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Polish Language/Pronunciation of the surname Swiniuch


Hello! Can you tell me how the name Swiniuch is pronounced? Thank you!

Hi Jeanne,

The surname "Swiniuch" has the Polish regular spelling with an acute accent above S - Świniuch; but a regional one might be without that accent - it depends on the place of origin of your family:
see the present day repartinion of the two forms:


a) The regular Polish pronunciation of "ś" is something similar to English "sh" when followed by a front vowel like "e", "ee" or a diphthong beginning with [i]/[y], in words like "she", "sheet", "sheer", "sure". English "sh" before "a", "o" seems to a Polish ear more like a Polish "sz". In fact English "sh" is pronounced halfway between Polish "ś" and "sz". See Wikipedia articles on Polish "<a href=ś" and "sz"

b) The regular Polish pronunciation of "w" is [v], but before and after a voiceless consonant (cw, chw, czw, ćw, kw, pw(?), sw, szw, św, tw; wc, wch, wcz, wć/wci+, wk, wp, ws, wsz, wś/wsi+, wt), it becomes [f] by assimilation. So if pronouncing [shf] will seem difficult to you, you may try [shv].

In regional Polish the beginning could pronounced as if written without the acute above "s", as [sf] - i.e. as "sph" in "sphinx", "sphere".

c) The letters "ni" are pronounced as ONE CONSONANT - it is a spelling variant of "ń" which appears before a vowel. The regular Polish pronunciation of "ń" is that of Italian or French "gn", Portuguese "nh", Spanish "ń", Hungarian "ny", Croatian and Serbian "nj", Czech "ň" and many others - if you have ever encountered any one of these languages (this sound does not exist in English, yet an approximation of "niu" in "Swiniuch" might be "nyoo" in [nyoo york] being a phonetical approximation of "New York" - NB. do not pronounce as [noo york] but [nyoo] with a clear glide of "y" type ("y" of "year").

I will mark this sound of "ń" as [ny].

d) The final digraph "ch" sould be pronounced like Scotish or German "ch" in "Loch", "Bach" respectively. If you cannot pronounce this sound try either pronouncing "k" with a very strong aspiration "kh" - or clearly (distinctively) and strong pronouncing English "h" of "home" in the end of the word.

I'll mark this sound as [kh]

Altogether the surname should be pronounced:

* in regular Polish (written with Ś with the acute)

* in regional Polish (whether written with or without the acute above S)

The latter is immediately felt as regional, either eastern Polish ("polszczyna kresowa") especially north-eastern (the regions of present day Belarus and Lithuania) or northern Polish ("Kashubian") or from southern Poland (Śląsk = Silesia, Małopolska = Littel Poland) - where the spelling without the acute is still preserved.



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Maciej St. Zięba


I am native Polish and from time to time I teach Polish to foreigners. I know (passively of actively) more than 15 other languages - so I can answer many questions concerning Polish grammar, pronounciation, spelling, etymology and usage - as compared to English, French, German, Russian, Dutch, Esperanto or Norwegian. Also questions concerning other Slavic languages, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, or general linguistics, especially scripts (writing systems and transcriptions) - are welcome.


Teaching English, French, and Esperanto to Poles, Polish to foreigners, teaching Sanskrit, Mandarin Chinese, Classical Chinese and Tibetan. Tour Guide in English, French, Russian and German. Former President of the Regional Examination Committee for Tourist Guides (English and French)(1999-2005).

Polish Oriental Society (since 1979); International Association of Buddhist Studies (since 1986); Klingon Language Institute (since 1986); Learned Society of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (since 1989); Polish Philosophical Association (since 1997); Universala Esperanto-Asocio (since 1978).

Books: "Origin of the World According to Rigveda" (Montreal 1996); "Our River Bug. Creating Conditions for Development of the Border Areas of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus through Enhancement and Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage" (Lublin 2008); "Migration - a Challenge to the 21st century" (Lublin 2008); "Migracja zarobkowa do Woch" (Job migration to Italy) (Lublin 2008); more than 100 articles in "Powszechna Encyklopedia Filozofii" (Universal Encyclopedia od Philosophy) vol. 1-10 (Lublin 2000-2009); many more in Polish, some of them available online, see: here and here (a list up to 2012.

Studying philosophy at Catholic University of Lublin (Poland) 1976-81; PhD in Philosophy (1989). Having learned languages in Gdansk and Gdynia (Russian, Esperanto, Latin, English - International Bacalaureate), Lublin (KUL - French, German, Dutch, Sanskrit, Latin, Ancient Greek; UMCS - Chinese, Japanese; elsewhere - Esperanto, Spanish, Italian), Paris (IIAP - French; INALCO - Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese; Sorbonne - Sanskrit), Asker (Norwegian, while working in a kindergarten!), Montreal (McGill - Chinese); Rome and Venice (Italian); Taichung, Taiwan (Chinese), Shimla, India (sanskrit). Self-taught: Slavic languages (other than Polish and Russian), Hungarian, Korean, Vietnamese, Klingon and several other.

Awards and Honors
2012 Golden Medal of Civil Service of Poland; 2012-13 Taiwan Fellowship - Tunghai University (Taichung)

Past/Present Clients
AllExperts users (since 12/03/2003); Wikipedia readers in many languages (since 2004); students learning languages (since 1979).

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