The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'polari'
Over the next week, the BBC has a special feature on dialects, accents and regional usages in the UK. As part of this series, a BBC reporter tries speaking in Received Pronounciation. the cut-glass proper English accent formerly known as "BBC English", but now only used by automated announcements on the Tube and effete, treacherous aristocrats in Hollywood movies:
For example, wedging a cork in my mouth and attempting to read lines from Julius Caesar was invaluable, helping me keep the tongue flat and speaking with restricted lip movement, but I did feel like a snake who had tried to open a wine bottle with his fangs, only to get stuck.
American tourists in particular seemed to love it, perhaps mistaking me for a Hugh Grant impersonator. A few were slightly scared by my over-enthusiastic use of the phrase "Dear fellow", but a woman named Judy seemed especially enamoured with the accent. "Can I take you home to the ranch?" she said in a rich Texan drawl.Also on the BBC in the Voices series: language change and (the myth of) Americanisation, the language of love, and the language of the love that (once) dare not speak its name, or "Polari".
Via Lukelog, some pages on Polari, a secret underground language used by London's gay community in less tolerant days: (1, 2, 3). Polari (sometimes spelled Palare) is believed to have originated from the lingua franca used by mediæval sailors and/or the slang used by carnival showmen, and contains elements from Italian, Yiddish, Romany and Shelta (the language of the Irish Travellers). It's the language in Morrissey's Piccadilly Palare (of course), and appears to be related to the argot used in an allegedly obscene verse, said to date from the time of the Crimean War, and quoted by Neil Gaiman in one of the Sandman books:
Nanty dinarly, the omee of the khazi,
said due bionc peroney, manjaree on the cross.
We'll all have to scarper the latty in the morning,
before the bona omee of the khazi shakes his doss.