- For Teachers
Lech Walesa, former Poland President. How to pronounce Lech Walesa in English?
My dad speaks some Polish, and when he pronouces "Lech" he sounds like a cat trying to bring up a hairball, so I can't begin to figure out how to type it phonetically.
In the US, the newscasters usually pronounce it "Leck Wal-LAY-sah", but I'm sure that's no where close to the way Mr. Walesa says it.
I have heard 'Vawessa' as well as 'Walaysah' in the UK, but I have no idea whether it's right or not.
The "CH" at the end of his first name is similar to the "CH" in German - a kind of a soft "K" sound with a strong hiss - also similar to the Scottish word "Loch"
The "W" at the start of his surname is pronounced as a "V"
The third letter in his surname is a diacritic character - a "l" with a slash through it. It's pronounced like a "W" in English.
So I would guess the best guide would be
At least that's my understanding...
If you want to sound Polish-like, you should pronounce the name as follows:
Le(h) = (like the 'h' in how)
Va'(wh) = (like the 'wh' in what) ensa
Otherwise, try the following:
Le(ck) Va'lensa (the easiest to say, I guess ).
I'm Polish by birth, nationality, origin, and so on...
The punctuation mark ' means the primary stress.
Lech Wałęsa: lek (or as in Polish lex) va:'wents (English Pronouncing Dictionary, Daniel Jones 17 th Edition)