Tuesday 15th of June 2021


Reproducibility and variety of Polish conventional expletives as indicators of emotionality, impoliteness and/or humorousness in spoken discourse

Władysław Chłopicki, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland pdf_icon_30x30



Abstract: This study traces the major conventional expletives (vulgarisms) indicating impoliteness in Polish, kurwa (kurde), pierdolić (pieprzyć)/pizda, chuj, and jebać, as used in the context of contemporary spoken Polish. All of them in their origin or present use are semantically related to sexual activity, and marginally to farting, which does say something about Polish culture too. Metaphorically, many of them denote talking nonsense or irritation of the speaker with what other people say. Their origin is not always certain. Some come from Old Polish or Protoslavic, while some seem to have come into Polish through Russian (jebać, chuj, pizda). Clearly, such expressions are largely context dependent, and some of them cannot easily be considered impolite due to their highly conventional use in some social groups of “mindless” users. Since these expressions are so prevalent in conversational Polish, a great deal of research has focused on them and a number of functions have been identified. In this study, data are mainly taken from tailor-made corpora of students’ spoken Polish collected in Krakow and Krosno between 2015 and 2017. Comparative data come from the spoken corpus of Polish, which is tagged for speakers’ age, sex, and education. Some of the examples of expletives have a humorous value, and the article discusses the contextual factors influencing the humorous rather than serious interpretation of the expletive use (whether intentional or not).


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