By Paul Baker

Polari is a mystery type of language mostly utilized by gay males in London and different towns throughout the 20th century. Derived partly from the slang lexicons of diverse stigmatised and itinerant teams, Polari used to be additionally a way of socialising, appearing out camp performances and reconstructing a shared homosexual identification and worldview between its audio system. This booklet examines the ways that Polari was once utilized in order to build 'gay identities', linking its evolution to the altering prestige of homosexual males and lesbians within the united kingdom during the last fifty years.

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Extra resources for Polari - The Lost Language of Gay Men (Routledge Studies in Linguistics)

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In the cases above, the former means ‘street’, while the latter means ‘pinch’ (steal). The phrase can also be abbreviated, so that only the first part of it is used. Therefore stairs becomes apples and pears, or just apples. g. ruddy is rhyming slang for ‘bloody’, and raughty means ‘naughty’. 1. 1 Rhyming slang words used in Polari Rhyming word Derived from Meaning barnet Barnet Fair hair hampsteads Hampstead Heath teeth irish Irish jig wig minces mince pies eyes plates plates of meat feet scotches Scotch peg legs two and eight two and eight state steamer steam tug mug (prostitute’s client) < previous page page_30 next page > < previous page page_31 next page > Page 31 Backslang is formed simply by saying the word as if it was spelt backwards, so face would be ecaf, hair would be riah, and nose would be esong or eson .

Speech communities are therefore best considered as prototypical concepts. g. nobber can mean ‘nine’ or ‘one who collects money for a beggar’). Such homonyms are significant and can be accounted for in a number of ways. For example, one group may have borrowed a linguistic item from another but incorrectly understood the meaning, or they may have adapted it for their own needs. In some cases, the meaning of a shared word or phrase would change over time for one group but not the other. Both Lave and Wenger’s (1991) theory of communities of practice and Pratt’s (1987) theory of linguistics of contact work well in this context.

Linguistics of contact theory recognises that there is overlap between members of communities and between the communities themselves. This places emphasis on the changing identity of the individual rather than on separate and homogeneous group identities, each with its own jargon or anti-language. g. occurrence of the same linguistic items in different groups) both diachronically and synchronically, it becomes necessary to view each group not so much as different links in a chain, but as overlapping states of being that an individual can inhabit serially or multiply at different times.

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