Intonation and Meaning…

I went to a monthly outdoor fleamarket today. There was a musician busking at the entrance (playing the trumpet over taped backing). I usually toss a couple of zloties to whoever’s busking. As I did so he stopped playing a second to say (in a heavy Russophone accent) ‘dziękuję serdecznie’ (sort of ‘thank you kindly’)

It sounded funny though because if you impose Russian intonation on Polish sentences it always sounds wrong. In this case it was something like ‘diekuje syrdeeecznie’ and a combination of the lengthened vowel and drop in pitch on the stressed syllable (characteristic of Russian but not Polish) made it sound hilariously sarcastic.

I’m assuming it was unintentional but it was then it’s no big deal, busking is not an easy way to make a living.

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