explain it: