Polish Alphabet & Pronunciation 4.65/5 (252)

Polish Alphabet & Pronunciation

Polish Alphabet & Pronunciation

The polish alphabet (“alfabet polski“) consists of 32 letters (23 consonants and 9 vowels). Unlike other slavic languages, the polish language (“język polski“) uses Latin Script with additional diacritics for the special polish phonemes (such as ą and ł). A good rule to remember is that with the most Polish words, the stress lies on the second last syllable.

The Polish Alphabet

Additional letters in the polish alphabet are ą, ć, ę, ł, ń, ó, ś, ź and ż. In Polish, the letters q, v and x are only used in foreign words.

Video: The Polish Alphabet

More Videos…

(lower case)
(upper case)
Phonetic notation
(IPA symbols)
Example Pronunciation
Listen to PronunciationaA[a] Listen to Pronunciation pracaas in English smart
Listen to PronunciationąĄ[ɔ̃] Listen to Pronunciation mążas in french bon
Listen to PronunciationbB[b] Listen to Pronunciation nieboas in English boy
Listen to PronunciationcC[t͡s] Listen to Pronunciation coas in English wits
Listen to PronunciationćĆ[t̠͡ɕ] Listen to Pronunciation byćas in English choice
Listen to PronunciationdD[d] Listen to Pronunciation dalekoas in English day
Listen to PronunciationeE[ɛ] Listen to Pronunciation teżas in English red
Listen to PronunciationęĘ[ɛ̃] Listen to Pronunciation imięas in french cousin
Listen to PronunciationfF[f] Listen to Pronunciation filmas in English fit
Listen to PronunciationgG[g] Listen to Pronunciation gośćas in English good
Listen to PronunciationhH[x] Listen to Pronunciation herbatabetween scottish loch and english heart
Listen to PronunciationiI[i] Listen to Pronunciation iśćas in English cheat
Listen to PronunciationjJ[j] Listen to Pronunciation jechaćas in English yes
Listen to PronunciationkK[k] Listen to Pronunciation kawaas in English scarce
Listen to PronunciationlL[l] Listen to Pronunciation lubićas in English lamp
Listen to PronunciationłŁ[w] Listen to Pronunciation miłyas in English water
Listen to PronunciationmM[m] Listen to Pronunciation mostas in English move
Listen to PronunciationnN[n] Listen to Pronunciation ranoas in English nut
Listen to PronunciationńŃ[ɲ] Listen to Pronunciation tańczyćas in English canyon
Listen to PronunciationoO[ɔ] Listen to Pronunciation oknoas in English port
Listen to PronunciationóÓ[u] Listen to Pronunciation mócas in English root
Listen to PronunciationpP[p] Listen to Pronunciation przerwaas in English place
Listen to PronunciationrR[r] Listen to Pronunciation robićthrilled r, as in italian Roma
Listen to PronunciationsS[s] Listen to Pronunciation synas in English salt
Listen to PronunciationśŚ[ɕ] Listen to Pronunciation środaas in English short
Listen to PronunciationtT[t] Listen to Pronunciation terazas in English stop
Listen to PronunciationuU[u] Listen to Pronunciation szukaćas in English root
Listen to PronunciationwW[v] Listen to Pronunciation wolnyas in English vowel
Listen to PronunciationyY[ɨ] Listen to Pronunciation czyas in English syllable
Listen to PronunciationzZ[z] Listen to Pronunciation zamekas in English zoo
Listen to PronunciationźŹ[ʑ] Listen to Pronunciation jeździćas in English teach
Listen to PronunciationżŻ[ʐ] Listen to Pronunciation żonaas in English vision

Download this page

Our two-page PDF file is the ultimate cheat-sheet to the Polish Alphabet. It contains all the tables shown on this page.

The Polish Alphabet PDF

Pronunciation of the nasal vowels ą and ę

The pronunciation of the Polish nasal vowels ą and ę depends on the consonant following them. For example, the letter ę can be pronuonced like “n“, “en” or french “on“, depending on the context.

