Chrząszcz

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Chrząszcz (beetle, chafer) by Jan Brzechwa is a poem famous for being one of the hardest-to-pronounce texts in Polish literature, and may cause problems even for adult, native Polish speakers.

About this sound Polish original  Phonetic transcription English translation
W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie [fʂt͡ʂɛbʐɛʂɨɲɛ xʂɔɰ̃ʂt͡ʂ bʐmi ftʂt͡ɕiɲɛ] In the town of Szczebrzeszyn a beetle buzzes in the reeds
I Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie. [iʂt͡ʂɛbʐɛʂɨn stɛɡɔ swɨɲɛ] And Szczebrzeszyn is famous for it.
Wół go pyta: „Panie chrząszczu, [vuw ɡɔ pɨta paɲɛ xʂɔɰ̃ʂt͡ʂu] An ox asks him: “Mister beetle,
Po cóż pan tak brzęczy w gąszczu?" [pɔ t͡suʂ pan tak bʐɛnt͡ʂɨ vɡɔɰ̃ʂt͡ʂu] What are you buzzing for in the bushes?”
Monument to the poem's hero

The first line “W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie” (In Szczebrzeszyn a beetle buzzes in the reed) is a well-known Polish tongue-twister.

Thanks to the poem, the town of Szczebrzeszyn is widely known in Poland. A monument to the beetle was erected there in 2002, and a yearly sculpture festival has been held there ever since.

Chrząszcz was translated into English by Walter Whipple as Cricket (whose Polish equivalent is also difficult to pronounce for non-Polish speakers: świerszcz).

See also[edit]