Kaliarda VIII: Pavrianos, Klynn

By: | Post date: 2017-11-24 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

In this post, I give two somewhat extensive texts in Kaliarda, that give a better flavour of the language than I’ve found elsewhere—even if they don’t date from the 1960s, let alone the 1920s.

The first is a 2013 pop song, Καλιαρντοσύνες “Kaliardadoms”, with lyrics by Giorgos Pavrianos, and sung by Betty Vakalidou; recall that Petropoulos had discussed Vakalidou’s use of Kaliarda in her 1979 autobiography. The video clip is online, and features naked luchadores. It is a Kaliarda text generated from within the community. And it has several words beyond Petropoulos’ dictionary.

The second is a skit from comedian Harry Klynn from the 1997 album The X Klynn Files, Ανάποδα, featuring a gay man complaining in Kaliarda about politicians. It’s clearly a text from outside the community; in fact its punchline features the one word Kaliarda speakers never used to describe themselves, pustis.

—What’s that guy saying?
—Weren’t you saying “Won’t some son of a bitch stand up and say what’s wrong with this country?” [In idiomatic Greek: “some faggot”]
—… Yeah?
—Well, that was the faggot.

Initially, I was impressed by Klynn’s skit, and unimpressed by Pavrianos’ song. After transliterating and glossing them, I’ve flipped on both. Pavrianos’ song is somewhat disjointed, and its chorus parrots the top five Kaliarda words; but it is clearly reflecting a real language, that was not exhausted by Petropoulos. Klynn’s skit, once I looked at it closely, cleaves a little too closely to the dictionary (the Greek people’s hunger is not religious fasting, for example), and there’s only a little morphological productivity on display.

I’m italicising the Kaliarda words in the following, and boldfacing the words not in Petropoulos. I’m putting in red the known Romani words, in blue the known French words, in green the Italian words; in purple the Turkish words; in brown the English words; in grey the words whose etymology is unknown. I’ve asterisked the words which are foreign but have come into Kaliarda phonologically unchanged via either Standard Greek, or Koutsavakika.

I owe the transcription of Kaliardosynes to a comment on Gay News In Greek:

[EDITED with corrections. In brackets, verses from the transcription not in the video; in curly brackets, verses from the video not in the transcription]

[Ανάλω] Αβέλω νταμίρα*
η ντάνα η μοίρα
τα μπουτ μου [αβέλει] μπενάβει κουλά
Αβέλω μια φούμα
βινάρω την ντούμα
κι αρχίζω σερσέ για τουλά

[Αβέλω κατόλια
που ντίκω τα τσόλια*
να έχουνε βγει πρεσαντέ
Αβέλω και ντέζι
μια λούγκρα με παίζει
μα νάκα αβέλει μπερντέ]

Αβέλω χαλχάλω
βουέλω να χάλω
κακνά της κακνής δικελτά
Αβέλω μπαλόμπα
και νάκα η μπόμπα
μονάχα τα μπουτ πιασμαντά

[Αβέλω τζους λέσι*
μια λάτσα μ’ αρέσει
κι αρχίζω με σικ το παρόλ
Αβέλω μια μόλα
και γίνομαι γκόλα
και δίνω παντού κοντροσόλ]

{Αβέλω και ντέζι
μια λάτσα με παίζει
μα νάκα αβέλει μπερντέ
Αβέλω μια μόλα
και γίνομαι γκόλα
κι αρχίζω με σικ το κονέ}

Βουέλουμε μπουτ
στα καλιαρντά

I smoke hashish
Fate that whore
tells me a lot of crap
I take a drag
I drink in the smoke
and I start [looking] for money

I cry
seeing scoundrels
go out on the beat
I get horny
A bitch/pretty girl plays with me
But she doesn’t have any money

I [am hungry?]
I want to eat
fried eggs
I eat too much
and no blowjob (?)
just a lot of groping

I clean up
I like a pretty girl
and I start gently [chatting her up/getting to know her]
I have a [drink]
and I get [drunk]
and I give kisses everywhere

