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Is the term 'Polak' derogatory??


tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
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23 Jul 2007  #1

I'm sorry for my ignorance but i really don't know how the Polish view the word 'Polak' is it a derogatory term used for 'Polish' or just the American equivalent.

I have said it around Polish people before and one girl didn't react well, i'm not sure if its a personal thing or a general thing. An explanation of sorts would be appreciated as i don't want to offend people without meaning too.

Amathyst Activity: 19 / 2,708
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23 Jul 2007  #2

in short, yes it is offensive to Polish people. If ya lookin to impress the ladies, I wouldnt use that one again...
OP tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
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23 Jul 2007  #3

ok thanks for the heads up, i just wasn't sure :)
slwkk Activity: 2 / 230
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23 Jul 2007  #4

yeah better say Polish or just Pole(s)
OP tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
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23 Jul 2007  #5

ok kool i apprieciate the answers i just wasn't sure, no offense meant
hello Activity: 22 / 892
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23 Jul 2007  #6

I don't think the term "Polak" (which means "a Polish man" or a "Pole" and is used in everyday language in Poland) is derogatory at all. If anything "Polack" sounds more offensive than "Polak."
truhlei Activity: 10 / 332
Joined: 15 Jul 2007 ♂
 
23 Jul 2007  #7

I'm Russian. The Russians as well as Ukranians call Poles only Polak (more exactly "Poljak") and Polka (female).
I'm sure this term is used since 18 century at least (Lach before).
It is used without any derrogatory sense. It is quite neutral. No Pole who speak Russian or Ukranian notice any negative in this word. No Pole told me he found himself offended when Russians or Ukranians spoke about him as Polak or her as Polka.
Osiedle_Ruda  
23 Jul 2007  #8

Can I assume that you are referring to the term "Polack" rather than "Polak" or "Polka"?

I believe that the former has derogatory use, in the USA at least, but I've never heard it used it in the UK. The latter two simply mean "Polish male/female" respectively, and I can't imagine how they would be considered offensive, as they are the usual terms for a Polish man or woman.

Unless you were using it in an offensive context, such as e.g. "ty pierdolony Polak", but an English speaker would hardly be likely to be using the word like that, would they, and I don't think the OP used it like that either.
slwkk Activity: 2 / 230
Joined: 31 Mar 2007 ♂
 
23 Jul 2007  #9

Can I assume that you are referring to the term "Polack" rather

I was thinking about 'polack' word when I replied... sorry. polak/polka is ok, but it's kind a weird if you mix languages... speak English or Polish ;)
King Sobieski Activity: 2 / 717
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23 Jul 2007  #10

i dont think polak is derogatory at all.

i have even seen an accounting firm called "pol-acc", quite funny actually.
Matyjasz Activity: 2 / 1,544
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23 Jul 2007  #11

The word Polak, as stated before, means a Polish man, so the meaning is not offensive. However, if its going to be used often in a negative way, there’s a big posibility that it will become a derogatory term. It's just like with the word Paki. Why is it considered offensive? It's just an abbreviation of the word Pakistani, isn’t it? Or the word Redneck. What’s so offensive about having a red neck? :confused: Personally I wouldn’t want it to become a derogatory name, so tornado, you are welcome to use it in a positive context as much as you can. :)
truhlei Activity: 10 / 332
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23 Jul 2007  #12

The word Polak, as stated before, means a Polish man, so the meaning is not offensive. However, if its going to be used often in a negative way, there’s a big posibility that it will become a derogatory term.

In Russia and Ukraine it seems to be not so by the mere fact that for today it is the only name for Pole. Formerly in 17-18 centuries Poles were also called Lachs but this is quite an obsolet for today Russian and Ukranian languages.
PolskaDoll Activity: 28 / 2,119
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23 Jul 2007  #13

It's just like with the word Paki.

I've often wondered about this. I would assume, following the rule that made "Paki" offensive, that "Scot" or "Jock" will become offensive and therefore not "PC". I know people who find "Jock" an offensive term towards Scottish people but I do not think this is offensive. Its actually Scottish for "John" so probably is on the same line as Polak at the moment.
Matyjasz Activity: 2 / 1,544
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23 Jul 2007  #14

In Russia and Ukraine it seems to be not so by the mere fact that for today it is the only name for Pole. Formerly in 17-18 centuries Poles were also called Lachs but this is quite an obsolet for today Russian and Ukranian languages.

Not only by Ukrainians and Russians but also by Turks and Tatars... Well generally by our eastern neighbors and Poland was very often called Lechistan. For example king John III Sobieski was called "The Lion of the Lechistan".

I've often wondered about this. I would assume, following the rule that made "Paki" offensive, that "Scot" or "Jock" will become offensive and therefore not "PC". I know people who find "Jock" an offensive term towards Scottish people but I do not think this is offensive. Its actually Scottish for "John" so probably is on the same line as Polak at the moment.

Basically words are just words, it's the context in what their are being used that determines if their are going to be considered offensive or not. It would be a pity if the word Scot would also become an offensive word but sometimes we just can't do anything about it. :(
truhlei Activity: 10 / 332
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23 Jul 2007  #15

Not only by Ukrainians and Russians but also by Turks and Tatars...

Is it possible that settlers from these countries put this word into use in the West?
As to offensive meaning, there are some other examples. Russians call a Jew as Evrej. A word Zyd also exists but only in offensive meaning in Russian. Only an antisemit cal call Jew in such way.

