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Question
polish pronunciation of the last name Jankowna> I am aware that the J is pronouned like a Y and the w like a v but am not sure about the na.

Answer
Dear Doris,

this surname should be written "Jankówna" (o with an accent) and pronounced:

yahn-KOOV-nah

'ah' as 'a' in 'father'

All the best

MAciej

Comment - Thank you very much for your very prompt response. Our Janicki family is going to have a family get-to-gather of the first cousins in May and one of them discovered this name in our family ancestry. Now I will be able to pronounce it correctly. Originally, there were 33 of us and now we are down to 21, but with spouses are group numbers 43. Michalena Jankowna was our fraternal great-grandmother. She married Stanley Janicki in 1802 in Kotbrab, Poland.
Doris

Follow-up:

Dear Doris,

Thanks for your nice words. It's good you have written more details to me as I can be of help again. (Previously I had no tine to develop my answer).

I think that the Polish first name of your ancestor was Michalina, not 'Michalena'.
That is the Polish spelling. Pronunciation: [mee-hah-LEE-nah]. 'Mee' as in "meet", 'hah' as the word "huh!", 'LEE' (stressed) as in "general Lee", 'nah' with "ah" as in "father" (you know it already).

The correct spelling of the town (or rather village) where they got married is most probably not 'Kotbrab' but Kołdrąb (Koldrab, with two Polish special letters). The first one is the "l" with a bar, which (especially if handwritten) may look like "t" to an unacustomed eye. It is pronounced like English "w". The second one is the "a" with "ogonek" ("tail"), which is pronounced like English "ong" (or similar, depending on the neighborhood, here: 'om' because of the following "b"). The final "b" is devoiced to a "p".

See:
l/ = ł: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%81
a, = ą: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%84
o' = ó (you've met it earlier): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93
z* = ż (you'll meet it below): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BB

Altogether the name of the village is pronounced [KOWD-rawmp] (the first syllable stressed) - 'KOWD' like the English word "code" (in zip-code), 'rawmp' almost like "romp-" in "Romper Stomper", only the letter "o" is more like English "aw" in "raw".

Kołdrąb is a historical known village:

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ko%C5%82dr%C4%85b,_Kuyavian-Pomeranian_Voivodeship
See also the Polish Wikipedia webpage: https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ko%C5%82dr%C4%85b_%28wojew%C3%B3dztwo_kujawsko-pomorskie%29

The village was first mentioned in 1326, the first owner of the village was certain 'Benyamin de Coldramb', with the coat of arms "Zaremba". It used to have a fortified castle at that time till maybe end of 17th century.
Now, it is located in the municipality (gmina) of Janowiec Wielkopolski, county (poviat) of Znin (Żnin, Z with a dot above), province (voivodship) of Kuyavia-Pomerania (Kujawsko-pomorskie).

The surname "Jankówna" is a form of the surname customarily given to an unmarried woman, the male form of which (of her father's surname) is "Janek". In earlier times it was common to write these forms even in official papers, nowadays these forms are used in speech, not in writing, so if she were living today in her marriage licence would be written "Janek". (pronounce" [YAH-neck]). 'Janek' is a diminutive of "Jan", being the Polish equivalent of "John", so either her father's surname (family name) was "Johnny", or else this 'surname' (Jankówna) wasn't a real surname, only a patronymic word meaning "daughter of Johnny". But it is probable that it was a real surname, same as "Janicki" (pronouce [yah-NEETS-key]) is, because in these parts of Poland surnames were commonly used by everybody, not only by the noblemen, as imposed by the laws of Prussia (after the first partition of Poland) since the end of the 18th century, about 1780-1790 (I am not certain of the exact date).

Read more:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_name
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_heraldry


For the present day repartition of the surname 'Janek' in Poland by county (census of 2001), see: http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/janek.html

If you move your mouse over the green "worm" covering 4 counties in the upper middle part of the country, the Southernmost of them will show the label "Inowroclaw" (Inowrocław). Then move your mouse one county North-West, and the label "Znin" (Żnin) should appear. This is the county from where Janicki and Jankówna originanted, despite the fact that the area is white now, which means nobody bearing surname "Janek" is living there now.

For the present-day repartition of the surname Janicki, see:
http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/janicki.html (male form)
http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/janicka.html (female form)

All the best,
(wishing you an excellent family reunion),

Maciej  

Polish Language

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Maciej St. Zięba

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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.

Experience

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).

Organizations
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).

Publications
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.

Education/Credentials
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)

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

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