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When you're learning a language from afar , so to speak , it's often hard to know whether words are 'in' or 'out ' I heard some words today and was wondering if they are still used in Polish or if they are ' past their sell by date ' np
posiłek południowa zamiast 'lunch'
predsiębiorca zamiast ' biznesmen'


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This is exactly what I found. When my parents and I left Poland in 1980, our development of the language stopped. That is, we just continued to speak the Polish we knew, without outside influence. As we were declared criminals, or at best persona non grata, we could not return to Poland for over a decade, and finally when we did start visiting Poland more regularly from 2000 onwards, we found that most youth speak a kind of "ponglish" (polish-english). The older members of my family (and other families we know) to this day feel shocked at the lack of purity of Polish.

I would argue that Polish emigrants from the 60s, 70s and 80s speak a more pure Polish than many (most?) Poles in Poland :wink:

Sometimes when I speak with real Polish people (Real Polish People, Registered Trademark, Copyright Polska <date of birth here>) :wink: they laugh at some of the old words I use.

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This is exactly what I found. When my parents and I left Poland in 1980, our development of the language stopped. That is, we just continued to speak the Polish we knew, without outside influence.


really? you haven't seen polish newspaper or a magazine for 30 years? or spoken to your family or friends on the phone?

I am not suggesting that you adopt the new speak, but surely it is out of choice rather than the lack of choice?

Inedeed, it is regretable that Poles replace existing vocabulary with that of foreign origin, more so than ever before, but they have always (last 60 years) been prone to valuing everything that's western above their own.


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Valdi, I know it sounds weird, but yes really ;-)

Let's not talk about the full 30 years, but for a good 20 years I would say that the total number of Polish movies, newspapers and magazines that we saw were less than 10 in total. Remember it was a time of censorship, much post was destroyed, and the items that did reach us were opened and selectively censured. It was impossibly expensive for family to call us, and also very expensive for us to call home - so only my mother called her parents (who would obviously not adopt new language trends).

I guess I need to add that we left almost en masse - almost all persons under the age of 40 in our entire family left at the same time, with us. So, as you can imagine, the Polish friends and family we most wanted to communicate with were right there in dark Africa.

Most of us kids switched to English within a year, and frankly it was my sheer interest in reading Quo Vadis in the original at the age of 24 that saved my Polish. The book took me around a year to read, the second about six months, and now I read fluently. Note thus that my "relearning" of Polish was entirely based on Polish classic literature. Having left Johannesburg (the centre of Polish presence in South Africa) and gone to Cape Town to study, also meant I did not have any Polish friends. By this time, all communication, even with Polish people in South Africa was in English.

It was only when I moved to Luxembourg a few years ago that I spoke and wrote Polish for the first time in a good decade, almost two.

I still get laughed at when I use some words from Chlopi, by Reymont :wink:

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P.S. Exactly the same happened to the Dutch who moved to South Africa a few hundred years ago, but on a larger scale.

Whenever I go to Holland and speak Afrikaans (the name for the language that Dutch has become in South Africa), they understand, but look at me like I woke up from a 300 year nap.

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Fascinating I love that word ' ponglish' :D


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I think that the language spoken by expat communities grows and develops too, often taking on constructions and words from the host culture. Naturally they may chose to keep words that have fallen out of favour "at home" and that might give the language an old fashioned feel. Is Afrikaans really Dutch as it was spoken 300 years ago or is it how the Dutch spoken by a group of settlers in South Africa developed?


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I think that's a good point Helenka. English is a good example here with the English spoken in Australia and the USA in particular being quite different to that which is spoken here in the mother country.


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Hello, Wixer. I haven't been here for quite a time :)

wixer napisał(a):
posiłek południowa zamiast 'lunch'
predsiębiorca zamiast ' biznesmen'

There is no such thing as "posiłek południowy". Never heard of it :) Lunch or "przekąska" (not a meal, but sth you eat when you get munchies) would do :) "Obiad" is also good (dinner - but not supper!)

"Przedsiebiorca" is still used these days, as far as I'm concerned. It's "biznesmen" which sounds a bit awkward to me (well, it is used, but for me it's too "western" and "american").

The problem with natural language... Well, I have the same problem with English. I went to England for some time and found out, that many of idioms and words I had been learning on my studies are no longer user in Britain. Well, some of them even for 20 years as well.

I don't know the changes in Polish, it's too natural for me to think about it. But every language changes and it changes really quickly. And it's difficult to be up-to-date, if you're not in the country in question.


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Helenka - of course Afrikaans is not exactly as Dutch was 300 years ago. It has developed, but I would imagine that language develops in proportion to need. Thus, it developed by adding new words for all the African things. On the other hand, due to the small size of the community, due to the fact that they used the Dutch bible as their linguistic guide, and due to the fact that they lived in a rather primitive way (in comparison to the technological developments in Europe), the language has changed far less than you'd expect. Hence the feeling that Dutch people get when listening to Afrikaans is one of listening to an old version of Dutch.

Disclaimer: Note that I am not a scholar of the field, and it is only a personal opinion based on knowledge of the language, and discussions with Afrikaans and Dutch persons.