As to West Slavs as far as I know that is the only word that means Jew ant it is not offensive. It is quite neutral
Matyjasz Activity: 2 / 1,544
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23 Jul 2007  #16

Is it possible that settlers from these countries put this word into use in the West?

I guess it is possible, but I'm not an expert on that issue.

As to West Slavs as far as I know that is the only word that means Jew ant it is not offensive. It is quite neutral

Yes, this is the only word for Jews here in Poland and definitely is a neutral one.
PolskaDoll Activity: 28 / 2,119
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23 Jul 2007  #17

It would be a pity if the word Scot would also become an offensive word

It most certainly would be a pity. Luckily, at the moment it seems to a proud word used by Scots - "I am a Scot". but I have heard "Scot" used in a derogatory way - sad, but true.
OP tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
Joined: 11 Jul 2007 ♂
 
23 Jul 2007  #18

Well thanks everybody for your help with this subject, it just goes to show, you learn something everyday

once again THANKS :)
osiol Activity: 55 / 3,927
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25 Jul 2007  #19

I think the answer is you called a Polish girl a Polish MAN. If I was her, I might be slightly offended.
ola123  
25 Jul 2007  #20

Polak in polish means Pole so its no offensife although it is seen as offensive when used in foreign language in place of "Pole" as Polak or Polack. Polak is not offensive only in polish language.

Lachy and Przyrowie is offensive.

Slav I find offensive too but I dont know if I should,
truhlei Activity: 10 / 332
Joined: 15 Jul 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #21

Lachy and Przyrowie is offensive.

Quite an interesting phenomenon. In 17 century Lach was the only term in Russian for Roman Catholic szlachtic from the Crown. Sometimes Russians called Roman Catholics from Litwa also az Lachy. That was quite neutral and the only term for Poles.

Now it may be derrogatory in Russian but not in all cases (for example for Russian historian it is quite neutral and historical). As to its derrogatory sense now, it in my opinion came from West Ukraine. It could be also neutra there but some old west Ukranians hated all Poles since Austrian period.

As to Russians they seem to know nothing of derrogative names of Poles. Sometimes the expression Pszek is used but very few Russians know it (I learned it first when I was 42 years old from a Polish article). That occures because Russian man in the street knows very little about Poles and doesn't have contacts with them at all and Rissian mass media inform only about meal problem and few Polish activities in EU. As to antimissil challenge, it is described as complete USA creation. You see, no possibility to invent any derrogative name
OP tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
Joined: 11 Jul 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #22

Polak in polish means Pole so its no offensife although it is seen as offensive when used in foreign language in place of "Pole" as Polak or Polack. Polak is not offensive only in polish language.

Thank you Ola for the contribution i find all this very helpful and i will have to withdraw some of my harsh comments about you in previous posts, so here i APOLOGISE to you for those.

thnx

p.s. i wasn't calling a Polish girl a polak just poles in general
ola123  
25 Jul 2007  #23

Thank you Ola for the contribution i find all this very helpful and i will have to withdraw some of my harsh comments about you in previous posts, so here i APOLOGISE to you for those.

thnx

no problem tornado, I dont care too much of opinions of strangers on the net about me but in fact Im pleased to read your comment now ;).
OP tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
Joined: 11 Jul 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #24

Hay if your going to band opinions about like i do then you have to have the balls to admit when your wrong and publicly apologise or admit your wrong :)
ArturSzastak Activity: 3 / 593
Joined: 16 Feb 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #25

I'm sorry for my ignorance but i really don't know how the Polish view the word 'Polak' is it a derogatory term used for 'Polish' or just the American equivalent.

Think of it this way:

A black guy wouldn't want you calling him a n*gg*r unless you, yourself are black.

It's kinda the same with Polak and Polish people. You'll hear us calling each other Polaks a few times (in Polish), but if you aren't one you shouldn't be saying it, especially in English.
Zgubiony Activity: 15 / 1,556
Joined: 20 Oct 2006 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #26

Think of it this way:

A black guy wouldn't want you calling him a n*gg*r unless you, yourself are black.

Definitely not the same.

The PL people in NJ that I know aren't offended by it either. I say it in front of my girlfriend and she doesn't even care. It all depends on the context I guess.
OP tornado2007 Activity: 11 / 2,278
Joined: 11 Jul 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #27

OMG i'm confused, although it seems its the context and language in what i say the word 'Polak'
ArturSzastak Activity: 3 / 593
Joined: 16 Feb 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #28

I'd like to know when Polak became an insult anyway. Did people forget what it even means. All Polak means is "person hailing from Poland"

It all depends on the context I guess.

That too, but would you like some random guy you don't know calling you a Polak? It also depends on what kind of person you are, too, passive or aggressive.
BubbaWoo Activity: 33 / 3,521
Joined: 26 Sep 2006 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #29

All Polak means is "person hailing from Poland"

glad someone finally took the time to point that out...
ArturSzastak Activity: 3 / 593
Joined: 16 Feb 2007 ♂
 
25 Jul 2007  #30

I say it in front of my girlfriend and she doesn't even care

Because she knows you. She knows you mean no harm by it.

Poles don't like being called Polaks by anyone but Poles, and it usually has to be said in Polish.

Black guys don't want white people to call them n*gg*rs, but they call each other n*gg*rs all the time.

The only difference I see is the fact that one deals with race and the other deals with a derogatory term used by some as an insult.




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Is the term 'Polak' derogatory??
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