1st Edition

Polari - The Lost Language of Gay Men

By Paul Baker Copyright 2002
    224 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Polari is a secret form of language mainly used by homosexual men in London and other cities during the twentieth century. Derived in part from the slang lexicons of numerous stigmatised and itinerant groups, Polari was also a means of socialising, acting out camp performances and reconstructing a shared gay identity and worldview among its speakers. This book examines the ways in which Polari was used in order to construct 'gay identities', linking its evolution to the changing status of gay men and lesbians in the UK over the past fifty years.

    1. Introduction2. Historical Origins3. Uses and Abuses4. Julian and Sandy5. Polari as a Language System6. The Death of Polari7. The Revival of Polari?8. Dictionary


    Paul Baker is a research associate at the Department of Linguistics, Lancaster University. His research interests include endangered and minority languages, language and sexualities and corpus based approached to language engineering. He has published papers in the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Literary and Linguistics Computing and Computer Assisted Language Learning. He is a committee member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages.