Kaliarda XX: Tsipis, Antonakos

By: | Post date: 2017-12-07 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Linguistics, Modern Greek

Sarantakos commenter BLOG_OTI_NANAI has found more two pieces from the Police Chronicles (Αστυνομικά Χρονικά) magazine, which also confirm the association of Lubinistika with both cis female prostitutes and “catamites”.

The first comes from 1953, by K. Tsipis:

A language of similar type and intent is also widely used in brothels, the circles of catamites, ande immediately connected persons, lovers and exploiters of common women of the lower order.

This dialect contains for the most part corrupted words and phrases of Spanish, and other words both Greek and foreign, formed into symbolic concepts. Through this vehicle a mischief-making secret communication is achieved, relating in the main to the financial relations of the lower grades of prostitution. In particular this dialect, known under the name Lubinistika, serves the lower forms of such sinful relations, in its broader use among catamites, in order to conceal their intended and accomplished acts of wrongdoing from the police and other unaware parties, who are for the most part provincials. (Αστυνομικά Χρονικά, 1.1: 1953–06–01, Κοινωνία του Εγκληματίου [The society of the criminal], 13–18: p. 16)

  • Unlike his predecessors and followers in both general and police journalism, Tsipis is unaware of the Romani origins of Kaliarda—unless “Spanish” is meant to be a misconstrual of Romani via Bizet. Given that Petropoulos was only aware of the Romani origins of a couple of words, and that gadjos would have ignored Romani in general, it’s possible that the knowledge of the Romani origins of Kaliarda were relayed by Kaliarda speakers themselves in the 1930s—and that after the War those origins had been forgotten by at least some speakers.
  • There is yet another statement here that Kaliarda was unknown outside the cities, and was used as a secrecy language from the police, who were notoriously often out-of-towners. (I am inevitably reminded of the Rebetiko lyric from Πέντε Χρόνια Δικασμένος: Φύλα τσίλιες για τους βλάχους, κείνους τους δεσμοφυλάκους “Keep a lookout for the hillbillies, those wardens”.)
  • Lubinistika was known, as we have seen elsewhere, by pimps and madams, though we have also seen that pimps’ cant used more generic underworld slang. “Lovers” (ἐρασταί) from context are not clients of female or male prostitutes here (why would they know Kaliarda at all, when they were sex tourists?), nor for that matter the literal partners of sex workers: they are pimps (so a synonym of “exploiters”), and the second piece below uses αγαπητικοί (the vernacular for “lovers”) as its euphemism for pimps (“later on known as μπράβοι or τραμπούκοι ‘thugs’.”)
  • We know very little about the cis female version of Kaliarda, but the reference to “symbolic concepts” may well mean that their version had language play like the version Petropoulos recorded. Then again, criminal slang, which pimps used, is filled to the brim with metaphor, and Tsipis may have had that in mind instead.
  • In the account of Paxinos’ glossary, I had dismissed the list of currency denominations as underworld slang instead of Kaliarda, with the exception of tula “5 drachma coin”. With his explicit talk of finances, Tsipis is saying that currency denominations were very much part of Lubinistika.

The second comes from 1983, by Sarantos Antonakos, and is a history of prostitution and pimps in Greece:

It seems that organised brothels first appeared in Nafplion, and serviced mainly Bavarian officers and soldiers who had accompanied King Otto and the regency to Greece. The houses of corruption were distinct for officers and for soldiers. Their inmates were mainly Italian and Maltese women. They were directed by Italian and German women. A little later, purely Greek brothels appeared, which mainly used Rom women, “protected” by various thugs and criminals. Eventually the Rom and Maltese women collaborated, and in order to understand each other they used the Romani language, which was corrupted and gave rise to the specialised language of brothels, known as Lubinistika. (Αστυνομικά Χρονικά: Jan/Feb 1983, Ζητήματα ηθών μετά την απελευθέρωση [Morals Issues Since Independence], 40.560–561. 78–81: p. 80)

We have already seen this account, in less detail, from Leotsakos.

Once again, the police articles refer to female prostitutes and catamites, but does not explicitly refer to male prostitutes, which is where Montoliu identified Kaliarda to have originated from. This seems to be a recurring blindspot in police reports; Spatholouro has found an explicit reference to male prostitution in 1931, though he hasn’t referenced it:

I should point out in this regard that as I was researching Vourla, I came across a specialist café/bar, where men were “on offer”, in 1931 Drapetsona:

There is the renowned café of the esteemed Mr E.G., which is called the… Aristocrat Bar (Κέντρον της…Αριστοκρατίας)! In that café, the neighbours tell us unanimously, there are …men instead of women!

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