When homosexuality was illegal, a secret language brought people together.

In 1960s England, Polari was a creative blend of Romani, Italian, rhyming slang, and backslang, used among the LGBT community. It could be used to communicate, or to identify someone a a member of the group. Now Polari has been lost, even as some of its words have crossed over into mainstream English.

We’re talking to Professor Paul Baker about this lost language on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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374: Polari, Britain’s Lost Gay Language (with Paul Baker)

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Show notes

The comma touch: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s aides send language rules to staff | Politics | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/26/the-comma-touch-jacob-rees-mogg-sends-language-rules-to-staff

Politician bans using word ‘equal’ in bizarre ‘style guide’ rules
https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/uk-politicians-ridiculous-style-guide-to-staff-leaked-to-press/news-story/97aff6609f0bbceb7dd8f7cf8de9555a

Jacob Rees-Mogg falls foul of his own style guide he issued to staff | Metro News
https://metro.co.uk/2019/07/28/jacob-rees-mogg-falls-foul-style-guide-issued-staff-10473815/

Hopefully | Definition of Hopefully by Merriam-Webster
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopefully

Chase commits to AI after machines outperform humans in copywriting trials | AdAge
https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/chase-commits-ai-after-machines-outperform-humans-copywriting-trials/2187606

Code eats copy for breakfast: Human copywriters are doomed – Digiday
https://digiday.com/marketing/humanoid-copywriters-good-as-dead/

Hide, copywriters! Here comes Persado’s first self-service version of its writing machine | VentureBeat
https://venturebeat.com/2015/07/28/hide-copywriters-here-comes-persados-first-self-service-version-of-its-writing-machine/

Ngalakgan Family Grid | Skin Names | Ngukurr Language Centre
https://ngukurrlc.org.au/resource/ngalakgan-family-grid-skin-names/

Kinship and Skin Names | Central Land Council, Australia
https://www.clc.org.au/articles/info/aboriginal-kinship

(PDF) Commitment to our Country
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262676450_Commitment_to_our_Country

Our Family System / Skin Names – Aboriginal Australian Art & Culture
https://www.aboriginalart.com.au/culture/family.html

The secret language of polari – Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool museums
http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime/visit/floor-plan/life-at-sea/gaylife/polari.aspx

Fabulosa! — The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language
http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/fabulosa/

Paul Baker | Linguistics and English Language | Lancaster University
https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/linguistics/about-us/people/paul-baker

Cants And ‘Anti-Languages’ — The Hidden World Of Secret Languages
https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/cants-and-anti-languages-the-secret-history-of-cryptolects/

How ‘Hold My Beer’ Became the Punchline of the Moment – WSJ
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-hold-my-beer-became-the-punchline-of-the-moment-1493391690


Transcript

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