Quetzalcoatl wrote:Even though the answer seems to be yes due to the presence of <ą> and <ę>, there are some reasons to assume that nasal vowels are present, but not phonemic in Polish.
Well, I have participated in many internet discussions about this and while the topic is somewhat controversial among us Poles, my position remains that there are no phonemic
nasal vowels in the contemporary Common Polish (i.e. standard-ish spoken) variety. Of course phonetically vowel nasalization does occur (like in most other languages). There might be some speakers here and there who retain some sort of distinction between the 'ogoneks' and oral vowel+nasal consonant sequences but I do not think it's widespread.
The thing is that there's plenty of relatively recent local linguistic literature which parrots on and on the claim that there are two nasal vowels in Polish without giving the matter any thought even though they do admit the asynchronous or split pronunciation.
(3) "ń" is often rather pronounced like a nasal "j" and not like a palatal "n": państwo [paj̃stvɔ] instead of [paɲstvɔ].
Yeah, this is a positional allophone before /s/.
(4) Many loanwords contain "nasal" vowels: "instytut" (rather pronounced like [iw̃stɪ̈tut] than [instɪ̈tut].
I believe it's more complicated than that. While there are a few words where ‹n› stands for a nasalized glide nearly all the time, usually this is facultative (and probably depends on such factors as speech rate and register). So you might hear either (1) a nasal stop, (2) a homorganic nasal sonorant that is not a stop (i.e. complete occlusion doesn't happen) or (3) a glide such as [ɰ̃
] in one and the same word. And indeed, in my experience it's [ɰ̃
] rather than [w̃
] at least after vowels other than /ɔ
/ and /u
So my question is: Wouldn't it make much more sense to assume that Polish has two nasal glides /w̃/ and /j̃/ instead of two nasal vowels /ɛ̃/ and /ɔ̃/? What would you say?
I would say that in the large picture one additional consonantal phoneme would do. Among its allophones you could list a nasalized velar approximant (word-finally, before a coronal fricative), a nasalized palatal approximant (before an alveopalatal fricative beside the velar one), a velar nasal stop (before velar plosives). One has to keep in mind that the extra phoneme remains underlyingly distinct from the glides resulting allophonically from /n
/ and /ɲ
/ (less misleadingly: /ȵ
/) as yet.
(The situation is messy and it might well turn out the distribution of the post-nasal-vowel glides cannot always be predicted based on the following consonant for some speakers. I have certain suspicions regarding my idiolect.)
If you read Polish, the overall state of affairs is nicely described here