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Apr 16, 2007 Quickie Link: What Is The History of Polari?
By vanrozenheim

Polari - a well-developed form of slang spoken by British gay men in the mid-20th century - fell out of favor with the advent of the gay liberation movement, but has enjoyed a revival in recent years. The origins of Polari are uncertain, but most linguists believe its roots date back at least to the 1800s. At a time when homosexuality was illegal, Polari offered gays a way of identifying one another and speaking about forbidden topics. "Gay people sort of adopted it for themselves like a secret language," recalled an anonymous former seaman quoted in a Merseyside Maritime Museum exhibit about gay life at sea.

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