This is a bit of a silly question that will need an explanation of the background that motivates this question.

Background. I met a man named Andrzej. He was called approximately An-jay /dʒ/, or rarely Andre(y) under influence of the respective speakers' native languages, ie. /dʁ/ for German or rather /dɹ/ for one guy from Nebraska. It took a moment of explanation, although I had learned about Polish -rz- not too long ago. Subjective perception, expectation and noise surely played a role in my misunderstanding, since German /ʁ/ may cover a wide range of realizations, so I was probably the only one who actually heared and said Andre up until that point.

The American pronounciation was still irritating, so I coopted the fully English variant /ˈæn.dɹuː/ in jest and confered with the mate who thought I did this in bad faith, implying he intended to approximate the name rather faitfully without rhotics. Nevertheless there is hardly any audible difference to me. I kept trying to imagine the trill ~ tap that must have been there once upon a time, before the sound change completed to /dž/.

Question. How far off am I on both accounts concerning the archaising pronounciation and the American ones, whether rhotic or not. Or in other words: How far are their developments comparable, if not related by common drift?

In hindsight I imagine that a tapped stop gave the impression of rhotacism. (I'd simply ask, what's going on here, but the given information might leave too much up to speculation).

A pro pos. This question is following @Draconis answer to /t͡ʃ/ vs. /ʧ/ vs. /tʃ/

  • Is your question about the phonetic processes that produced the modern Polish rz [ʐ]/[ʂ] from *r and the modern English retroflex approximant [ɹ] from the earlier trill/tap, and how they are related? If so, that information is easily googlable. If not so, then what is it all about?
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 18, 2021 at 16:49
  • @YellowSky I don't find that information easy to google, because reading about pronunciation is error prone. Admittedly, "easy" is subjective and this venue is text based as well. In fact, I simply copied the IPA for Andrew, so the question "How far of am I on ... the American ones" might seem either like a non-question or ill-defined and irrelevant if concerned with my own pronc. However, the broad transcription leaves some room for interpretation, and the point of reference is the Polish sound change. A direct comparison will be rare to find; notions of areal relations or genetics even rarer
    – vectory
    Sep 18, 2021 at 17:40
  • 1
    I beg your pardon, but what you write looks like juxtaposition of random words. I've just asked you a question, “is it so or not so?” and you wrote a long passage of no apparent meaning at all. Maybe it's something too subtle for me to understand, but anyway I'm voting to close your question, because it's not clear what you're asking.
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 18, 2021 at 18:40
  • @Yellowsky, sure, but I thought no! and proceeded to correct your assumptions. BTW, is Sky a pun on the typical ski-suffix in Slavic names? See I like you but I feel a bit insulted that youd try to blame me. I have said it as clear as I can. If you don't follow up, then either because its too trivial for your taste as you have indicated, or because it is intentionally left imprecise to allow an interesting answer. Which one it is I don't know. That's part of the question, which is also why I won't be able to answer it myself, unfortunately. Is User's answer inappropriate or why'd'y argue?
    – vectory
    Sep 19, 2021 at 11:53
  • Sky is just sky, just see my profile image. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huangtiandao
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 20, 2021 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


I don't understand what you are actually asking, but I suppose it has to do with how people pronounce the guy's name. What is the "archaising" pronunciation that you're talking about? If you go from spelling, you are probably going to pronounce it with your native language's rhotic (assuming there is only one), because of the letter r (z is ignored, unless someone says trisyllabic "andr̩ze" thinking that the z is a [z]). If you go purely from pronunciation, that's a interesting potential experiment since [Vn.drV] and [Vn.dʒV] are both possible in English. I predict that American English speakers parse it as most often: unless speakers recognize this as the name Andre, which we know is spelled with an r. You would therefore have to use words that don't suggest their spelling / etymology, to figure out how American English (non-Polish speakers) parse <rz> after d as well as t. Also, check the English speaker's pronunciation of "tree" (some people say [tʃri]).

  • Is "archaising" perhaps the wrong word? I meant what Polish Adrzej would have sounded "before the change completed", and which realization of English "Andre" is most closest to it. You point out, if understand correctly, that E. Andre ?[Vn.dʒV] is unrealistic, but that tree [tʃri] exists. If it is implied that this is close to older Polish variants, that's an accaptable answer. However, I had not yet wondered how the modern Polish form is received in E.
    – vectory
    Sep 18, 2021 at 17:13
  • What change? Do you mean "if Polish speakers used the historically earliest pronunciation of the modern name Andrzej, as produced by Ancient Greek speakers". What's not possible in English is *[an.drze]. "Sanjay" is pronounced [san.dʒe] or [sæn.dʒe], so we don;t have a problem with n.dʒ
    – user6726
    Sep 18, 2021 at 17:52
  • For a native example of n.dʒ, "danger" and its ilk.
    – Draconis
    Sep 18, 2021 at 18:20
  • Not sure who you quoting. I mean quite the opposite actually, a historically close pronunciation. That's a slippery sloap, of course, because proximity is relative. I don't think there's a simple answer, and as silly as the question is I will have to follow up with research if I'm serious about common drift, eg. in the case that there was some horizontal transfer
    – vectory
    Sep 19, 2021 at 11:44

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