Cant-or bury tales.
Posted by Bob Whitworth on August 25, 1998 at 20:34:38:
In response to 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, written by Linden on August 25, 1998 at 20:14:55
] I've just found this gem in my local second-hand bookshop.
If this is the edition with a forward by Max Harris, it's much better than the newer one edited and expanded by Eric Partridge (I believe that's who did the newer edition.)
] Compiled by Captain Grose, it includes thieves cant, Oxbridge student slang, general colloquialisms, and much more.
Francis Grose was quite a linguist during his time. He also wrote and published a humorous military treatise called "Advice to Officers of the British Army". I have an original 1783 copy, and it is quite funny.
Grose also compiled (among other works) "A Provincial Glossary: with a Collection of Local Proverbs, and Popular Superstitions." I have an 1811 copy of this and will post some interesting items from it periodically.
] Most of the slang seems to be about fornication, theft, dying, and going to the toilet.
Well, what else are thieves going to talk about? They've got to keep quiet about their normal business activities.
] A slight surprise to me is that there is almost no trace of rhyming slang, which is such a marked feature of cockney English these days.
The Canting crew were not all cockneys. And as one of the thieves said: "Don't do the rhyme, if you can't do the time."
] But plenty of other delights, such as:
] Gluepot - A parson: from joining men and women together in matrimony
] Knight of the thimble: A taylor
] Pitt's Picture: A window stopt up on the inside, to save the tax imposed in that gentleman's administration.
There is also a group of "slang" terms used by the "fancy" during the Regency period. Some of the terms are to be found in the back of George MacDonald's latest book "Black Ajax", while more can be found in Pierce Egan's "Life in London....", and his epic "Boxiana". I'll post some of these when I get the chance.
Glad you're enjoying the book.
- When a felon's not engaged in his employment , his employment Caroline 22:07:08 8/25/98 (5)
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