You do, I do
You do, I do
We do a lot of lies
You understand, I understand
You speak, I speak
We speak in Kaliarda


from κατ-αναλ-ώνω “consume”?  But avelo is more plausible.
damira “hashish”:
Dura Liarda, from Koutsavakika, and the word features in old Rebetika songs. According to Donmhtsos at slang.gr, from Ottoman Turkish damır “thin”, and it was also used to refer to the hallucinogen datura stramonium “jimsonweed”
dana “whore”:
truncation of Standard Greek putana < Italian
ta but “the (neut.pl) very” as emphasis of “very”.
The use of the neuter plural article is a Kaliardaism that is not grammatical in Modern Greek—but it does correspond to Ancient (and Puristic) Greek τὰ μάλα.
the omni-purpose verb appears both as avelo and as its Dura Liarda variant vuelo, and is used here both as a content verb (“I take a drag”, “she has money”, “I want to eat”, “I take a drink”) and as a light verb (“I do tears = cry”, “I do horniness = I am horny”, “I feel hungry”, “I feel full”, “I do away filth = I clean up”)
“drag (of cigarette, of hashish)”: truncation of Standard Greek fumaro “I smoke” < Italian
vinaro “to drink”
< Italian vino “wine”
duma “smoke”:
truncation of Standard Greek dumani “smoke” < Turkish
serse “looking” (?)
< French chercher “to seek”
tula “money”:
“Etymology unknown” [EDIT: Romani thulo “thick”, as a calque of Greek slang xontra referring to wads of cash]
katolia “tears”:
“Etymology unknown”
diko “see”
< Romani dikhel
tsoli “scoundrel”
< Standard Greek “mop” < Turkish çul
presante “on the beat”
< French presenter “to present”
dezi “desire, horniness”
< French desirer “to desire” or Italian desiderio “desire”
lugra “bitch”:
“Etymology unknown”
naka “not”:
“Etymology unknown” (Arvanitika nukë?) [EDIT: Romani na khan “not at all”]
berde “money”
< Standard Greek “stage curtains” < Turkish; Petropoulos suggests it is because money covers up everything? Montoliu gives the more plausible Romani parne “money”; there may have been a folk-etymology at work. [EDIT: actually, Lubunca belde < Turkish bedel “price, cost, fine”]
presumably “hungry”, as reduplication of Romani xal “eat”
xalo: “eat”
< Romani xal “eat”
kakna tis kaknis ðikelta:
according to Petropoulos both kakna (neut.pl) and kakni (fem) mean “chicken”; but from context the neuter here means “egg”:
“eggs of a hen, eyes”, which is a calque of Standard Greek αυγά μάτια “egg eyes” = “fried eggs”. In Petropoulos, the expressions is tekna tis kaknis ðikelta, “children of a hen, eyes”, which makes more sense.
ðikelta: “eye”
< Kaliarda ðikelo “see” < Romani dikhel
baloba: “fatso”
< Kaliarda balos “fat” < Romani balo “pig”
bomba: “blow job”
< Kaliarda bombona “sweet” < French bon-bon
piasmanta: “groping(s)”
< Standard Greek pias- “to hold, to grab” + French -ment (nominaliser)
dzus: “away; without” <
Romani džav
lesi: “filth”
< Standard Greek “corpse” < Turkish leş; dzus-les- is productive in Kaliarda with the meaning “cleaning, beautifying”; hence dzus-les-latsaðiko “filth-away beauty shop = beauty parlour”
latsa: “beautiful”
< Romani lačho
me sik: “gently, politely” (lit. “with chic”)
< Standard Greek sik “chic, style” < French chic
from context, “chatting up” < French parole “speech”. The video has, I think, kone < French connaître “to get to know”
presumably variant of mol “drink” < Romani mol “wine”
listed in Petropoulos as Dura Liarda for “deaf”; but from context this is an inflected version of older mainstream slang indeclinable gol “drunk”. This literally means “(soccer) goal” < English goal, but has been derived from older gon < English gone
kontrosol “kiss”
< kontro “against” < Italian contra + sol “sweetness, pleasure”: “Etymology unknown”
musanda “fake”
< Standard Greek musi “goatee; bullshit” < French mouche
dzinavo “to understand”
< Romani džanav “to understand” + džinav “to count, to read”
benavo “to speak”
< Romani phenav

I owe the transcription of Klynn’s skit to the Zone-Memo blog; it’s more accurate than the transcription on YouTube, which is genuinely confused, but I’ve still intervened in places to normalise the text to match Petropoulos.

