The Polish voice in English.
Replies: 61 - Last Post: Mar 19, 2013 1:18 AM Last Post By: piaczka
Feb 19, 2013 4:29 AM
15The sound of the first speaker at shilgia's first link brought a smile to my face; it was like hearing the voice of someone I knew. Definitely one of the accents you hear in Chicago, although not my own.
And, back to the topic of Poles speaking English (or actors playing Poles speaking Engish), until today I thought that I was the only person who hadn't seen the highly acclaimed "Sophie's Choice." I'm still a member of that small group; when I clicked on Count_Zero's link I got a message that the video can't be seen here.
Feb 19, 2013 5:15 AM
Feb 19, 2013 8:22 AM
17It's called shilgia's ark in this country Vinny. I've read the book Sophie's Choice but never seen the film.
I really do struggle to hear the difference between Polish, Russian and Lithuanian accents in brief exchanges. One tends to assume Polish because they are most numerous here and have open employment rights whereas Russians have to be more highly qualified to get work visas.
Feb 19, 2013 8:23 AM
Feb 19, 2013 8:38 AM
19I really do struggle to hear the difference between Polish, Russian and Lithuanian accents in brief exchanges.
I always thought Russian sound as though they have a hot potato in their mouths. That's how I guess who they are. Can't speak for Lithuanians, but since Lithuanian is not a Slavic language, surely they should sound a bit different from Slavs?
Feb 19, 2013 9:11 AM
20I (native Polish speaker) saw the film years ago and as I remembered she's was doing quite well. I watched this youtube clip now to see again how that sounds. At least it isn't irritating, but her accent isn't Polish. It's more like a mixture of undefined accents.
Anyway, from a distance memory, she had also a couple of meanings in Polish in Sophie's Choice, and that wasn't bad.
It was especially good in comparison with some other productions that I remembered, where the language, not only the accent, was butchered beyond recognition, making it embarassing to watch.
Feb 19, 2013 12:22 PM
It's not really worth watching, in my opinion--just read the book, which is languid in a good way; the movie is slow in a bad way. Meryl Streep is excellent, though.
Living in Lakeview as I do, I don't really get to hear Chicago accents very often, though the "Da Bears" accent has always struck me as a bit inauthentic. Most lifelong Chicagoans I've met don't sound like that.
Feb 19, 2013 12:24 PM
Feb 19, 2013 12:26 PM
23From what I recall, Meryl Streep's accent in Sophie's Choice when she spoke in English didn't sound too authentic, more a mixture of something vaguely East European.
My mother was Polish and I am trying to recall if, other than a Polish accent which she retained all her life, she used Polish words in English but no, I can't say she did. She arrived in the UK just after the war and had to learn English sufficiently well to get into university (in Dublin) to study medicine, which she managed within a year, so I guess she was quite talented. My Polish grandmother would have problems all her life with pronouncing 'thank you' like 'zank you' and of course definite and indefinite articles are usually omitted by many Poles when speaking English...
They might use the Polish structure or word order and for instance in reply to :
-would you like some more tea?
they might reply:
-thank you (meaning 'no' as that is usually sufficient to say in Polish)
Other than that, and a few juicy Polish swear words, I can't think of Polish words being used instead of English ones.
Did op have any particular expression in mind?
Feb 19, 2013 12:37 PM
Feb 19, 2013 12:49 PM
Feb 19, 2013 12:55 PM
Feb 19, 2013 1:32 PM
That might be difficult to judge. Lithuania was part of Poland and Vilnius was one the three "culture cities" of Poland before WW2. Oddly only one remains now withing Polish borders.
Part of my family, who are all Polish, came from Polish Lithuania. When I'm saying this, our national epos "Pan Tadeusz" that's like bible for every child at school, comes to mind, and it's starts with "Lithuania my beloved motherland..."
With that bit of introduction, there're many Lithuanians of Polish descent who speak Polish as first or second language, and some others that at least can understand.
Feb 19, 2013 1:48 PM
28Thank you tonieja. It's also possible that I have cloth ears. Of the EU 2004 enlargement countries, Poland and Lithuania seem most heavily represented here in Aberdeen. Most of them now also use the local dialect and idioms, which would perplex eavesdroppers in Chicago or London trying to figure out where they're from.
Feb 19, 2013 2:13 PM
29thanks mrpenney for clarifying my point; that is what I meant as I was trying to show ways in which the Poles might use language to mean something different to the way it would be interpreted in English.
Similarly, in reply to :
-"would you like some more tea?"
they sometimes say:
-"please "(meaning yes) which can be a bit confusing as in English you would be expected to say "yes please"...
I teach at the university here in Gdansk and one of my students, a Pole who spent a couple of years in Aberdeen, speaks English with the most entertaining blend of a Scottish Polish accent I have ever heard :)
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