Say My Name

10 Nov 2017

Can you think of a four letter word which throughout history has caused so much shock, embarrassment and sniggers of laughter? (No, not that one, naughty boy - get to the back of the class!) Actually, we were alluding to ‘Łódź’ and its seemingly inconceivable pronunciation. Surely if you want to visit a place, let alone buy a ticket to get there, you should at least be pronounce the name of said place with confidence, so here we go - pay attention.

Most English speakers anglicise the city’s name to something akin to “Lodge;” we hate to break it to you, but this is way off the mark. While some Polish cities have widely accepted anglicised names (Warsaw, Krakow) Łódź is not one of them. While you can get away with de-diacriticising the name in written form ie “Lodz,” pronouncing it is another thing altogether. If you tell someone in the Krakow train station you’re trying to get to “Lodge,” they may think you mean a mountain lodge and put you on a train to the Tatras. The key to cracking Łódź’s nutty name is obviously figuring out how to pronounce these alien-looking Polish letters. There’s only four of them, so here we go: The Polish ‘Ł’ is pronounced like an English ‘W,’ the ‘ó’ is pronounced like an English ‘oo,’ and (to simplify a bit) the Polish ‘dz’ letter combination is pronounced like an English ‘j’ or ‘dge’ as in ‘ledge.’ So let’s hear it – stand up straight, take a deep breath and bellow it out: Woodge, Woodge, WOODGE!


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