Polish Word of the Day For Americans

By request (on fb), I will explain the excruciating pronunciation of “Happy New Year” in Polish. By sharing this now, you will have a few days to practice.

Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

Note that “sz” and “cz” are one sound and count as one letter each: sh and ch, respectively. Practice by saying “shhh, shhh, shhhch” (as if you were going to say “shchess”). Actually, shchess is pretty close to the first syllable, which is “shchen” (but twang that “en” [ę]).

The ś is also a “sh” sound. Thanks, Polish! Or should I say Poliś? Hah? Haaah? No, I know.

So, let’s just go with that first word (which is an adjective in masculine form, cos rok (year) is a masculine noun): Szczęśliwego, or shchen-shlee-veh-go. Four syllables. Now say it fast.

Let’s just jump in with the whole thing: shchen-shlee-veh-go noh-veh-go rroh-ku. (Yes, the Poles roll the “r,” but not too much. You’re not rolling the “r” over so much as pushing it a little.)

Try it again: shchen-shlee-veh-go noh-veh-go rroh-ku! (Remember to twang that “en!”) (Accent on the second to last syllable.)

Try it again: Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

Practice this for 15 minutes a day and come midnight New Year’s Eve, you’ll be able to yell out like me, “SHCHAYGO NOGU ROKU!”

Or just yell out the last word.


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