Using formants, it is possible to produce an acoustic description of vowel quality. Basically, the first formant (F1) corresponds to vowel height, and the second formant (F2) to vowel backness, as shown in the following example for English:

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Q: I'm looking for a description of the Polish vowel system that is based on formant measurements (published sources please). Despite my best attempts I have been unable to find any.

  • Are none of the refs on WP useful? How about the refs in this paper? Seems an odd gap if no-ones done this analysis. Aug 27, 2014 at 12:38
  • Just found this, looks like it might fit the bill? Aug 27, 2014 at 12:42
  • Just a general comment regarding this kind of description of vowels--it is only meaningful inasmuch as the various factors that affect formant values are taken into account--head size, rate of speech, prosodic context, segmental context, etc. It is not linguistically meaningful to average together formant values of different speakers or even those of the same speaker from different segmental and prosodic contexts, though it is often done. Aug 27, 2014 at 14:24
  • Thanks @GastonÜmlaut, the JASA link looks perfect. Wanna change that into an answer?
    – robert
    Aug 27, 2014 at 15:26
  • @musicallinguist Sure, if you can recommend methodologically sounder studies for Polish, I'll be happy to rely on those.
    – robert
    Aug 27, 2014 at 15:27

2 Answers 2


This paper in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America would seem to meet your requirements:

Wieslawa Cholewa and Charalampos Karypidis. 2008. 'A multidimensional acoustic analysis of vowels in two Polish dialects' JASA 123: 5.

This article is available from the JASA website.

  • Thanks again for your help. After looking into this more closely and trying to get access to the article behind the abstract, it appears that what JASA published here is just the abstract of a conference presentation. We have tried to contact the authors, but to no avail...
    – robert
    Sep 23, 2014 at 13:13
  • Hmm, that's disappointing! Not much point in research if you don't make it available to others! Sep 23, 2014 at 13:25

I ended up asking on the phonet mailing list. This is a summary of the responses:

  • Gonet, W. (1993). Próba okreslenia normy wymowy polskich samoglosek ustnych. Opuscula Logopaedica in Honorem Leonis Kaczmarek. Lublin: UMCS, 232-252.
  • Jassem, W., M. Krzysko and P. Stolarksi (1984). Czestotliwosci formantowe samoglosek jako cechy fonematyczne i osobnicze w swietle statystycznej analizy dyskryiminacyjnej. Warsaw: Instytut Podstawowych Problemów Techniki PAN.
  • Majewski, W. and H. Hollien (1967). Formant frequencies of Polish vowels. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 42:5, 1031-7.
  • Mrówka, P. (2007). Algorytmy kompensacji warunków transmisyjnych i cech osobniczych mówcy w systemach automatycznego rozpoznawania mowy. Wroclaw: Instytut Telekomunikacji, Teleinformatyki i Akustyki, Politechnika Wroclawska (PhD dissertation).
  • Nowak, P. (2006). Vowel Reduction in Polish. University of California, Berkely (PhD dissertation).
  • Rojczyk, Arkadiusz (2011). Overreliance on duration in nonnative vowel production and perception: The within lax vowel category contrast. In: M. Wrembel, M. Kul, K. Dziubalska-Kolaczyk (eds.) Achievements and Perspectives in SLA of Speech: New Sounds 2010, Volume II. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
  • Strycharczuk, Patrycja and Peter Jurgec (2008). Prosodic influences on formant frequencies of Polish vowels. Paper given at the 3rd Newcastle Postgraduate Conference in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, July 9, 2008.
  • Weckwerth, Jaroslaw (2013). Formant values of English and Polish vowels in highly proficient Polish learners of English. Poster presented at NewSounds 2013, Montreal.

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