Lost in translation?

youtube.com Natasza Urbańska "Rolowanie"

Ponglish, a language mixing Polish and English, is becoming increasingly popular, not only in Poland, but also in English-speaking countries where many Poles reside (see BBC report on Ponglish here ). Language purists are often offended that a native language is being cluttered with foreign words, where very often there are perfect substitutes for them. Just take a look at the job postings in your local Polish paper. It looks like everyone is looking for some kind of a manager, or accountant, and not for dyrektor or księgowy.

We here at the WBJ are masters of Ponglish. Working in a bilingual newsroom there’s no way around it. Sentences like “W ich ostatnim report, mieli ten million in profits,” are natural for us and we don’t even see how hilarious it must look when our Editor-in-Chief (from Indiana) asks us if we “rozumisz,” and when some of the office staff (who are exclusively Polish) ask him questions in Polish ending with “you understand?” At least it works both ways.

But we all (well nearly all, except one person who should remain anonymous for now) were left speechless when we heard and saw the latest offering from Natasza Urbańska, a semi-famous Polish singer and dancer, titled “Rolowanie.” We’re not here to discuss the music itself. Some like Chopin, some like Justin Bieber, “De gustibus non est disputandum,” quoth the latin maxim.

The visual part was one thing: if you’re into licking bathroom sinks and bouncing around a wet floor like an out-of water fish, then you’ll be in heaven.

Lyrically, it’s just in another universe. The mixture of Polish and English was baffling even to us, Ponglish experts. Take a look at this verse: Dziary że ho ho/Oldschoolowy Joe/Obcy come along/Nie rób tragedian. I don’t think even a dictionary could help you decipher it. According to Urbańska herself, it’s a lyrical attempt at describing how the youths are talking among themselves, and should be treated with tongue in cheek. She also posted a Polish version of the lyrics in which the aforementioned verse looks like it: “Tatuaże Józefa robią wrażenie,/Trzeba przyznać, że facet ma styl/więc o co Ci chodzi?/Nie tragizuj.”

Are you laughing now?

See the video for yourself :

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