Language vulgarisation and devulgarisation in contemporary Polish
The use of vulgarisms is a striking phenomenon for the linguists investigating contemporary Polish. Vulgarisms appear most frequently in the spoken language but they also occur in the written texts. Some authors of literary texts regard them as artistic devices used for creating and describing characters. Everybody, regardless of their sex, age, education, profession and social background, uses the so-called “dirty words” and their euphemic equivalents. They appear both in formal and informal contexts as single words and multiword structures. The expansion of vulgarisms is closely connected with the spread of colloquial language which supersede its standardised version, i.e., the cultural dialect traditionally referred to as literary Polish. Vulgar words can be heard everywhere. The exception is the church. However, the colloquial language becomes more and more widespread due to increasing concern about the effectiveness of communication achieved by means of reducing distance, e.g. between the priest and its audience. The factors stimulating the use of vulgarisms include the number of reasons of social, sociological, cultural, communicative, and educational nature. While describing and interpreting vulgarisms two opposite yet tightly connected trends should be taken into account, namely vulgarisation and devulgarisation. Both of them result in the use of the so-called “dirty words” in utterances. The research was shown that vulgarisms are used not only by those who seek strong means of expression but also those who are no longer aware of original vulgarity and obscenity of such words and merely threat them as means of conveying humour. Interestingly, the words which until recently have been considered rude, e.g. “świnia” (pig), “osioł” (ass), świr” (freak), “głupol” (butthead) now are classified as vulgar. This phenomenon can be described as secondary vulgarization.