The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Polish pronunciations in Wiktionary entries.
All voiced obstruents /b, d, ɡ, v, z, ʐ, ʑ, dʐ, dʑ/ are devoiced (so /d/ becomes /t/, etc.) at the ends of words and in clusters ending in any unvoiced obstruents /p, t, k, f, s, x, ʂ, ɕ, tʂ, tɕ/. The voiceless obstruents are voiced (/x/ becoming [ɣ], etc.) in clusters ending in any voiced obstruent except /v/, and /ʐ/ spelled rz, which are themselves devoiced in this case.
- The letter ⟨i⟩, when followed by a vowel, represents a "soft", or palatalized, pronunciation of the preceding consonant. Thus, pies is pronounced similarly to if it were spelled ⟨pjes⟩. It has the same effect as an acute accent on an alvoelar consonant (⟨s⟩, ⟨z⟩, ⟨c⟩, ⟨dz⟩, ⟨n⟩). Thus, się, cios and niania are pronounced as if they were spelled ⟨śę⟩, ⟨ćos⟩, ⟨ńańa⟩. A following ⟨i⟩ also softens consonants if it is pronounced as a vowel. Thus, zima, ci and dzisiaj are pronounced as if if they were spelled ⟨źima⟩, ⟨ći⟩, ⟨dźiśaj⟩.
- Affricates such as /ts/ and /dʐ/) are correctly written with tie-bars: /t͡s/, /d͡ʐ/. The tie-bars are omitted in the above chart, as they do not display correctly in all browsers. Still, Polish contrasts affricates with stop + fricative clusters, like czysta [ˈt͡ʂɨsta], "clean", with trzysta [ˈtʂɨsta], "three hundred".
- Polish makes contrasts between retroflex and alveolo-palatal consonants, both of which sound like the English postalveolars /ʃ ʒ tʃ dʒ/ The retroflex sounds are pronounced "hard" with the front of the tongue raised, and the alveolo-palatal sounds are "soft" with the middle of the tongue raised, adding a bit of a "y" or "ee" sound to them.
- The letters ⟨ą⟩ and ⟨ę⟩ represent the nasal vowels /ɔ̃, ɛ̃/, except when followed by a stop or affricate, where they represent oral vowels /ɔ, ɛ/ followed by a nasal consonant homorganic with the following stop or affricate (e.g. kąt [ˈkɔnt], gęba [ˈɡɛmba], ręka [ˈrɛŋka], piszący [pʲiˈʂɔnt͡sɨ], pieniądze [pʲeˈɲɔnd͡zɛ], pięć [ˈpʲeɲt͡ɕ], jęczy [ˈjɛnt͡ʂɨ]).
- ^ Allophone of /n/ before a velar /ɡ, k, x/.