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Paul Baker. Hugh Nini. Register a free business account. Review "Baker intersperses his account with snippets of interviews with Polari speakers, whose firsthand recollections are invariably arresting and funny.

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He is partial to a spot of innuendo himself, and manages to slip one in every now and then. He is especially acute on the political uses of vulgar innuendo. For those who want to be in the know, Fabulosa! There's a fascinating look at its origins, from Cant to lingua franca, and from Italian to Romany; and its usage, from slang spoken by prostitutes to perhaps its most celebrated outing, by characters Julian and Sandy in the classic s radio show Round the Horne.

His approach feels fresh, and the personal interludes add to the narrative without being overly intrusive. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to Polari bona! Paul Baker is professor of English language at Lancaster University.

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Start reading Fabulosa! Don't have a Kindle? Customer reviews. How are ratings calculated? Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States.

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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. Fabulosa indeed.


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I remember listening to Sandy and Julian over Sunday lunch, and wondering what was going on. I think even at my age then I was aware of camp I had an art teacher who was. Baker does his exploration extremely well, and his musings around the subject are fascinating and I hope he expands these in his next book. One person found this helpful. This book is a masterpiece of style, a popular presentation whose breezy, entertaining manner conceals deep erudition and feeling. It lays out in a graceful and engaging fashion the roots and history of Polari, a hermetic mode of speaking used by gay men in the UK and elsewhere in days gone by, days of illegality, secrecy and peril.

In doing so, it presents a picture of gay culture underground and its transformations in the years since homosexuality was decriminalized, if not destigmatized, in Paul Baker shows us linguistics as a potent force in social analysis, one that is rigorous, incisive and engaged. In condensing large amounts of material he not once falls into simplifications or over-statements. His touch is respectful and compassionate in evoking the lives of the queens of yesteryear, preserving the diversity of experiences amid hardship and bigotry.

When he weaves in toward the close a bit of his own experience, the restraint and nuanced impact are masterful. The wonder is that this erudite academic researcher I have thrilled surveying his scholarly oeuvre could produce such a flawless work of popularization with the sheen of apparent effortlessness. Here is the sprezzatura of applied linguistics, for us to revel in.

See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. I love language, different dialects and interesting words so I devoured this fascinating book. He mix mashed old English, Romany, Australian and tons in between in the way he spoke! So damn sad to read of the extreme prejudice and often lives lost or life altering changes just because of the person you love I did enjoy reading this fascinating and enlightening book It really was Fantabulosa and a well deserved five stars.

Utterly brilliant, a thoroughly enjoyable read about the language. The temptation to use polari is overwhelming. I have said the most outrageous things whilst appearing to have a quite normal conversation. A very enjoyable book to read about the story of polari.

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Buy it. Polari, it seems, was drawn from a huge range of sources, there are elements of Cockney rhyming slang, French, and even words handed-down through the generations by Cumbrian farmers, used when counting their sheep.

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Perhaps what this does best though is shown just how much has changed for the gay community within a relatively short space of time. Yes, there are sad recollections, but there are good times aplenty, and this written in a way that exudes a contagious positivity. Highly recommend. Report abuse. For lovers of "Round The Horne", an essential guide to the language 'they got away with', because it was as impenetrable as Ancient Greek is to most people. Also a delightful trundle through the 'gay lingo' of a less welcoming age for the gay community, when secrecy meant staying out of jail or keeping one's job.

Thankfully, we now live in more enlightened times. Sadly the language is in decline, maybe this book will reawaken interest in it before it goes the way of Morse, if only for nostalgia and cultural heritage reasons. Interested in supporting our work? Find out more about fundraising, becoming a community leader or a corporate partner. Please enter your email below and proceed to the donation page. Please choose which areas you are interested in:.

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