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"Poles" or "Polish people" - which is better to use?

Cardno85 31 | 971
10 Aug 2008 #61
Scottish / Scotsman

Actually we just get "Scot" most of the time. The English call us Jock a lot which annoys the tits off us.
4 Sep 2008 #62
Most dictionaries I've come across define 'Polak' as a racial slur/derogatory title for a person of Polish descent. From my own experience it can certainly be used that way. I think it is comparable to 'nigga' and I wouldn't want someone non-Polish using it unless they know that I'm cool with them. Having said that, of course it's ok for other Polish people to use it among themselves.

'Pole' just sounds stupid to me.

I also identify as a Slav. So I say I'm a Slav or a Polish person.
Del boy 20 | 254
4 Sep 2008 #63
I am reading a book published in 1948, written in English by Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, Prime Minister of the Polish goverment in exile during World War II( second important persona after Sikorski ). Every time when he did mention about Polish people he was using the term "Poles". So when Polish exile elite had to use that term it looks like a proper one
5 Sep 2008 #64
I don't think the term 'Pole' is derogatory; just stupid sounding. 'Polak' can be used in a derogatory way when used by anyone non-Polish.
Somerled 5 | 93
6 Sep 2008 #65
I use Pole because saying "polish people" is too long. Its like calling Blacks in the states "African Americans". I wouldn't expect someone to call me a Scottish person or an American when they can just say Yank or Mick (or sh*thead).

That being said, I was told that "pollack" just means male Pole and I use it extensively. Is someone playing a mean joke on me?
HelenaWojtczak 28 | 177
7 Sep 2008 #66
Funny to object to English speaking people using the term Pollack, when the Polish people use the word "polak" !
BubbaWoo 33 | 3504
7 Sep 2008 #67
youre quite right helena but for some reason im not suprised ;)
Seanus 15 | 19669
7 Sep 2008 #68
The usual situation, it's OK for them to use it but not outsiders.

I guess certain outsiders gave it a negative connotation.
8 Sep 2008 #69
Although there are some Polish people who do not find it offensive when non-Poles use the term 'Polak,' (e.g. HelenaWojtczak) I imagine that they have not experienced that unhappy occasion of being discriminated against due to their cultural background. How lucky you must be to either not have experienced an anti-Slavic prejudice that is really prevalent in the West (it was acknowledged in popular culture as far back as 1951 in a Streetcar Named Desire), or to just manage to just be oblivious to it. I wish I could pretend that the term Polak does not conjure up 'dumb polak' joke references and other negative stereotypes.

If you, however, consult most dictionaries you will find that there is an acknowledgment and explicit mention of the derogatory meanings associated with the term. According to

Po·lack Audio Help /ˈpoʊlɑk, -læk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[poh-lahk, -lak]
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a Pole or person of Polish descent.
15 Sep 2008 #70
Actually we just get "Scot" most of the time. The English call us Jock a lot which annoys the tits off us.

Its more annoying when they call us "sweatys", makes me want to stick the heid on the morris dancing f***ies!!!
Cardno85 31 | 971
16 Sep 2008 #71
I have never been called a sweatz (mz kezboard hates me since i changed the lazout). Jock is bloodz annozing though.
tygrys 2 | 290
16 Sep 2008 #72
(mz kezboard hates me since i changed the lazout).

click on shift and alt to get back typing the y when u need to
Cardno85 31 | 971
16 Sep 2008 #73
marvellous, thanks very much :)
3 Oct 2008 #74
I'm really surprised how strongly some people feel about the word Pole. As has been pointed out, it is a perfectly legitimate way of referring to a Polish person and it corresponds to words like Dane, Swede, Fleming, Briton, Spaniard etc. in that it is a noun, which Polish is not. You can use the Polish as a collective term, but you cannot use it in the singular form (*a Polish). And circumscribing a Pole as a Polish person is, if done consistently, pretty awkward. Also, at least in the UK it doesn't carry any connotations that Polish would not carry. It is used, and has been used, as a standard term in the British media. Use it and be proud of it.

