Any outstanding errors in this?

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Mon Oct 14 20:02:16 UTC 2013

On 10/14/2013 06:47 AM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Any outstanding errors in this?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Not a criticism, but I was intrigued by this:
> <<
> From: Dan Goodman
>      ...
> Note:  If you know why "Polari" and "Parlari" wouldn't sound the same to
> someone from New York City ...
> Would it be that the words -- Polari and Parlari -- would be pronounced
> differently,

Different vowel sounds used by nonrhotic speakers.

In Eric Frank Russell's 1946 sf story "Metamorphosite," the protagonist
hears the term for the Evil Empire's rulers as "Lords of Terror."
Later, he realizes it's actually "Lords of Terra."

> or what was said *in Polari or Parlari would be
> different --someone speaking Polari would be uttering cant, someone speaking
> Parlari simply speaking in Italian?

Hmm -- I only knew "Parlari" as a variant spelling of Polari (used by
Eric Partridge.)
> This might be complicated by the observation that Polari and Parlari are
> sometimes used as synonyms for the version of cant which emerges in Britain
> in the fifties, with Polari as the commoner variant.
> Further complicated, since Polari possibly manifests in three different
> forms -- stage Polari, gay Polari (the notorious Julian and Sandy version),
> and circus Polari, and that it is the third of these varieties, Circus
> Polari, which is sometimes distinguished as Parlari.

Ah -- thanks!  I hadn't known that last!

> (I became interested in this as it's specifically Circus Polari which seems
> to show the largest influence of earlier English cant, reaching back to the
> beginning of the sixteenth century.)
> I'd be interested to see Dan unfold his original point quoted above.

Dan Goodman
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

The American Dialect Society -

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