Polish Alphabet

The Polish alphabet comes from the Latin alphabet and it is basically the same. The main difference is the extra letters. The good news is once you learn the Polish alphabet spelling and proconciation in Polish should not be a problem as the language is 100% phonitic as are the other Slavic languages. Therefore the Polish aphabet is your key to pronuciation and spelling.

Polish Alphabet – polski alfabet


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 ź ż z

Polish Alphabet contains 32 letters. Specific for polish language are letters: ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź, ż.
Old polish alphabet contained 42 letters and 7 “double-marks” dwuznaków, which are still existing in polish.

Pronunciation of Polish letters

A – sounds like “a” in the word “Amish”
C – sounds like “ts” in the word “Tsar”
E – sounds like “e” in the name “Elisabeth”
G – sounds like “g” in the word “fog”
H – sounds like “h” in the word “hello”
I – sounds like “ea” in the word “jeans”
J – long “i” sounds like “e” in word “bye”
K – sounds like “c” in the word “colour”
O – sounds like “a” in the word “tall”
U – sounds like “oo” in thw word “pool”
W – sounds like “v” in the word “love”
Y – sounds like “y” in the word “itty bitty”

Ą – nasal A, sounds like french “bon bon” or “ow” in the word “own”
Ć – sounds like Chinese “chi”
Ę – sounds like “el” in the word “elm”
Ł – sounds like “w” in the word “wedding”
Ń – sounds like the word “knee”
Ó – sounds like polish “u” (pool), it matters only in written polish
Ś – sounds like “shee” in the word “sheets”
Ź – sounds like “ge” in the word “genie”
Ż – sounds like “g” in the word “mirage”

Polish alphabet – Other letters are pronounced in similar way in both languages

Dwuznaki (double-marks) in polish: CH CZ DŹ DŻ DZ RZ SZ sound like one letter, with the exception of DŹ DŻ DZ which are read in usual way.

CH – sounds like a polish “h” and the differend it matters only in written polish;
CZ – sounds like “ch” in the word “chocolate”
RZ – sounds like polish “ż” and the differend it matters only in written polish
SZ – sounds like “sh” in the word “gosh”

Dwuznaki in use – examples:
chleb (bread) , dach (roof)
czas (time), paczka (package)
śledź (herring, tent-peg), chodź (come)
dżem (jam), odżywka (nutrient)
dzwonek (ring), dzbanek (jug)
dziecko (child), godzina (hour) in some “i” folowing “dz” makes it softer and makes it sound like “dź”.
rzeka (river), korzeń (root)
szafa (wardrobe, closet), kosz (basket)

Letters: Q, V, X don’t belong to polish alphabet, yet they’re use in foreign words or loanwords

Pronounciation of polish words is usually very difficult for foreners in the beginning. Besides the spoken polish it may be pretty hard to learn speling rules
in written polish language called “ortografia”. Some letters as you can see above sounds the same but we can’t use them alternatively and we have to follow
a proper rule. This letters are:

“CH” = “H” in spoken polish sounds the same but we have to know which use in written polish
“Ó” = “U”
“RZ” = “Ż”

Examples of words using the Polish alphabet:

CH : Chyba (probably), chętnie (with pleasure), chociaż (though), chwila (moment), chrzan (horseradish)
H : Huta (foundry), hałas (noise), hak (hook), huragan (hurricane), huśtawka (swing)

Ó : Ogórek (cucumber), łódka (boat), kłódka (padlock), łóżko (bed), ogród (garden), lodówka (refrigerator)
U : Buzia (face), usta (lips), ludzie (people), smutek (sadness),budzik (alrm clock), okulary(glasses)

RZ : Morze (sea), rzadko (rarely), rzeczywiście (actually), trzeba (it is necessary), twarz (face)
Ż : Może (maybe), plaża (beach), już (already), książka (book), bliżej (closer), koleżanka (girlfriend), mąż (husband)

Author: Mark Biernat

I live in with family between two worlds, US and Europe where I create tools for language learning. If you found my site you probability share my passion to be a life long learner. Please explore my site and comment.

5 thoughts on “Polish Alphabet”

  1. More correctly translation in the last verse of “koleżanka” is “friend” (koleżanka doesn’t mean

    1. Yes Koleżanka is like colleague and comes from this root word ‘collega’.

  2. No, “koleżanka” doesn’t come from collega. There isn’t such a word. It comes from “kolega”.

  3. I’m afraid your pronunciation examples for Ą and Ę are incorrect.
    For Ą, the French “bon bon” is too closed a sound. The French “vent” is a better example.

    For Ę, the French “main” (hand) is a good example. The “el” in “elm” isn’t even nasal.

  4. The pronunciation guides for Ź and Ż are horrendous. Please think of a better way to teach them, because the “g” in the word genie is actually closer to the dwuznak DŹ than the letter Ż.

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