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Polish Language/polish word for Michael


A friend of mine uses a synonym of what he said his grandfather called him in his youth. His name is Michael and uses Mehosh.What is the correct spelling in Polish. He told me Mehosh sounded like what his grandfather called him. He pronounces it...Meehosh.

Dear Don,

A Polish equivalent to the name of Michael is "Michał" (attention, the final letter is  special Polish letter - ł or L with 'a stroke' i.e. with an oblique bar -; if you cannot write special Polish letters, use "Michal" instead), and it is pronounced as [MEE-how] - the stress is on the first syllable. .

The form used by your friend is a bit incorrect rendering of the Polish "Michaś" (see another special Polish letter - ś or S with a diacritic resembling an acute accent,; if you cannot write special Polish letters, use "Michas" instead). It is pronounced [MEE-hahsh']. By writing 'ah' in the second syllable I mean the sound of 'a' in 'father', not in 'any' 'way' 'cat' 'bake' etc. (open 'a' as in Italian or Spanish). The spelling used by your friend was probably influenced by a certain regional pronunciation of the English letter 'o' in a closed short stressed syllable, like in your name "Don", which may resemble the English 'u' in 'Mum' (even sometimes written 'Mom"). To a Polish ear it may sound similar to a closed, mispronounced 'a'. Polish 'a', even unstressed and short, is never pronounced that way, and there is no other way of writing to reflect this sound (this sound simly does not exist in Polish)
Second thing is that Polish has two sounds resembling English "sh" - one written "ś" and the other written "sz" (the English "sh" lies somewhere between the two Polish sounds). By writing sh' I mean the ś, i.e. the 'soft' (palatal) sh-like sound, as when followed by a front vowel or semivowel glide, ee or y or alike (in 'she', 'sure'), pronounced with your tongue raising towards the palate (back part of the mouth),
and not the 'hard' (postalveolar) sound, written 'sz', where the the tip of your tongue reaches behind the upper teeth, and which resembles a bit English 'sh' before a back vowel as in 'shut' 'short'.

The form "Michaś" is a diminutive (i.a. endearment form) of Michał (like "little Mike"), therefore it corresponds more to Mikey than to Michael.



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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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