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Introducing Polish Slang

Prof. Maciej Widawski
Guest lecture on Wednesday, June 24th, 18:00-20:00, Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Stephanssaal, Postgebäude, Logenstr. 9-10
Slang is the most informal, expressive and unconventional type of lexicon. It takes up at least 10% of all vocabulary known by the average person, and can be found in all languages. Linguistically interesting and socioculturally revealing, it deserves academic attention just like any other part of language, although is often neglected in studies by professional linguists. Slang is also an important part of Polish lexicon and is strongly linked with Polish culture and society. Knowing at least some slang offers a valuable insight into the nuances of Polish language and culture.
The lecture is designed to be a short linguistic introduction to Polish slang. It presents an overview of patterns of meanings, forms, themes, functions and users of Polish slang. All generalizations are illustrated by dozens of real-life contextual examples from a sizable database of citations from various contemporary sources such as press, film, television, and conversations with native speakers. The lecture will be of interest to students of linguistics, especially those interested in language variation and its sociocultural context, and to students of Slavic studies, especially those interested in the Polish language.
Professor Widawski is a leading Polish sociolinguist and lexicographer, and one of the few scholars worldwide specializing in slang. He has studied Polish, Yiddish and English slang since the early 1990’s at such centers as the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University. Currently, he is Professor of Linguistics at Spoleczna Akademia Nauk (University of Social Sciences) in Warsaw. His numerous book publications include The Polish-English Dictionary of Slang (Hippocrene New York, 1998), Yinglish (Gdansk University Press, 2013), and African American Slang: A Linguistic Description (Cambridge University Press, 2015).