The letter Listen to Pronunciation ą

following consonant Phonetic notation
(IPA symbols)
Example Pronunciation
single, end of word or before ch, f, h, rz, s, sz, ś, w, z, ź or ż[ɔ̃] Listen to Pronunciation mążas in french champignon
b or p[ɔm] Listen to Pronunciation ząbas in English combination
c, cz, d, dz, dż or t[ɔn] Listen to Pronunciation miesiącas in English monster
ć or dź[ɔɲ] Listen to Pronunciation wziąćas in french cognac
g or k[ɔŋ] Listen to Pronunciation pociągas in English wrong

The letter Listen to Pronunciation ę

following consonant Phonetic notation
(IPA symbols)
Example Pronunciation
single or before ch, f, h, rz, s, sz, ś, w, z, ź or ż[ɛ̃] Listen to Pronunciation częstoas in french cousin
end of word[ɛ] Listen to Pronunciation imięas in English angle
b or p[ɛm] Listen to Pronunciation zębyas in English emphasis
c, cz, d, dz, dż or t[ɛn] Listen to Pronunciation wszędzieas in English then
ć or dź[ɛɲ] Listen to Pronunciation pięćas in English send
g or k[ɛŋ] Listen to Pronunciation pięknyas in English strength

Letter combinations in the Polish language (Digraphs and Trigraphs)

Digraphs (combinations of two letters) and Trigraphs (combinations of three letters) are pronounced like one single letter. On the other hand, two consecutive consonants are mostly pronounced separately in Polish. E.g., both “b” in the word “hobby” are vocalized, with a short pause between both letters (“hob-by“).


Digraphs in the Polish alphabet are ch, cz, dz, dź, dż, rz and sz.

Combination Phonetic notation
(IPA symbols)
Example Pronunciation
Listen to Pronunciation ch[x] Listen to Pronunciation chorybetween scottish loch and english heart
Listen to Pronunciation cz[ʈ͡ʂ] Listen to Pronunciation czas in English watch
Listen to Pronunciation dz[d͡z]dzwonas in English woods
Listen to Pronunciation[d̠͡ʑ] Listen to Pronunciation odpowieas in English Jeep
Listen to Pronunciation[ɖ͡ʐ] Listen to Pronunciation emas in English jungle
Listen to Pronunciation rz[ʐ] Listen to Pronunciation rzadkoas in french journal
Listen to Pronunciation sz[ʂ] Listen to Pronunciation szukaćas in English shoes


The only Trigraph in the Polish language is “dzi“.

Combination Phonetic notation
(IPA symbols)
Example Pronunciation
Listen to Pronunciation dzi[ʥ̑] Listen to Pronunciation dzias in English Jeep

To hear the pronunciation of the Polish alphabet and digraphs, watch the video “Polish Alphabet & Pronunciation” under Learning Polish with Videos & Podcasts.

Punctuation marks

Symbol English Polish
.period / full stop Listen to Pronunciation kropka
:colon Listen to Pronunciation dwukropek
,comma Listen to Pronunciation przecinek
;semicolon Listen to Pronunciation średnik
!exclamation mark Listen to Pronunciation wykrzyknik
?question mark Listen to Pronunciation pytajnik
dash / hyphen Listen to Pronunciation kreska
/slash Listen to Pronunciation kreska ukośna
backslash Listen to Pronunciation ukośnik
@at sign Listen to Pronunciation małpa

Unicode-Signs and HTML codes of Polish letters

In order to display Polish letters correctly on Computers, websites and in web addresses, in many cases they have to be encoded:

Letter Unicode HTML

Download this page

Our two-page PDF file is the ultimate cheat-sheet to the Polish Alphabet. It contains all the tables shown on this page.

The Polish Alphabet PDF

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86 Responses to Polish Alphabet & Pronunciation

  1. Javier says:

    Hi, Thanx so much for all the information. It’s been so useful for me 🙂

  2. Alejandro says:

    Thank you so much for this lesson!

  3. NeilTT says:

    I saw a headline “Koniec deklaracji VAT”. Does anyone know how VAT is pronounced? Thanks in advance.

