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Re: OFF TOPIC: Polak used without malice

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  • Zdzislaw Nowicki
    Language is such a fascinating subject. I like to think that the derogatory expression You dumb polack resulted from an anglophone corruption of Ja dumny
    Message 1 of 95 , Jun 1, 2009
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      Language is such a fascinating subject. I like to think that the derogatory expression 'You dumb polack' resulted from an anglophone corruption of 'Ja dumny Polak'.

      But speaking of derogatory language, I have spent quite a few years in various countries and have always been fascinated by the English language and how it adopts, adapts and sometimes corrupts foreign words. Quite a few years ago, in certain circles here in Australia, it was quite common to call Aborigines 'boongs'. It wasn't until I spent some time in Papua New Guinea that I found out what the origin of that word is.

      In Tok Pisin, the official name for Pidgin, the verb 'bung' means to meet someone. When the Australians were stationed in PNG during the war, they lightheartedly called the locals 'boongs' because, when asked where they were going, or what they were doing, they would invariably answer 'Mi go bung wantok bilong mi' (I'm going to meet/see my friend.) Because this was such a common phrase, the Australians simply said that all the locals were 'boongs'. The term was widely used in reputable magazines published specifically for the Australian Armed Forces Unfortunately, over time, what became a term of endearment concerning PNG nationals, became a derogatory term for Australian Aborigines.

      In England, the term 'wog' was applied to people from the Indian sub-continent and was, and still is, a very insulting descriptor. In Australia, it is less offensive and is applied to people from a non-English speaking culture, predominently Mediterranean but inclusive of many European countries. Generally speaking it was used lightheartedly, much as the word 'Pom' is still used to described people from England. Of late, 'wog' is used in a really offensive manner to describe people from the Middle East, particularly Lebanon. At the same time the Australian expression "I've got a bit of a wog" is entirely inoffensive and simply means that the person is feeling slightly ill.

      The French call the English 'bonhommes' which strictly speaking simply means 'chap', 'fellow' or 'bloke'. But in French, it conjures up the image of the sterotypical pot-bellied, bowler-hatted fuss pot wielding an umbrella. Germans are tagged as 'choucroutte' because they stereotypically eat sauerkraut, hence 'Kraut' in North America. They are also called 'boche'(Jerry or Hun.)

      In Africa, the Bantu language group which includes Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, describes foreigners, in particular white European types, as m'zungu or umuzungu. The Polish camp in Tanzania, Bwana M'Kubwa, simply means 'Big Boss' whereas in Rwanda and Burundi it would be understood as the Man and Woman camp.

      The Chinese call Europeans 'gwei-lo' which strictly speaking means 'foreign devil' but also has the connotation of ghost (from the pale skin) or 'round-eye' from the different shape of non-Asian eyes. In Indonesian, a European is tagged as a 'bule' (pronounced BOOLAY)which simply means a white-skinned person.

      I'm glad to say that I'm not fluent enough in Polish to knowingly used a derogatory term for another person but I'm sure that these terms do exist.

      So, in a roundabout way, what I'm saying is that people from an English-speaking background don't have a monopoly on lighthearted, less than savoury or derogatory descriptors for people from another culture. Most of the terms do actually start off with no malice intended but degenerate into offensive words and are replaced by some other descriptor.

      It's just human nature and the thing to listen for is the tone in which the word is used. If a Swahili-speaker greets you warmly by saying 'Habari gani m'zungu' (Hello, foreigner) is it more offensive than 'Jambo b'wana' (Hello, sir)???? You decide.

      As for humour, well, that's an entirely different ball game....

