When you were preparing your trip to Gdansk, you probably came across two names related to this city: Gdansk and Danzig. Of course, the proper one is Gdansk, but some people still tend to use the name Danzig. Danzig derives from German, so we will not care about how to pronounce it, but we will show you what the proper Gdansk pronunciation is.
History of the name Gdansk
The first mention about Gdańsk comes from the vita of Saint Adalbert, written in 999. The town’s name is written as “urbs Gyddannyzc” (this is why Gdansk celebrated its millennium in 1999). After that, Gdansk appeared in written documents as – among others – Kdansk, Gdanzc, Dantzk, Dantzig, Danzig or Gdynsk.
The name Danzig was used mostly by people of German origins – and they had a long history of ruling the city. After the liberation from Nazi occupation in 1945, the official name is Gdansk, but the name Danzig is still widely used in Germany as it has deeply rooted in German. But remember – in Gdansk none of the inhabitants uses Danzig name. For us, this is always Gdansk, although you may also come across the version “Gduńsk”. This is the way Gdansk is written in Kashubian language, the language that is spoken east and north of Gdansk – in Kaszuby region.
How to pronounce Gdansk?
Gdansk pronunciation is not that difficult. It may seem so, as there is only one vowel among five consonants and some strange “n” with a line above – but it’s not that hard.
First of all, in Polish we write it Gdańsk with “ń” letter, and we pronounce Gdansk with “ń” letter – that line above “n” is not just a decoration, it matters.
And now the more difficult part – how to pronounce the name of our city? Let’s split it into parts to make it easier.
Gda – this part is easy, as it is pronounced as “gda” part in the name Magdalenne.
The hardest part is “ń“. If you pronounce it as simple “n” everyone will understand you, but if you come to Gdansk pronounce it like a Pro:) For this you need to soften it. This is the same sound as “n” in the English word “new”.
Then it’s easy again. Do you like Ska music? “-sk” ending is exactly the same as “sk” part in the word “Ska”
And here is the audio showing how to pronounce Gdansk:
When coming to Gdansk, you may see that the main train station in Gdansk is Gdansk Glowny. “Glowny” indeed means “main” in Polish. But how to pronounce Gdansk Glowny? Let’ check:
How to pronounce Gdansk Wrzeszcz and other districts?
We already know how to pronounce Gdansk, but there are two districts that seem to be terrible to pronounce: Gdansk Wrzeszcz and Gdansk Brzezno. So how to pronounce them?
Here are the sounds recorded by us:
This is how to pronounce Gdansk Wrzeszcz:
and this is how to pronounce Gdansk Brzezno
The pronunciation of Gdansk other districts (those that may be of any interest to you) is easier. We pronounce Gdansk Oliwa, Jelitkowo and Stogi just as we write them. The same applies to places around Gdansk – Gdynia, Sopot, Malbork.
If you want to learn some basic Polish, try registering with italki. You may find professional or community Polish teachers there. It is also a good platform to practice other languages. If you register with this link you will get a $10 credit.