Lisicki vs Lisitski – Wozniacki vs Wozniatski

Help! I am confused as what is the correct way of pronouncing the names of two WTA tour players: Sabine Lisicki and Caroline Wozniacki. As you may already have read, Sabine Lisicki of Germany beat Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2, 6-4 to win the Family Circle Cup and her first tour title on Sunday. Congratulations to Sabine! However, there is one thing that I keeps annoying me: what is the right way of pronouncing their last names. Both of them are of Polish origin, obviously, and all the Russian media pronounce their last names the way they would be pronounced in Polish. That is as LISITSKI. I remember a commentator at the tournament in Luxembourg pronouncing Wozniacki’s names as WOZNIATSKI. The WTA site officially lists the pronunciation of Sabine’s name as “za-BEE-nuh LEE-zi-kee.”  Now, Russians usually tend to butcher foreign names, however, since the Polish language is very close to Russian, they deffinetely know how to read the Polish last names. But I read somewhere that Sabine herself prefers her name pronounced as Lisicki. I know, transliteration can be confusing. Hopefully, if these young players continue playing well, one standardized solution will be reached:-)

16 thoughts on “Lisicki vs Lisitski – Wozniacki vs Wozniatski

  1. dai

    For polish and many slavic nations is sound funny and without key meaning, where meaning belonging to family, i.e. LISICKY –> from famyly of LISIC. however we have to respect their choices. In US many such names holders choose to become rather Indian then Polish -:).

    Some of them don’t have knowledge about, some don’t wont to make complications for their coworkers, etc..

  2. Nina

    What I have also noticed, many commentators often misplace the accent, especially when it comes pronouncing Eastern European names and surnames. When you put the accent on a wrong syllable, sometimes the names can sound completely wrong to native speakers:-)

  3. grahame

    At uni I had two students named Lewicki
    They pronounced it Lewitski.
    The great composer Penderecki is pronounced
    Penderefski.
    These are all names of Polish origin and the cki
    ending is pronounced in this way

  4. DK

    The __Polish_ pronounciations are:
    Lee-shee-tskee , and, Vozi-nya-tskee.
    (BTW: Lisicki would be equivalent to Fox or Foxworthy [lis=fox], and Wozniacki – Carter [woznica=carter].

    However, since Poles tend to be proud people, and thus usually unwilling to change the spelling of their names in order to accomodate their adopted countries(e.g. : Lisittzky or Wosniatzky) – the local pronounciations usually depend on how the specific language, be it German, Danish or English or French(don’t forget Alexandra Wozniak of Canada) – decides to pronounce the names in question.

  5. KH

    Caroline Wozniacki is born and raised in Denmark and has adapted the pronunciation of her name.

    Transscribed into English, it would be something like (capitalization showing how it is stressed):

    COWleaner VosneeAcky

    For international consumption, she herself pronounces Caroline like the English do.

  6. nuutzer

    They both pronounce their last names just with [ki], not with [tski]. Just watch the bagcheck videos on Youtube where they say their own names.

  7. sabinefan

    Hey nuutzer thanks for that, been driving me nuts with commentators calling her Sabina Lisitski, nice to find out even she pronounces it Sabine Lisicki

  8. Bobo

    It is supposed to be pronounced WoazniaTSki, LiciTSki and Bernard TomiCH not Tomik. Far out. Can the commentators finally become more proffesional and start saying the names how they should be, not how they want them to sound.

  9. Krystyna Hollis

    …..Polish surnames have a feminine or masculine ending (and even one for unmarried ladies although that might be a Russian bent)….so Lisicki is Lishitski or in Sabine’s case Lishitska!! Or even Lishitskova if unmarried! Lisickowa in Polish.
    Wozniacki is pronounced Vozniatski and as Caroline is a Girl(!) Vozniatska…there now…

  10. Richard

    Allmost all comments here are wrong and are based on preconception rather than fact:)) The simple truth is that there is only one way to pronounce those surnames and WTA has simply chosen to ignore it, choosing the “lazy” way, rather like spelling Iraq with an I instead of E. Generally it’s our ignorance and feeling of the supremacy of English language that is at fault here.. Anyway, Lisicki is pronounced LEE-SHI-TZKY, and Wozniacki as WOZ-NIA-TSKY. It doesn’t matter that on some videos you’ll see players pronouncing it differently. They’ve simply given up, seeing and hearing how people don’t give a damn about learning the proper way. It’s like hitting a brick wall really.. And just one more thing – IF Lisicki was living and was married in Poland, she would either take her husbands surname OR stay with her maiden surname. There is no “unmarried ladies ending” as described above:))In Lisicki and Wozniacki case, both their mothers apparently decided to take on husbands surnames in their masculine form, otherwise they would become Lisicka and Wozniacka. And by the way – both players speak pretty good Polish;-)

  11. Pingback: Sabine Lisicki’s intervew after Wimbledon semi-final win » Tennisinfoblog

  12. Znalac (Znalatz)

    Bobo and Richard are totally right, players sometimes give up, as have I gave up to pronunciate my name correctly when introducing my self in Western Europe. For an average person it is OK, but journalists should do a better job. It is just ignorance, reading info on one of similar websites is enough, and if others do their best to speak English, then the least thing you can do is do a bit of research on the name.

  13. Anna

    there is “unmarried ladies ending”, just not used official and very often right now, it’s just oldfasion, but trust me, it exist
    -ówna is ending for unmarried woman (ó is another type of “u”)
    -owa is for married
    for example douther of Mr. Kowalczyk will be Kowalczykówna, his wife Kowalczykowa, but in official paper they bought will be Kowalczyk
    thrust me – I’m Polish

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