As for Polak, Polack, Pollock etc., the ones ending in -ck are obviously anglicized spellings, which again is legitimate. Polish is polaco in Spanish and there the c has the k sound too.
3 Dec 2008 #75
"I'm also polish and Ive been tested to be a genius i do know however that we are very stubborn and opinionated with a wicked temper we strive to learn new things everyday but we can be somewhat lazy our attitudes may have evolved over the years from constantly being told we are dumb but i ask everyone that is not polish can you speak our language ?no then how does it feel to be dumber than a Pollock"

-Quote from Y!Answers
that guy call him self a polish person & polak(lock)
i don't mind what people call me as long as they don't call me russian after ive told them im not russian
Seanus 15 | 19669
3 Dec 2008 #76
You are a genus of what, a newt? LOL

Yes, I can speak Polish, and what of it? I know other non-Poles who can.

Get over yourself mate
4 Dec 2008 #77
In Scotland it is seen to be derogatory and racist if you call someone from Pakistan a Paki. So maybe some Polish people feel the same about being called a Pole? Not sure the reason or history behind it?
Misty 5 | 144
4 Dec 2008 #78
"Polak" is the word most Poles find offensive. I don't think "Pole" is a problem at all. You can avoid using it though if you're worried. Rather than say "He is a Pole" you can say "he is Polish". Then again, where does is end? Should we say "Guest is a Scot" or "Guest is Scottish"? Which offends the least? I think they're both equal just as I think "Pole" and "Polish" are equal. "Polak" and "Jock" are seen as derogatory.

(I'm saying Scot/Scottish Guest because you wrote "Scotland" so was assuming you are from there. :)
24 Mar 2009 #79
Best said you don't call someone Polish a pollack, its the same thing as calling and African American the N-word, its just that people don't see it the same way.
Cardno85 31 | 971
24 Mar 2009 #80
I agree, although I think Jock is really quite a soft derogatory term. I amn't too bothered by it. I would prefer something else but hey, who cares. I think people are just too PC in the UK.
ZIMMY 6 | 1601
24 Mar 2009 #81
I think that if ppl from Poland are called Poles then ppl from Holland should be called Holes .

People from Germany should be called Germs?

People from Brazil should be called Bras?

People from Italy should be called Its'?

You can take it away from there.
MrBubbles 10 | 613
24 Mar 2009 #82
People from Germany should be called Germs?

People from Brazil should be called Bras?

Mongolia - Mongoloid
Lesbos - Lesbian
Crete - Cretin ?
13 Aug 2009 #83
Honestly, don't go calling Polish people Poles. It's degrading. I'm Polish and really it's just you being lazy. The origin is actually a Polish word meaning field dwellers but I'm not sure what that word is. Does anyone know? That's what I'm trying to figure out.
pgtx 29 | 3133
13 Aug 2009 #84
It's degrading.

ragtime27 1 | 146
13 Aug 2009 #85
People from Germany should be called Germs?

People from Brazil should be called Bras?

Mongolia - Mongoloid
Lesbos - Lesbian
Crete - Cretin ?

Albania Albinos ;)
7 Feb 2010 #86
we prefer to be called THE POLANS
RubasznyRumcajs 5 | 497
7 Feb 2010 #87

i don't know who you mean by 'we', but i'd not be happy if someone would call me 'Polan' (or, in fact, any other tribe-man-name). And I also see no problem when someone calls me a Pole (or Polish)- seriously, it doesn't matter (for me at least)
Semsem 16 | 26
9 Feb 2010 #88
Best said you don't call someone Polish a pollack

First, the derogatory term is "Polack". Pollack I think is a surname.

"Polak" and "Jock" are seen as derogatory.

No. Polak is NOT derogatory at all. After all it is Polish, and means "Pole". It's the American mis-spelling of it "Polack" that's derogatory. However, for me, "Polack jokes", being called a "Polack" and the like doesn't bother me. However, when I say "Polak" and get glances, I explain it's without the "c" and most folk around here then are okay with it.

But, it's mainly a thing of WHERE you are, and what the social norms are. Like, there are areas where if you called an African-American a n***er, it'd be tolerated, but other places, you'd best NEVER say that. But, Poles get that a lot in America, so don't go around saying that at work and you should be fine! (You might get some glances, but so long as you don't mind...ya know?)
Seanus 15 | 19669
9 Feb 2010 #89
My Taiwanese-American friend openly used the work Pollock and she definitely didn't intend to be pejorative. She is not that type of person. She used it as an adjective to describe Poles, two of which are her best friends.
23 Feb 2010 #90
I just read Kosciuszko's biography and it stated that pole means prairie lands...hence the name Poland.

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