The Polish preposition w roughly translates to Eng. in, even though the distribution is different, as it is usual for prepositions. I'll give two examples of the use of said preposition:

(1) Narodowe muzeum morskie jest w Gdańsku.
    National museum marine  is   in Gdańsk.

(2) Ja będę iść w czwartek.
    I will go on Thursday.

In (1) we have ['vgdaɲsku] for w Gdańsku and in (2) ['ftʃfartɛk] for w czwartek. This means that, like in many other cases in Polish, the last consonant of a word gets assimilated to the first consonant of the word which comes after it.

Now to the question: Should one consider w as a (pro)clitic?

  • AFAICR the defintion of clitics is a bit 'flexible', and what is considerd a clitic or not may sometimes depend more on (scholarly) tradition than specific criteria. Regardless of that, sandhi phenomena like you describe them are not that infrequent - witness English 'an apple' vs. 'a cat'.
    – robert
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 19:01
  • 3
    The "sandhi" (or assimilation of sonority) actually has very little to do with being a clitic as in Slavic languages, it happens quite universally wherever two obstruents meet each other.
    – Eleshar
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


Yes, "w" works as a clitic as it becomes part of the stress unit because it does not bear any accent.

Even better example to demonstrate is Czech with its word initial accent - the proclitics that are syllabic actually take over the stress in the stress unit:

['vlak] - (a) train

['ve vlaku] - in (a) train

['porod] - (a) birth

['po porodu] - after (a) birth

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