Κυρίες και κύριοι, σας αβέλω λατσαβαλέ. Αβρακιάζομαι η κουρκουζελού, γιατί δικέλω όλες τις ζουγκλολουμπίνες, τις λούγκρες, τους γκραν τζαζμπερτεροπουρούς και θεόμπαρα που γοργοτζολιάζουν θρονιασμένοι παραντίκ στο Γκραικοκάθικο, να έχουν αρπάξει την ζουμοσακούλα και ν’ αβέλουν μπαλόμπα και καλιαρντά χαλέματα. Ενώ ο λαός, λιγδομπερντές δικελοσβουριασμένος, ατζινάβωτος και αναιμιάρης συνεχώς στο ανεμοτζάσιμο και στη γκοντάχαλη, αβέλει διακόνα στο μπερντέ και έχει πέσει στην αχαλού και στο γυροδιακονάρισμα.
Σας αβέλω μπακαλούμω, να πρεσάρουμε* και να αβέλουμε κόντρα τέμπο σε όλους τους κατέδες που τζεβέλουν κουσελιά στα όνειρα μας, και νάκα αβέλουμε τούφες.* Και αφήνομε τις βιδομπλαντορούφες να μας πίνουνε το μπλάντυ. Μόνο έτσι θα γλιτώσει η μπαξ-και-λατσή μουτζόπουρη Ελλάδα. Αλλιώς μας δικέλω να τζάμε τα τιραχά και να αδικοκουτιαζόμαστε. Αβέλτε μου κανά γαργαρογλασόνι, άφρισα η μπλούκρω! Ούψα και στο λατσοδίκελμα!

Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you welcome. This slut is outraged, because I see all the disgraceful gays, the bitches, the grand philanthropists and the fat men stink as they’ve enthroned themselves next to Athens, grabbing the spoon and gorging themselves and eating bizarre food. While the people, penniless and dizzy, innocent and confused, are left in sacrifice and fasting, are out begging for money, and have ended up in hunger and begging. I ask of you that we should pressure all those who wish to betray our dreams, so that we can’t sleep, but let those leeches drink our blood. That’s the only way that Mother Greece can be saved once and for all. Otherwise, I see us dying and in coffins. (Get me a soft drink, I’m so thirsty I’m foaming at the mouth!) Goodbye, and see you soon!