  4. Angel Lo-Pon says:

    I have student whose surname is


    1) Is this a Polish surname?
    2) Can someone please help me to pronounce it, if it is?

    Thank you,

    warm regards.

  5. Peter says:

    Hi all,
    Do anyone know how to read # in Polish?

  6. Bazyl says:

    Hi. A remarc on nasal vowels.

    Since some letter combination are impossible, we can reduce this group: (f, h , rz can’t follow a nasal vowel)
    single or before ch, f, h, rz, s, sz, ś, w, z, ź or ż

    to a smaller one

    s, sz, ś,
    z, ź or ż

    so. if it starts with an s or an z with any mark , or with a ch or a w, it’s nasal

  7. Mag says:


    I really wanted to download the cheat sheet in pdf file but when i subscribe nothing comes up, how can i do it?

    • Hi Madzia,
      thanks for pointing this out. The problem was due to a plugin I’m using on the website. Now everything should be working fine again.
      I’ve sent you an email with the two cheat sheets (numbers & alphabet).

      If anybody else has been experiencing the same problem, please try again now. If you get a message stating that your email is already subscribed, send me a short message to [email protected] and I will send you the cheat sheets as well.

      Kind regards,

  8. Matan Peer says:

    Hello, could someone explain me please how to use the html code for special letters? I didn’t really understand it…

    • Hi Matan, HTML is the “language” that every website is written in. Sometimes a programmer can’t use special characters for a variety of reasons. But they can actually come in handy for “normal” users who don’t have the characters on their keyboards, or when the server of a forum etc. doesn’t accept them. Most web servers don’t allow HTML input from users (or just a limited subset) due to security reasons, though.

      If you want to dive deeper into HTML, there are tons of resources on the internet…

  9. Steve says:

    Oh, boy. A guy from the great American Midwest tries to figure out phonetic sounds. ó has the sound of the vowels in “root.”

    Where I, and millions of others, come from these words all rhyme: root, foot and put. They all have the short u sound. Can that be correct? (Also rhyming are pout and route.)

  10. Tomás says:

    Thanks for your work in presenting the Polish language to interested learners. My interest stems from wanting the correct pronunciation of the title of the Christmas carol W żłobie leży. Long ago a man – of Polish parents – told us something like “Va zhwo-bi-yeh leh-zhih.” I tried – unsuccessfully – on Google to find an audio file containing the pronunciation. But then I saw your website(s). I do believe that I had correctly remembered what the gentleman had told us about two decades ago.

  11. Joseph Gajdowski says:

    hi, good website. I am trying to learn polish but I am having problem with words that have prz at the beginning not sure if the “p” actually has a sound or not?? I am going to bookmark this site. I grew up with Polish grandparents and my dad speaks fluently but I never learned the language fully just knew certain words and phrases. Since my grandparents have both past on I want to honor their memory and learn this beautiful language. Any help you can give me regarding how to pronounce words with prz at the beginning would be most appreciated. TY

    • Hello Joseph,
      I really appreciate your efforts in learning the language of your ancestors. Regarding your question, please listen carefully to the audio samples here, i.e. the verbs przychodzić and przeliterować. You’ll find that the “p” actually has a sound, whereas the following “rz” is pronounced as one single sound (as shown in the Digraphs table above). Remember, Polish pronunciation is really tough for most beginners, but learning a new language not so much about perfection, but constant progress (at least in my opinion). So just keep on training and don’t worry too much about being “perfect”, especially in the beginning.

      Kind regards,

  12. Virginija Meilune says:

    I am sorry, I opened another persons video on this page and thought it was yours. You never mention ą being exceptional in your video. Really sorry for the comment :).

  13. Virginija Meilune says:

    It’s a very helpful site and your explanations are very nice. What caught my attention though is that you are misleading listeners by saying, that letters like “ą” are used only in Polish. Lithuanian language and some others also have this letter. Maybe it is pronounced specifically, but letter isn’t unique to polish language. You can find more information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%84
    Other than that I find video very helpful.

  14. Mary says:

    great resource; Polish is a VERY hard language to learn!

