From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Revision as of 14:48, 16 May 2012
Bargoens is a form of Dutch slang. More specifically, it is a cant language that arose in the 17th century, and was used by criminals, tramps, travelling salesmen and other members of the underclass as a secret code, like Spanish's Germanía or French's Argot.
However, the word "Bargoens" usually refers to the thieves' cant spoken in the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The actual slang varied a lot from place to place; often "Bargoens" denotes the variety from the Holland region in the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam. While many words from Bargoens have faded into obscurity, others have become part of standard Dutch (but are more often used in the Amsterdam dialect than in other Dutch dialects). Examples of words from Bargoens now common in Dutch: hufter (bastard), gappen (to steal) and poen (money). As is the case for most thieves' languages, many of the words from Bargoens are either insults or concern money, crime or sex.
Due to the large number of Jews that were travelling salesmen, and because of their position as relative outcasts, Bargoens has many Yiddish loanwords. Examples are sjacheren (to barter), mesjogge (crazy) or jatten (hands, to steal).