latsavale: “beautiful-doing” = “welcome”.
In Petropoulos λατσάβελες (pl.); this variant uses the pseudo-French suffix .
avrakiazomai: “I am outraged”
< a- “un” + vraki “underwear” < Latin bracca: a calque of the Standard Greek expression for being outraged, βγαίνω από τα ρούχα μου “I come out of my clothes”
kurkuledzu: “slut” (πουτανιάρα).
“Etymology unknown”. On the recording, kurkuzelu
ðikelo: “to see”.
< Romani dikhel
zuɡlolubines: “disgraceful gays”.
< Greek zuɡla “jungle” + Romani lubhni “whore”
luɡres: “bitches”
“Etymology unknown”
ɡran dzazberteropurus: “grand philanthropists”.
Italian gran “big” + Kaliarda dzazo “to drive away, to throw away” < Romani džav + Kaliarda berde “money” < Romani parne + Kaliarda puros “old man” < Romani phuro
θeobara: “extremely fat”
< Greek θeo- “God” as intensifying prefix + Romani pharo “heavy”
ɣorɣodzoliazun: “stink”.
< Gorgonzola cheese
paradik: “next door to”.
< Greek para “next to” + Romani dikhel “to see” (i.e. facing)
ɡrekokaθiko: “Athens”, lit. “The Chamberpot of Greece”
< Italian greco “Greek” + Greek kaθiki “chamber pot”, so called because all of Greece has ended up in Athens, and because geographically Athens is situated in a basin
zumosakula: “spoon”
< Greek zumi “broth” + Greek sakula “bag”
avelo balomba: “to gorge oneself”
< Kaliarda balomba “fatso” < Kaliarda balo “fat” < Romani balo “pig”
kaliarda: “bizarre”
Literal use of kaliardos “ugly, evil, strange” < Romani kaljardo “blackened”
xalemata: “food”
< Kaliarda xalo “to eat” < Romani xal “to eat”
liɣðoberdes: “penniless”
< Standard Greek liɣða “stain” + Romani parne “money”
ðikelosvuriasmenos: “dizzy”
< Kaliarda ðikelo “see” < Romani dikhel + Greek svura “spinning top”
adzinavotos: “innocent”
< Greek a- “un-” + Kaliarda dzinavo “understand” < Romani džanav “to understand” + džinav “to count, to read”
anemiaris: “dizzy”
lit. “bloodless”
anemodzasimo: “sacrifice, work in vain”
Standard Greek anemos “wind” + Kaliarda dzazo “drive out, throw away” < Romani džav (so: throwing something to the winds)
godaxali: “(religious) fasting”
English God + Greek a- “un-” + Kaliarda xalo “eat” < Romani xal
ðiakona: “begging”
Truncation of Formal Standard Greek ðiakonia; avelo ðiakona sto berde “go begging for money” is a fixed Kaliarda expression
axalu “famine”
< Greek a- “un-” + Kaliarda xalo “eat” < Romani xal
ɣiroðiakonarisma “begging”
< Greek ɣiro “(going) around” + Formal Standard Greek ðiakonia “begging”
bakalumo “request”
< Turkish bakalum “we’ll see”
presaro “to press, to pressure”
< Standard Greek “to press on a laundry press; metaphorical: to pressure” < Italian pressare
kontra tempo “pressure”
< Italian contra “against” + Italian tempo “time”
kates “that one”
< Romani kathe “here”
dzevelun “to want”
< Kaliarda avelo < Romani avil
kuselia “betrayal”
“Etymology unknown”
naka “not”:
“Etymology unknown” (Arvanitika nukë?)
tufes “deep sleep”:
Possibly Italian tuffo “diving”, word shared with Kutsavakika
viðobladorufes “leeches”:
Standard Greek viða “screw” + Kaliarda English bladi < English bloody + Standard Greek rufo “to suck”
bladi “blood”:
< English bloody
baks ke latsi “once and for all”:
Calque of Standard Greek mia ke kali lit. “once and good”; baks < Puristic Greek apaks “once” < Ancient Greek hápax; latsi “beautiful” < Romani lačho
mudzopuri “mother”:
lit. “cunt old-woman” (i.e. old woman who gave birth) < Kaliarda mudzo < Romani mindž “vagina” + Kaliarda puros < Romani phuro “old”
dzazo ta tiraxa “die”:
lit. “fling off shoes = kick the bucket”, calque of Standard Greek idiom τινάζω τα πέταλα “fling off one’s horseshoes” < Romani džav + Romani tiraxo
aðikokutiazomaste “be buried”:
< Kaliarda aðikokuti “coffin” < Standard Greek “box of injustice” (from the notion of death being unjust: cf. Standard Greek idiom αδικοχαμένος “unjustly lost = dearly departed”)
ɣarɣaroɡlasoni “cold soft drink”:
Standard Greek ɣarɣara “gargle” + Kaliarda ɡlasoni “ice” < French glaçon
blukro “thirsty woman”:
Not in Petropoulos’ dictionary; < Kaliarda blukru “thirst”, which Petropoulos believes is onomatopoeic
upsa “salutation; hi!”:
“Etymology unknown”; cf. English woopsie!
latsodikelma “seeing again”:
(used in farewells, as calque of Greek επανιδείν, which is a calque in turn of French revoir and German Wiedersehen); lit. “good seeing” < Kaliarda latso < Romani lačho + Kaliarda ðikelo “to see” < Romani dikhel


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