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Hi,

as far as I know, Afrikaans is an extremely simplified and 'worn off' Dutch, not unlike some Negro dialects in the South (US), but it surely contains archaisms. For instance, while for the verb 'be' in the present tense there are 4 or even 5 different forms in Dutch, in Afrikaans there is but one. (In Dutch: ik ben, jy bent, hy/zy/het is, wy zyn, julllie bent (gij zyt), zy zyn, in Afrikaans just 'is' for all persons.)

The language of the Dutch Bible is not at all like Afrikaans, abstraction made from occasional archaisms in the latter.

Besides, Afrikaans reflects rather Holllandish dialects than literary Dutch of the seventeenth century.

In Polish, 'lunch' is a necessary neologism, because we don't or didn't have this meal. 'Obiad' is not 'lunch', nor is 'supper' or 'dinner' 'kolacja'.

I should say I hate various English 'imports' in syntax and semantics in Polish more than in the lexicon. 'Businessman' or 'biznesmen' is harmless as compared to 'agresywny' used in the sense of the English 'aggressive' or 'powiedział, że był chory' as a translation of 'he said he was ill' (the correct translation is: 'powiedział, że JEST chory', whereas the former sentence means 'he said he had been ill' in English.)

You have to consider the difference, though, between the Polish of the 'man of the street' and the Polish of those Poles who care and mind their language. The same goes for English, I reckon, both in ZA and elsewhere.


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You make some excellent points, and I need to correct my statements as they came out wrong. I was trying to be overly simplistic, thinking nobody here knows any better, so no need to go into details. Nice to know my presumption was wrong :wink:

The bibles that the first Arikaners had were apparently in High Dutch (as you say, at literary level). Given the lower average education of those who came to South Africa, and their difficulty in passing on that knowledge to their children and to black persons (especially after the Great Trek from current Cape Town to current Pretoria), over time High Dutch was completely forgotten. The language was simplified - you are correct - there is almost no inflection at all - you just speak, no need to think too much.

Anyway, I'm not qualified to get into deeper details really, but the fact is that both myself and my South African friends got exactly those comments from Dutch persons - that we sound archaic. Whether those Dutch persons are qualified to call it archaic is another story! Maybe it just sounds weird to them, and that's all they can relate it to.

Not sure if one could call it a dialect of Afrikaans, but in Cape Town, the "coloured" people (mix of white, black, asian, indian from a long time ago) speak what we call Cape Flats Afrikaans. Cape Flats because they all live in the flat area between Table Mountain and the mountain range out towards Stellenbosch. This Afrikaans is fairly standard, but is spoken with a hilarious accent, and has the richest, most superb, vocabulary for insulting people of any language I know (yeah, even Polish) :wink:

I will not translate the following as it would be simply offensive, but I think enough people do not know Afrikaans to ignore the meaning and concentrate on just the written visual form:

"Naai man! Gaan vrek! Jy was deur jou ma se gat gebore want haar poes was te besig!"

Imagine the scene: Two of these guys, drunk out of their minds, standing on opposite street corners, and screaming at each other above the noise of traffic.

The above would be pronounced as if you were very drunk, had a grip around your testicles, as follows (read as if you were reading Polish - jak sie pisze tak sie czyta, H ma byc takie jakbys czyscil sobie gardlo przed splunieciem):

"Naaaaaj maaaan! Haaan frek! Dzej was djuuur jooou-ma-se-Hat Hebuore want haar puuuuuus was te bjesiHHHH!" :wink:

MODERATORS: PLEASE DELETE this post if anyone finds this offensive. Discussion is purely for academic reasons. It's off topic anyay.

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You make some excellent points, and I need to correct my statements as they came out wrong. I was trying to be overly simplistic, thinking nobody here knows any better, so no need to go into details. Nice to know my presumption was wrong :wink:


Well, thank you... or dank je, or however you say that in Afrikaans... .

Cytuj:
The bibles that the first Arikaners had were apparently in High Dutch (as you say, at literary level). Given the lower average education of those who came to South Africa, and their difficulty in passing on that knowledge to their children and to black persons (especially after the Great Trek from current Cape Town to current Pretoria), over time High Dutch was completely forgotten. The language was simplified - you are correct - there is almost no inflection at all - you just speak, no need to think too much.




you're saying that 'tongue in cheek', aren't you? No thinking about inflexions sure, but the rest?

I ploughed my way through a few Afr. essays on things legal etc., it was quite all right, not like coming from some uncivilised 'boors'... . The few Afrikaanders I met in life were nice and approachable, helpful even, and civil.

Cytuj:
Anyway, I'm not qualified to get into deeper details really, but the fact is that both myself and my South African friends got exactly those comments from Dutch persons - that we sound archaic. Whether those Dutch persons are qualified to call it archaic is another story! Maybe it just sounds weird to them, and that's all they can relate it to.