  15. Alexei says:

    It’s probably the best article to start with. Although polish is a slavic language, many things sound weird for a russian ear. For example, “daleko” sounds like a foreigner is trying to speak russian. Dont mean to offend anyone 🙂

  16. Sam says:

    Surely Mąz should be “mąż”?

  17. Chris says:

    Good explication of the alphabet! Just one remark: Afer exh letter of the Polish alphabet, you write: “as in english”. In correct English, must be written with capital letter E.

  18. kasia says:

    I don’t see the (zi) pronunciation

  19. Fouad says:

    I’ve gone through many websites that teach polish for absolute beginners and THIS website is the best of all!
    I really like how it is categorized and how you can Listen to the pronunciations and relate it to similar ones in english and french.
    I’ve read about how hard learning polish can be since it has more exceptions than rules, but your method makes it seem pretty easy.
    Thank you so much for providing them in Free downloadble PDF format, I REALLY appreciate your work!
    Keep it up!

  20. jd scranton says:

    który daje tę kobietę, aby być żoną tego mężczyzny

    k-too-rih die-yeh teh koh-bee-et-a ah-bih bitch show-na tay-go men-chiz-nih

  21. Zuzon says:

    Odpowiedź – ubezdźwięcznione w wygłosie dź ([ć]) żeby zilustrować brzmienie dź to nie najlepszy pomysł.

  22. Agusdg says:

    I’m having trouble with ż and ź, can’t tell them apart!

    • The difference is hard to describe – I’d suggest you to listen to as many examples as you can, or, ideally, talk to a Polish speaking person and ask them to show you the difference. Don’t forget that most people will be delighted by the fact that you’re learning their language, even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect right from the beginning 🙂

  23. Jenny says:

    Hi, is their anyone that can help me to break down phonetically how to say który daje tę kobietę, aby być żoną tego mężczyzny? (which I believe to be – Who gives this woman to be married to this man? – in English)

    I need to say it at a Wedding on behalf of the brides Polish Father but I am having terrible trouble trying to prounounce it! I would be so grateful for anyones help. Thank you.

  24. Kiwi says:

    Wow, thank you so much. I can see that I’ll have a lot of difficulty getting used to separating big consonant clusters in my head (such as in wykrzyknik) but your descriptions helped me to correctly (although with a funny accent) pronounce the punctuation names before listening to them. Thank you! I hope I can become better at pronunciation quickly.

  25. Awadh Kumar says:

    Thank you very much. I’m enjoying it.

  26. Kaana says:

    This is really great! Thanks so much for doing this! I’m an adopted Polish trying to learn about my heritage and language so this is just amazing for me!

  27. ferdows says:

    Iam living in Poland and this site is the best ever I say in internet realy great thanks for help

  28. Darek says:

    If I could add something (I prepared my own version). Enjoy it ;p https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RIB15ZjuYo

  29. jhony says:

    i like it!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Humberto says:

    I think I am the only Mexican learning Polish, I am really affraid of talking to Polish people because I think they are going to be upset because fault of respect of bad pronunciation or misuse of pani´s.

    Well that is my opinion for today, maybe tomorrow I have another idea.

    Thanks anyway very much for helping out without any interest.

    • Don’t be afraid to upset people. In my experience, Polish people appreciate people trying to learn their language and will be glad to help you improve your skills. Just try it out 🙂

      Best regards

  31. Darius/Dariusz says:

    Addendum…. more like the “e” in Engles, Karl Marx’s friend and financial backer.

  32. Darius/Dariusz says:

    Being English born and resident, but born to Polish speaking parents, I think you have a very good English phonetic approximation to Polish letters. Just believe that Polish “A” sounds less like the “a” in “smart” and more like the “a” in “ahoy”. Also the ę in imię
    less like “as in English angle” and more like the “e” in German “Engle”

  33. Antonio says:

    Super useful site, thankyou!

  34. Natalia says:

    In paragraph “Pronunciation of the nasal vowels ą and ę” it should be “mąż” (“ż” instead of “z”).

