Sociophonetic Transfer in Polish Learners of English: The Case of Nasals

  • Anna Gralińska-Brawata
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Transferring Polish nasal vowels in contexts where English has a combination of vowel + nasal consonant followed by a fricative is among a considerable number of pronunciation problems that Polish learners of English encounter in their learning process. Seemingly a less disturbing and often unnoticed feature of Polglish, it is believed to be a very frequent phenomenon (Sobkowiak, 2004, 204. English Phonetics for Poles. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie), which seems to result from the systemic differences between the two languages. The present study reports on the experiment conducted among 50 learners of English reading texts in English and Polish: The North Wind and the Sun and a Polish text of equal length and similar rhythmic structure. Two words, “considered” and “mądrych” were extracted from the English and Polish recorded material and examined using both spectrographic picture and auditory analysis. The results confirm that transferring a Polish nasal vowel Open image in new window in contexts where English has Open image in new window or Open image in new window followed by a fricative is a common error among Polish learners of English. What prevails in the pronunciation of the word “mądrych” is Open image in new window instead of Open image in new window which validates the general tendency of Polish speakers to pronounce a nasal vowel before fricatives and a combination of vowel + nasal consonant before plosives and affricates. Statistical tests employed in the study revealed that there is a significant systematic difference between English and Polish in terms of nasal transfer. From the pedagogical point of view, it can be worthwhile to raise awareness among practical phonetics teachers as regards variability in Polish while developing their students’ phonological system of English.


Vowel Duration Foreign Borrowing Spelling Pronunciation Nasal Vowel Nasal Sound 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ŁódźŁódźPoland

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