Folk speech
Humor

Where’s the toilet?

My informant is an American from New York, whose family originally came from Poland 100 years ago. His grandfather was a baker and his grandmother was a peasant girl.

“I learnt the amount of Polish from her, my grandmother, and it’s funny that because she was a peasant girl, when you say something like ‘where’s the toilet?’ to her it meant ‘you go out to as far with the shovel,’ coz there is no toilet, hahahaha, so that was her word for it. So after that once I went to fancy restaurant with my Polish friends, they were just complimenting on my Polish, and then I asked in Polish, my intention was to ask where is restroom, but literally it means ‘where’s the hole?’ as I asked. Then they were like laughing so badly, hahaha.”

I think it’s really an interesting scenario of people from different generations communicating with each other, in which they would bring in the phrases or terms that were generated only during their specific time period. In this case we can see that people tend to use more primitive and simple phrases in old days because of the less advanced progress of human inventions they had, and later on they use more concise words to convey the concept of those more complicated things that had been invented afterwards.

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