Well, I have no doubt that there many archaisms in Afrikaans, maybe more dialectal archaisms than Bible-style archaisms but still

Cytuj:
Not sure if one could call it a dialect of Afrikaans, but in Cape Town, the "coloured" people (mix of white, black, asian, indian from a long time ago) speak what we call Cape Flats Afrikaans. Cape Flats because they all live in the flat area between Table Mountain and the mountain range out towards Stellenbosch. This Afrikaans is fairly standard, but is spoken with a hilarious accent, and has the richest, most superb, vocabulary for insulting people of any language I know (yeah, even Polish) :wink:


Downtrodden, humiliated races often develop rich vocabulary of curses, insults and so on. In our (i. e. the Poles') case it's just as often *thinking of ourselves* as downtrodden, though.

Cytuj:
I will not translate the following as it would be simply offensive, but I think enough people do not know Afrikaans to ignore the meaning and concentrate on just the written visual form:

"Naai man! Gaan vrek! Jy was deur jou ma se gat gebore want haar poes was te besig!"

Imagine the scene: Two of these guys, drunk out of their minds, standing on opposite street corners, and screaming at each other above the noise of traffic.

The above would be pronounced as if you were very drunk, had a grip around your testicles, as follows (read as if you were reading Polish - jak sie pisze tak sie czyta, H ma byc takie jakbys czyscil sobie gardlo przed splunieciem):

"Naaaaaj maaaan! Haaan frek! Dzej was djuuur jooou-ma-se-Hat Hebuore want haar puuuuuus was te bjesiHHHH!" :wink:

MODERATORS: PLEASE DELETE this post if anyone finds this offensive. Discussion is purely for academic reasons. It's off topic anyay.


Strong indeed. What is 'vrek' though? (Unless it's too offensive...). Funny it says 'ma se'; the Dutch say 'ma 'r', or 'ma haar' (full form), 'pa z'n', 'se' is obviously 'z'n'. Mother HIS a...?

As regards English influence on Polish, some say those Polish children who are taught English at an early age (say 3 or thereabouts) are hard put to learn how to pronounce the letter 'r' in Polish the Polish fashion (i.e rolled with the tip of your tongue), the English 'r' being much easier to pronounce. This I heard from second-hand, can't confirm or disconfirm it myself. What I myself have observed, though, was that even young adults who have been in UK for a long time start pronouncing 't', 'p' or 'k' in words as 'taki', 'patyk', 'kosz' the English way, i. e. with a faint 'h' after the consonant: thaki, phatyk, khosz, which is absolutely uncharacteristic of Polish in any of its native variants.

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vrek = die (of an animal) (zdechnac)

gaan vrek = p*ss off and die = idz i zdechnij

Again, there is no inflection so "se" is the possessive irrespective of gender, number, or person. So I guess from "pa z'n" -> "pa se".

I also confirm most of us kids who went to SA lost the Polish "r". I can still say it without problems, but it's something I need to consciously think about it and be aware a good few seconds before it's needed :wink:

Boers (not same as 'boors' from English 'boor') are perfectly excellent people! I was not implying otherwise. They just forwent (if there's such a word) certain cultural aspects as life was damn tough when you had two oxen, a cart, and were in the middle of wild Africa. They are in fact responsible for some of the top technological advances of the last century - to this day nobody comes close in mining technologies. In the Deep Levels areas of Johannesburg there are shafts going down more than 4000m. That requires a whole unique industry. Not to mention SASOL which is a company that can make crude oil from coal. When it comes to heavy industry in general, they lead many fields by decades.

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digilante napisał(a):
vrek = die (of an animal) (zdechnac)

Cytuj:
gaan vrek = p*ss off and die = idz i zdechnij



Oh I see, it's 'verrecke' in German, a German loan-word, perhaps.


Cytuj:
Again, there is no inflection so "se" is the possessive irrespective of gender, number, or person. So I guess from "pa z'n" -> "pa se".


Yes.

Cytuj:
I also confirm most of us kids who went to SA lost the Polish "r". I can still say it without problems, but it's something I need to consciously think about it and be aware a good few seconds before it's needed :wink:


Interesting to know. But in Afrikaans it's like in Polish more or less, so you have to think about in that language too?

Cytuj:
Boers (not same as 'boors' from English 'boor') are perfectly excellent people! I was not implying otherwise. They just forwent (if there's such a word) certain cultural aspects as life was damn tough when you had two oxen, a cart, and were in the middle of wild Africa. They are in fact responsible for some of the top technological advances of the last century - to this day nobody comes close in mining technologies. In the Deep Levels areas of Johannesburg there are shafts going down more than 4000m. That requires a whole unique industry. Not to mention SASOL which is a company that can make crude oil from coal. When it comes to heavy industry in general, they lead many fields by decades.


'boor' originally meant 'peasant', only later did it acquire today's meaning. It was a pun. Does 'boer' still mean 'peasant' in Afrikaans? Or take 'churl' in English --- it's the same as 'kerel' in Dutch, bloke, man, but has taken on a pejorative meaning. Not even a macho wants to be 'churlish'.

Yes I know, considerable achievements, chapeau bas. Yet the English or the French in N. America were in a comparable situation in the beginning, and they did not 'forgo' their culture. But that's a very rough comparison.... . Nothing against the Dutch, but theirs was a more 'practical' civilisation that those of the English or the French. BTW: do you know the song 'gou(d) en silver het ek lief'?

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