      Zdzis

      Runaway Bay
      Australia

      --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, tbartman <bartmant@...> wrote:
      >
      > I'm smart enough but no genius either. My son is smarter than I. I can
      > think of only three reasons why someone would not get this show. 1) They
      > don't have the needed English language ability 2) They are immersed in
      > another culture as their reference point and just can't get it, or 3)
      > They just are intellectually challenged and have something like a 75 or
      > 80 IQ at most. A lot of British comedy goes right by me because some of
      > the language I don't get, and I'm not familiar enough with their
      > culture. In America network TV is not setup (yet anyway) for people who
      > don't have enough English language ability or American acculturation.
      > Much but not all of it geared toward a pretty low intellectual level but
      > not all of it, and not really that low.
      >
      > Also here in America if Lear's right to air the show was legally
      > challenged because of the content, our constitutional rights would come
      > in to play and the law would clearly be on his side. I don't think it
      > would even be worthwhile to try to take it to court. I'm no lawyer but
      > I think because the language he is using (the show as I remember did not
      > use the worst language) is being used as part of an art form, and part
      > of social commentary or criticism, it would be protected as free speech.
      > If it was being used as part of political hate speech,to incite
      > violence, or otherwise violate the constitutional rights of others that
      > would end up a different matter.
      >
      > Tilford
      >
      > Zbigniew Bob Styrna wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > Yes,
      > >
      > > But Tilford, you sound like a very well educated man.
      > >
      > > Zbigniew
      > >
      > > _____
      > >
      > > From: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
      > > <mailto:Kresy-Siberia%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > [mailto:Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
      > > <mailto:Kresy-Siberia%40yahoogroups.com>]
      > > On Behalf Of tbartman
      > > Sent: June 1, 2009 4:19 PM
      > > To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Kresy-Siberia%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > Subject: Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: OFF TOPIC: Polak used without malice
      > >
      > > That would be very sad indeed. Of course in the real world things don't
      > > in every instance have their intended effect. I think to totally miss
      > > the point of that show you'd have to be a little more than unworldly.
      > >
      > > Tilford
      > >
      > > Zbigniew Bob Styrna wrote:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Yes,
      > > >
      > > > Thanks Tilford. You are entirely right in your analysis.
      > > >
      > > > Ha, ha although I guess his son-in-law in this show, to be honest,
      > > had to
      > > > put up with his father in-law because he was living rent free, in
      > > Archie's
      > > > house. Etc..
      > > >
      > > > My point is that an un-worldly viewers, might construe or
      > > misconstrue the
      > > > subtle message for 12 years running, and believe this crap. This very
      > > > subtle, subliminal advertising is illegal in this country now.
      > > >
      > > > Not everyone in Canada or USA got their Ph.D, in Psychology from a
      > > > University. Some might have gotten theirs from a box of " Cracker
      > > Jacks ".
      > > >
      > > > Of course most of my Polish friends have University Degrees like I
      > > do. But
      > > > not all Polish Immigrants had/have or do.
      > > >
      > > > It did affect some Polish people negatively I'm sure.
      > > >
      > > > Cheers
      > > >
      > > > Zbigniew
      > > >
      > > > _____
      > > >
      > >
      > > Internal Virus Database is out of date.
      > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
      > > Version: 8.0.238 / Virus Database: 270.12.19/2099 - Release Date: 05/05/09
      > > 13:07:00
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Monica Janowski
      Thanks! Look forward to hearing the rest if she can remember. Monica ... Monica Janowski 318 Cranbrook Road Ilford, Essex IG2 6EP Tel 020 8491 3041
      Message 95 of 95 , Jun 17, 2009
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        Thanks! Look forward to hearing the rest if she can remember.

        Monica

        On 17 Jun 2009, at 09:12, Barbara Milligan wrote:

