Learning a Polish Accent
WHAT WILL YOU DOWNLOAD?
The download contains fifty-eight (58) minutes of systematic instruction in MP3 sound files. You’ll also get a printable PDF of the instruction manual. It contains summaries of the audio lessons and full transcripts of the drill words, phrases, and passages.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN?
You will learn the resonance (placement), inflection/rhythm, and pronunciation of several degrees of intensity of the Polish accent. Here’s a brief summary of the training.
- Lesson 1 teaches you mouth movements and posture that create the resonance or voice placement of the Polish accent.
- The 2nd Lesson deals with the Polish accent’s rhythm and inflection characteristics.
- Lesson 3 deals with target Polish vowel pronunciations and how to embed them in the accent’s muscularity, stress, and inflections.
- The 4th Lesson teaches the pronunciation of the Polish-R and other characteristic consonants.
- Lesson 5 puts it all together with several drill passages. Firstly, it reminds you about the voice placement. Further, it walks you through the pronunciation phrase by phrase before leading you into a normal speaking pace.
MORE ABOUT THE POLISH ACCENT
Polish belongs to the Slavic-languages group. But the sound of Polish and its accent on English differs a lot from that of Russian. Its accent more closely resembles those of Czech and Serbo-Croatian. However, the Polish accent contains a noticeable inflection on stressed syllables not in other Slavic accents.
POLISH ACCENT FOR TODAY’S ACTORS
- When should you use a Polish accent? Many might think that every character whose native language is Polish should have its accent when speaking English. But that’s not always the case. There are times that require artistic choices about this. For example, what about plays in which the characters would be speaking Polish in the real world, such as Tadeusz Różewicz‘s The Old Woman Broods? In the “real world,” they’d be conversing in their native Polish, typically without the accent of a different first language. In that case, what brand of English would best represent “Polish with no foreign accent”?
- Many directors recommend that English with “no foreign accent,” i.e., the Standard English of the performance location, would be best. However, a few might still want some flavor of the characters’ real-world Polish, but not heavy enough to reflect a lack of fluency. The same artistic choice applies to using French accents for Molière, Spanish for Lorca, Norwegian for Ibsen, etc.
- The accent is more often wanted when, in the script, first-language Polish speakers are conversing in English. An example would be the daredevil Lina Szczepanowska in G. B. Shaw’s Misalliance. Most directors would request an accent to help identify such characters as native Polish speakers.