1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

dziwak

Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Athaulf, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    I'm curious about what exactly the above word (dziwak) means in modern colloquial Polish when used to describe a person. I've looked at several online dictionaries, and they give translations along the lines of "odd", "eccentric", "weird", etc. However, I'm curious whether the basic meaning of this word is purely pejorative (like e.g. English "weirdo" or "creep"), or if it maybe also has some positive, or at least not outright negative connotations.
     
  2. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    It is used to describe a person whose way of bahaviour, manners, etc. are strange. Such a person usually sticks out of a group, has their own ways to do certain things that are different from the norm—usually/sometimes ways that are somewhat cumbersome for people. Although it happens that people use it to describe a person who just does things their way—what is innocuous to the rest—but since they are different they are called dziwak.

    As to its connotations I would say the basic word has rather negative ones, I am saying negative since I can’t think of an example where it would be positive or neutral. The word implies to me that there is something at least slightly peculiar with the person being described by it.


    Tom
     
  3. Marga H Senior Member

    Poland,Polish
    To describe such a person and have positive connotations we usually say "oryginał"
     
  4. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hi Marga,

    Do you (anyone else who's interested in, please reveal your thoughts) use this word/hear this word being used as such?
    I mean I wouldn't have qualms using it as an adjective as in X jest oryginalny w sposobie wyrażania swoich myśli. though I expect it could also have negative implications to some people, but that's another kettle of fish. Anyway, if you call someone oryginał does it sound natural to you? If I heard it I would assume someone used it ironically, but perhaps it is just me.:confused:

    Tom
     
  5. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    So if I understand correctly, this word could be used for someone who is geeky, clumsy, and socially inept, and whose social interactions therefore constantly come off as embarrassing or awkward, but who isn't perceived as threatening or scary in any way? This would be the meaning I would guess in the context in which I saw this word.
     
  6. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Yes. One thing I would be a bit fussy about here is clumsy--I am not sure if dziwak has much to do with physical coordinance, though I may be splitting hairs. Someone who is clumsy doesn't have to be dziwak at a time--perhaps the person is a bit shy and timid and is clumsy because of that when found in a bigger entourage.

    Dziwak may be a person with perfectly coordinated movements but be peculiar in the way of carrying themselves, also for the way they dress they can be regarded as dziwak.
    Here is a sample sentence I have found on the Internet:
    Określenie „dziwak” odnosi się również do stylu życia premiera, jego długich, falujących włosów, porównywanych do grzywy lwa, bezpośredniego sposobu wypowiedzi, znajomości języka angielskiego, którą chlubi się w Japonii bardzo niewielu polityków, samotnego życia i upodobania do książek, baseballa, muzyki klasycznej i rocka, szczególnie do Elvisa Presleya. W biuletynie rozsyłanym korespondentom zagranicznym w Japonii sam Koizumi nazywa siebie „lwim sercem”, nazwą, która według biura prasowego szefa gabinetu symbolizuje porównywalną z grzywą lwa fryzurę premiera i jego niezłomność w dążeniu do wdrażania reform.
    http://www.gazeta.jp/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9&Itemid=3

    Come to think of it when someone is clumsy because they try to pose some other people then I guess they could be regarded as dziwak too.

    Perhaps you could give the sentence and context in which you found it, it would be easier to elaborate.

    Tom
     
  7. Marga H Senior Member

    Poland,Polish
    Hi Tom,
    of course oryginał (noun) does sound natural to me! Usually with an adjective wielki .And it usually has a positive meaning, for example you can describe that way an absent-mind professor, a genious of physics.
    Firstly I thought it was a question of a generation gap, but I asked my daughter ( 24 ) and some others young people and they confirmed my opinion.Then I googled http://www.google.pl/search?hl=pl&q=wielki+oryginał&lr= and found anothers examples (of course the word oryginał has also a different meaning )
    PS A typical sentence with dziwak is also: "To miły człowiek, ale trochę dziwak."
     
  8. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thank you for your answer, Marga.

    The usage of oryginał in such a context is new to me I must admit. Well, I guess we learn all life our mother tongue. :)

    A side note: As to the expression you gave, if you write "wielki oryginał" then Google searches only the exact phrase, doing it your way we get all the websites that include words "oryginał" and "wielki" anywhere. I have doen a quick search typing in "wielki oryginał" at first Google spits some over 3000 hits but when you start browsing them it turns out they are a bit misleading:
    Wyniki 111 - 119 spośród 119 dla zapytania "wielki oryginał".
    There are also contexts in which it refers to things. All that suggests to me that the wording is rather uncommon...

    Tom
     
  9. Marga H Senior Member

    Poland,Polish
    And that is the reason I like WordReference Forum . :)
     
  10. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    There isn't really much context. I just overheard someone being called like that (not me :D), and I was curious what this might imply. I think I understand the meaning of the word well enough now. Thanks a lot for the explanation!
     

Share This Page