        >
        >
        > Monica,
        >
        > I was taught that rhyme too. I am trying to remember the rest, but
        > the next Q & A is:
        >
        > Kim ty jestes?
        > Polak maly.
        > Jaki znak twoj?
        > Orzel bialy.
        >
        > Have asked my Mum to try for the rest.
        >
        > Basia (UK)
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Monica Janowski
        > To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 6:16 AM
        > Subject: Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: OFF TOPIC: Polak used without malice
        >
        > Janusz - do you have the full version of the poem you mention?
        >
        > Monica
        >
        > On 16 Jun 2009, at 20:54, janusz dziurzynski wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > Since the start of this topic I wondered why is this question of the
        > > use of "polak" in its use automatically denotes malice. To me it was
        > > used since I was a baby. In Africa I learned this ditty from my
        > > mother ...kim ty jestes? Polak maly" the poem is more extensive.
        > > Therefore for the longest time I am happy to be called that by close
        > > friends...Later I saw that it was a perjorative at times.
        > >
        > > The second point "OFF TOPIC" I do not comprehend since it is a
        > > germaine issue that touches all of us.
        > >
        > > Janusz DZIURZYNSKI
        > > New Haven, CT USA
        > >
        > > --- On Mon, 6/15/09, RICHARD KASPRZAK <rekj@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > From: RICHARD KASPRZAK <rekj@...>
        > > Subject: Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: OFF TOPIC: Polak used without
        > malice
        > > To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
        > > Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 9:08 PM
        > >
        > > Hello Jenny
        > >
        > > I guess I hit the button too many times, and hit send without
        > > checking. I'm stillnot sure what all the chatter about Tillford is
        > > about. I've read "a question of honor" and agree its a great book.
        > > But so are a lot of other books, books by Halecki, Gargieliewicz,
        > > Davies etc. All good, just slightly different viewpoints. Sure
        > > seems like a lot of Poles in Vancouver. I thought Hamtramck, Mich
        > > and Chicago, Illinois, were the Polish centers in North America.
        > >
        > > Rysiek
        > >
        > > --- On Mon, 6/15/09, seasidejenny <seasidejenny@ juno.com> wrote:
        > >
        > > From: seasidejenny <seasidejenny@ juno.com>
        > > Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: OFF TOPIC: Polak used without malice
        > > To: Kresy-Siberia@ yahoogroups. com
        > > Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 2:56 PM
        > >
        > > Tilford is just pointing out the lack of background nutritional
        > > information in the brief blurb provided. This site contains many
        > > scholars; I realize that I am posting summaries of the obvious if
        > > they help me stitch together, or anchor, topics and dates and
        > > treaties into a more or less coherent whole. I'm hoping it helps
        > > others. If there is a forum better suited to this admittedly amateur
        > > purpose, I will simply take my twinkies elsewhere <insert smiley
        > > face here>!
        > > Cheers,
        > > Jenny
        > >
        > > --- In Kresy-Siberia@ yahoogroups. com, "seasidejenny"
        > > <seasidejenny@ ...> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Tone it down, Rysiek. Tilford is a knowledgeable, long-term member
        > > of the K-S group who, I believe, is respected for providing well-
        > > balanced information on sometimes complex historical topics.
        > > Twinkies are akin to fairy cakes in the UK but with more cream, if I
        > > remember them right.
        > > >
        > > > Jenny Skulski
        > > > Vancouver, BC
        > > >
        > > > --- In Kresy-Siberia@ yahoogroups. com, RICHARD KASPRZAK <rekj@>
        > > wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > Who is Tilford?
        > > > > ?
        > > > > ???????????? ????????? ????????? ????????? ????????? ??????
        > Rysiek
        > > > >
        > > > > --- On Mon, 6/15/09, Eve5J@ <Eve5J@> wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > From: Eve5J@ <Eve5J@>
        > > > > Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: OFF TOPIC: Polak used without
        > malice
        > > > > To: Kresy-Siberia@ yahoogroups. com
        > > > > Date: Monday, June 15, 2009, 11:47 AM
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > How could I forget that Tilford abhors the book A Question of
        > > Honor because
        > > > > it is truthful and pro-Polish. The book has numerous citations
        > > and an
        > > > > extensive bibliography, totally opposite from the site below
        > > where Poland is
        > > > > not even named on the map! I recall this site from years ago
        > > when it
        > > > > contained anti-Polonism, hatred, and more. Watch it, group.
        > > There are those
        > > > > who are trying hard to erase us from history.
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > A Twinkie is an American snack cake, white cake with some type
        > > of cream in
        > > > > the middle, for those members who are not familiar with it.
        > > > >
        > > > > Eve
        > > > > -----
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > Here is a link to an explanation of early Jewish history in
        > > Poland and
        > > > > Polish reaction to Jewish settlement and involvement in Polish
        > > affairs
        > > > > that I think is not a Twinkie fairy tale version.
        > > > >
        > > > > Tilford
        > > > >
        > > > > _http://members. http://mehttp: //memhttp: //membe_
        > > > > (http://members. core.com/ ~mikerose/ history.html)
        > > > >
        > > > > seasidejenny wrote:
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Zbigniew, Yes, I hadn't realized quite how harshly Poland was
        > > viewed
        > > > > > by Catherine the Great and others; it certainly makes one
        > > consider the
        > > > > > residual impact centuries later. From "A Question of Honour":
        > > > > >
        > > > > > "On May 3, 1791, the Sejm (parliament) adopted a written
        > > > > ************ **An Excellent Credit Score is 750. See Yours in
        > > Just 2 Easy
        > > > > Steps!
        > > > > (http://pr.atwola. com/promoclk/ 100126575x122132
        > > 2979x1201367215/ aol?redir= http://www. freecreditreport .com/pm/
        > > default. aspx?sc=668072& hmpgID=62& bcd=Jun
        > > > > eExcfooterNO62)
        > > > >
        > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        > Monica Janowski
        > 318 Cranbrook Road
        > Ilford, Essex
        > IG2 6EP
        > Tel 020 8491 3041
        > monica.janowski@...
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >

        Monica Janowski
        318 Cranbrook Road
        Ilford, Essex
        IG2 6EP
        Tel 020 8491 3041
        monica.janowski@...
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