Poland pre 1989
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Autor:  wixer [ 2011-06-02, 01:34 ]
Tytuł:  Poland pre 1989

Hi , I have to read a short article about Poland pre 1989 and I have met a few words which I am not familiar with and which aren't in the dictionary. I'm sure you will be able to help me :D

These are the words

demolud, Międzyzdroj, Szczawnic, these were places where people went on their holidays and PRL ( I think this means Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa ? )

Thanks as always

Autor:  Lilly [ 2011-06-02, 17:01 ]
Tytuł:  Re: Poland pre 1989

Hi, if I good understand, you don't know what mean this words.
Demolud it's colloquial "Eastern Bloc" (you can find the definition of "Eastern Bloc" on wikipedia, if you need).
Międzyzdroj it's "Międzyzroje", the town at the Baltic Sea on the island of Wolin.
Szczawnic it's "Szczawnica"- it's the town too, but in the mountains.
You're right, PRL means Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa.

I hope, I was able to help you. I'm sorry for my English, I don't speak good.


Autor:  muffin666 [ 2011-06-02, 17:41 ]
Tytuł:  Re: Poland pre 1989

Hi Wixer,
You have probably noticed etymology is one of my linguistic pet subjects, so that is why I would like to add my two cents here. Demoludy, always in plural, has been an acronym derived from "demokracje ludowe", which is a shorthand of "kraje demokracji ludowej", which was correctly translated by Lilly as Eastern Block Countries.

"Demoludy" has never been an official name of EBC. It has been coined by Poles in a sarcastic and slightly derogatory fashion, mocking predominantly Soviet acronyms like "politruk", "glavkom" etc. If I remember correctly George Orwell used Soviet style acronyms in his novel 1984. An example of a non-soviet construct of this type would be "samizdat" derived from Russian words meaning "self" and "publishing". It is a little bit like hyphenated words written without a hyphen, but frequently using abbreviated words.

Autor:  wixer [ 2011-06-02, 22:50 ]
Tytuł:  Re: Poland pre 1989

Thank you Lilly for taking the time to give me an answer and wow , what can I say to you Muffin666 , other than thank you very much for such an interesting and informative reply. I have to write a short piece on the article and I intend to base it on your answer. I'm sure my fellow classmates at the evening class I attend will be as equally fascinated with your comments as I am. It's always a real pleasure to read your posts on this forum as they are always so interesting :D

Pozdrawiam serdecznie Wixer

Autor:  muffin666 [ 2011-06-03, 12:48 ]
Tytuł:  Re: Poland pre 1989

In my previous posting I missed a couple of aspects that made the expression “demoludy” instantly
popular in the sixties. First of all, the word “demoludy” was conveniently short and in most cases
immediately understood by the Poles without additional explanation.
Secondly the expression “demoludy” triggered a number of cultural associations of both comical
and slightly political nature:

1.The prefix “demo” is naturally associated in Polish with “demonic”. Please remember the English
abbreviated word “demo” was virtually unknown in Poland at that time.
2.The second component “ludy” was naturally mentally connected with a colloquial expression
“dzikie ludy” meaning “savage nations”

All that created a practical and short expression of frequently described entity, at the same time, allowing the Poles to safely make fun of generally unpopular political system, frequently understood as being imposed upon the nation by a foreign hostile power.

Autor:  wixer [ 2011-06-05, 21:56 ]
Tytuł:  Re: Poland pre 1989

Hi Muffin 666
That's fascinating. Your posts really are brilliant. Thanks again for taking the time to give such an absorbing answer.

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