    Besides, “?” is called “znak zapytania”. “Pytajnik” is wrong translation. However, many children in primary school tend to say in this way and they’re always corrected into “znak zapytania”. 🙂

    And at the end, I’ve never heard “kreska ukośna”, even though it makes sense. Both “/” and “\” are called “ukośnik”. However, we usually use the first one.

    Thanks for your interest in Polish language!

  35. Jessica says:

    I will be in Warsaw because my husband is presenting at the MCE2015 conference and I want to know some Polish. This is very useful. Thank you!

  36. shaira nacional says:

    this helped me a lot, but still i can’t perfectly pronounce some letters. 😀 it’s a little bit difficult, but this is such a big help for those who wants to learn this language.

    • Thanks Shaira! Achieving perfection will probably take a bit more than our small website can offer, but I’m perfectly happy if it helped you get started 🙂 From there on, practicing (ideally with native speakers) is the best thing you can do to refine your skills imo.

      Best regards,

  37. Rachael says:

    Hi as a speech therapist working with Polish children who have speech sound difficulties in both languages, your description of the sounds was really helpful! Now I just need some simple Polish words to give mum for her to practise the sounds he finds hard! Thanks

    • Hi Rachael,
      glad to hear you find my website useful. May I recommend you my new site, App2Brain (http://app2brain.com/learn-languages/polish/)? I’m currently developing new grammar and vocabulary lessons for that site, together with international language experts. If you subscribe to the Blog in the right sidebar or follow the page on Facebook, you’ll be notified everytime I publish new lessons on the site.

      Of course, everybody else is invited to join as well 🙂

      Best regards,


  38. aluś says:

    Hi, I think there’s a mistake for the trigraph “dzi“ (example dzień) : the IPA [ɛɲ] is for “eń”, not for “dzi”.

  39. Konstantin says:

    A very helpfull guide.Keep the good work up.

  40. Asia says:

    I like this content of this page, very helpful for me as a Polish teacher. There is one thing that I have noticed that is not true – stress in Polish does NOT always lie on the second last syllable. Perhaps it makes it easier for people learning this language to remember the rule, but it is just not so. Good luck all Polish learners!

  41. Mary says:

    How is ‘na todce’ pronounced?

    • “Na todce” is the title of a famous peace of music, but it’s not a “real” Polish word that would appear in a dictionary. My guess would be to pronounce it something like “nah todd-say”, while this comment suggests to pronounce it “nar-wood-tsay”.

      Maybe one of our readers can help here?

      • Maciek says:

        It is definitely not a word in Polish. However, the explanation for this problem and also for the aforementioned pronunciation “nar-wood-tsay” which is more or less correct, is that the original Polish title is probably “Na łódce” (meaning literally on a boat).
        By non-Polish speakers, ó was changed to o and someone mistook ł (pronunced like English w) as t. Long story short 🙂

  42. Jeff says:

    Problem with the digraphs “dź” word choice of “odpowiedź”. Since the digraph appears at the end of the word it takes on the sound of the voiceless consonant “ć”. This might lead to confusion for some.

  43. mata says:

    I am glad I found this website that I can learn polish. It is good that there is video and audio so that I can listen to the sound for pronunciation. It is very useful for me to learn polish. Thank you very much for helping me to learn the language as I want to live in Poland. Poland is a beautiful country and people are friendly.

    • magda says:

      You really do think that my country is beautiful?I’m surprised..This is the first time that I hear that about Poland from foreigner.

      • Ben says:

        Different foreigner here, but I think Poland is beautiful also! I’m from the UK and I love Slavic languages, I’m learning Russian and Polish, I’d love to visit both someday.

      • Steve Hanson says:

        Hi magda
        I was in Warsaw last week and trust me I found the city to be both fascinating and beautiful. A truly great city of which all
        Poles should be proud – all the people that I met were friendly too! I can’t wait to return

    • Knight says:

      I am arab and muslim and I love Poland also ……

  44. barbie bastille says:

    this has been a major help, as for me its a difficult language, but very keen to learn, thx again!

  45. Anatoly says:

    I think you have a mistake into the ABC “n” file content. It is “l” pronunciation. I hope you fix it.

  46. Bob says:

    Very useful audio pronounciation guide

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