Polari - The Lost Language of Gay Men
By Paul Baker
Routledge – 2002 – 224 pages
Series: Routledge Studies in Linguistics
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.
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.