Sunday, September 20, 2015

That's so (sic!)

Justinowi Bieberowi powiększono na fotkach mięśnie i wypukłość gatek opinających krocze (sic!).

This sentence is taken from the Polish magazine Polityka from an article about the use of Photoshop.

Over the years, more and more English has slipped into the Polish language. I'm not a language purist, and English is my language so all the better for me. When I first came to Poland, the common "okay" saved me many a time. Having said that, when incorporating a foreign word or phrase into our own language, we should know what it means and strive to use it properly. 

I had a very frustrating boss in Poland who used to mix lunch and launch, two words he constantly used while speaking and writing in English and in Polish. I pointed it out to him, but he lunched/launched on. I think he was messing with me. He also mixed up BS and BO - bullshit and body odor. He'd walk around the office shouting, "That's total BO!" I didn't tell him about it. He was kind of a jerk. I told the rest of the office though. I'm kind of a jerk too.

It's important that when using WTF in Polish that you either say "what the fuck" or the censored version "what the what". If you choose to say the letters WTF only, the Polish pronunciation probably isn't the best idea. Well, it always makes me laugh anyhow. The most important thing is the context, then the pronunciation. I've yet to see WTF used out of context in Poland.

I overheard a group of teenagers talking on the bus about how one of the boys almost managed to ask out a girl he likes. "So close," the one boy said in English. It was perfect.

And that's why we use a word or phrase in another language - because it is a better match to our situation...unless someone is a jerk and wants to pretend to be sooooo international. Those people don't count. Context or no context, pronunciation or no pronunciation - they're still jerks.

That brings us back to (sic!). I was taught in school back in the dark ages that it should be written [sic] and in no way means that the aforementioned text is sick or is some kind of situational fuck-up czyli fakap for the Polish corporate audience. It is primarily used when you are quoting some original text, and there is an error in it. The [sic] indicates that you are aware of the error, not just a poor typist or autocorrect victim. If you the author would like to write something incorrectly you may also add [sic] to your own text. If you would like to write something that is so absurd or crazy that people will assume it is a mistake, you can also use [sic]. It is less often used to point out archaic use of words or erroneous logic in a quoted text. On Facebook it is usually used to embarrass someone who doesn't know that the word definitely doesn't have an "a" in it. 

My point here is [sic] does not mean chory. So what kind of commentary is Polityka making about the fact that Justin Bieber's muscles and, um, package were allegedly enlarged using Photoshop in his advertising campaign for Calvin Klein? I guess that it is so absurd that without the (sic!) you'd think it was some kind of a joke. Maybe. I'm not so sure.


I started to think that I was unfair to Polityka maybe because I don't think it is at all absurd that Bieber had himself Photoshopped in an ad campaign. I will give Polityka the benefit of the doubt. I decided to Google sic in combination with different publications and check the the top 20 hits. What did I find? I found that usage in Polish is almost exclusively to show absurdity. Sometimes the statements are not absurd enough in my opinion. It should be used when it's so absurd you'd think it was a mistake. In English it was almost exclusively used to indicate an error in spelling or grammar in the original text. So let's agree that we use it differently. And as pointed out in the comments, sic is Latin which I am aware of.


ds said...

It comes from Latin and was widely used in Polish even before English started being popular. But yes, it's often used incorrectly.

Wojciech Zylinski said...

Yup, it's Latin.

Chris said...

Yes, I'm aware that is is Latin not English. My plan was to only write about sic and its common usage, but then I started thinking about my boss, etc. I also use Polish words when otherwise speaking English. I try to use it correctly. I'm especially adept at the swear words.

I edited the post above because I felt that I was unfair to Polityka. I just didn't think the Bieber info warranted a sic.

Me said...

1) tak, takim sposobem,
2) w takim stanie,
3) w takich okolicznościach,
4) wskutek tego, stosownie do tego,
5) tak bardzo, w takim stopniu,
6) przeto, więc,
7) sic passim – tak wszędzie,
8) sic porro – tak dalej.

Ze słownika Plezi (Mariana chyba). Moje rozumienie użycia "sic!" oznaczało zawsze w rozwinięciu: "tak, właśnie to co widzisz, dokładnie to co jest napisane, to nie błąd ani pomyłka" i używane jest wtedy gdy czytelnikowi zwraca się uwagę, że to co jest przed "sic!" jest poprawnie. Bez znaczenia czy to błąd językowy, pisowni (stąd kiedyś używano np. przy przepisywaniu tekstów/ksiąg) czy absurdalność tego co napisano.
A odnośnie wyrażeń z obcych języków. Jestem zdecydowanym przeciwnikiem. Już wystarczająco przez wieki napożyczaliśmy sami nie będąc źródłem pożyczek (oprócz niewielu do innych Słowian lub Litwinów). Moim zdaniem to prowadzi do zubożenia języka i jego ujednolicenia. Swoje zapominamy a obce adaptujemy.


english language invades poland said...

The biggest problem with poles is overusing english words and phrases. They replace polish language by english language. I think their grandfathers cry because they fougth for the biggest values and almost everything poles sold.

Aleksandra said...

OK, so, to sum up... It's not English but Latin (as the others pointed out) and it is used in a different context in Polish than in English. If they used it in English, it would be wrong. In Polish, it was absolutely fine and NOT a copy from English. Unnecessary post.

Chris said...

Yes I stated that I know it is Latin. I am aware that I switched gears in the middle of the post without stating it. I am also aware that usage is different as I stated. That is why I checked usage in 5 popular English publications and 5 popular Polish publications. I stated that the usage is different. I'm aware the Polish language can, may, and does use it differently and it is not a copy of English.

All posts are unnecessary. I write this blog for my own pleasure. The fact that someone reads it and may get some entertainment from it is just an added bonus.

Kasia Adamska said...

I laughed so hard reading about your boss - although I seriously hope you don't have to deal with him anymore! I can totally relate, there's way too many people showing off their "proficiency". Btw I always thought that "sic" was added to a quotation containing an error, so that the quoting person wouldn't be accused of making the mistake.

slawekk said...

I think the usage of [sic!] in Polish drifted over the years from the one Me describes ("tak, właśnie to co widzisz, dokładnie to co jest napisane, to nie błąd ani pomyłka") to the "isn't that absurd" one. The incorrect usage became so common that it stopped being incorrect. I still understand it the old way.

Chris said...

Hey slawekk. Yes, the uses went off in different directions and I can't get used to the Polish usage.