spoken language

  • Hebrew and Polish: Mutual Influences and Their Contribution in Creating a Polish Criminals’ Jargon

    In this paper, I wish to present the complexity of Jewish-Polish relations from the 19th century until the interwar period, with emphasis on sociolinguistic issues. I will illustrate the circumstances of the contact between the Polish and Hebrew languages. Poles and Jews, who lived side by side, developed successful relationships, but mainly in the criminal underworld. That was reflected in a sociolect – a dialect of criminals that constituted a mixture of Polish, Yiddish, Russian, and several other languages, including quite a few Hebrew words, which with time adopted new meanings. Moreover, I  will provide some examples of Hebrew words used in Polish criminal jargon, as well as those which have been coined in every-day Polish. Then I will refer to some Hebrew words that are not connected with a world of crime and are still in use in spoken Polish.

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