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Anachronisms

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Sun December 28th, 2008, 1:36 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Dad is medieval, but because it sounds modern, it can have the effect of dragging readers out of the story, even though it's correct. It's recorded i.e. written down from 1500, but has probably been around much longer than that.
I have several medieval recipes for Lasagne. I'd have to check on their dating, but I think they were around long before Marco Polo.
I am pondering whether to use Dad in some form in my next work. It's in the rough draft for a toddler just learning to speak, but it may not make the final cut. We shall see. If it does make the final cut, then detailed explanations are going into the author's note!!! :D [/quote]


thats really interesting about the term "dad" (my dad job is in lingustics so i always find stuff like this interesting). you are exactly right, although its accurate if i came across that term in HF it would pull me out of the storys mood instantly.

its really interesting to speculate on why certain words feel "modern" to us and other don't. an example i was thinking of was "sh*t". I remember reading in some book (maybe Holands jerusalum) and the usage of it reapeatedly really brought me out of the story completely. now im sure that sh*t has a long and storied history and was no doubt used in medivel times repeatedly, but it just feels "modern" and is therefore conterproductive for an author.

no doubt it has to do with the origins of words as to whether they come from an anglo-saxon background and often feel more "common" to us or a latinate background and feel more formal.

It would be interesting to compile a list of "modern sounding" words which are not modern at all.

im sure a lot of vulgar words come from medevil times, they just "feel" modern. as we know, medevil peasnts were often quite vulgar. Vienna has a short street which in olden days was known as "cow p*ssy street" :-)

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sun December 28th, 2008, 1:51 pm

[quote=""keny from prague""]
its really interesting to speculate on why certain words feel "modern" to us and other don't. an example i was thinking of was "sh*t". I remember reading in some book (maybe Holands jerusalum) and the usage of it reapeatedly really brought me out of the story completely. now im sure that sh*t has a long and storied history and was no doubt used in medivel times repeatedly, but it just feels "modern" and is therefore conterproductive for an author.
[/quote]

The thing is they wouldn't have said 'sh*t all the time because of their mindset, so whether the word was in existence or not, in this context it's wrong. The really naughty rude stuff was blasphemy.
So swearing by some part of Holy anatomy was the equivalent of our modern scatalogical or fornicatory take on rude words. 'God's teeth' was one of Coeur de Lion's favourite oaths. "God's Face" was another. 'Bloody' is supposedly a contraction of 'By our lady' and stuff like 'Odds Bodkins' is the swearing by God but disguised. - a bit like saying 'Sugar' instead of 'Sh*t' these days. If in that period you did say 'sh*t' or f*c* then it would be absolutely connected to actual defecation or fornication and not a swear word. So 'Cow P*ssy Street was just a description of what the stree was like. The flower the Cowslip comes from Cowslop - because that's where it grows best. Grape Street in London used to be 'Grope C**t lane and was a popular ummm.... trysting place. So, a spade was a spade, and you had to blaspheme to get sweary!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Sun December 28th, 2008, 2:10 pm

[quote=""annis""]I wonder what a Victorian version of "battling for the other side" would have been? The Victorians were very keen on the use of secret flower language, quite a bit of it realting to sex. Oscar Wilde once referred to a couple of young men of his acquaintance as "flowers of the narcissus kind" which was a clear reference to their homosexuality. The word "pansy" was used later, I think, more into the C20th, and may have been a corruption of the Victorian slang term "nancy" or "nancy-boy" which was used to describe someone homosexual.[/quote]

Eager, I think.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Sun December 28th, 2008, 2:11 pm

[quote=""EC2""]
keny from prague;16017 wrote:

The thing is they wouldn't have said 'sh*t all the time because of their mindset, so whether the word was in existence or not, in this context it's wrong. The really naughty rude stuff was blasphemy.
So swearing by some part of Holy anatomy was the equivalent of our modern scatalogical or fornicatory take on rude words. 'God's teeth' was one of Coeur de Lion's favourite oaths. "God's Face" was another. 'Bloody' is supposedly a contraction of 'By our lady' and stuff like 'Odds Bodkins' is the swearing by God but disguised. - a bit like saying 'Sugar' instead of 'Sh*t' these days. If in that period you did say 'sh*t' or f*c* then it would be absolutely connected to actual defecation or fornication and not a swear word. So 'Cow P*ssy Street was just a description of what the stree was like. The flower the Cowslip comes from Cowslop - because that's where it grows best. Grape Street in London used to be 'Grope C**t lane and was a popular ummm.... trysting place. So, a spade was a spade, and you had to blaspheme to get sweary!
fascinating stuff really. I'm going to try "God's teeth" next time.

the etomological roots of f*ck are lost to time but that hasnt stopped a number of urban myths about its creation. my personal favourie is the "for unlawful carnal knowledge" acronynm which is no doubt utter sh*te :-)

so what did they do on "cow p*ssy street"? :-) actually my mate told me (german might have been used differently from English of course). It was probably named that because it was a very short street. which still doesnt really explain anything. maybe Austrian knowledge of cows anatomy. anyway, lets not go there :-)

i imagine most four letter words evolved into single syllable exclaimations for just that reason. they are single syllables and must easier to interject at moments of alarm. when you drop something on your foot its quicker to exclaim "sh*t" than "by God's teeth" :-)

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Post by Ash » Sun December 28th, 2008, 2:47 pm

[quote=""MLE""]One of the problems with 'verbal anachronisms' in this case, and in the case of all non-English-speaking countries, is that whatever King Ferdinand said, it would have been in Spanish. So the writer would be supplying a translation of his imagined comments. And of course, the translation would not be into the English of the day, since the modern reader would not be conversant with the usages and nuances. So the writer is, in effect, giving you a modern take on what a renaissance-era monarch would be saying.

to be perfectly correct, Ferd would say he was 'un Rey en enaguas'.[/quote]

Thanks MLE - you are right of course, since we are talking about another language, it wouldn't be the fault of the author in this case. Tho it did sound odd. However, a friend on another forum sent me this:

pet⋅ti⋅coat
   /ˈpɛtiˌkoʊt/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pet-ee-koht] Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1. Also called pettiskirt. an underskirt, esp. one that is full and often trimmed and ruffled and of a decorative fabric.
2. any skirtlike part or covering.
3. a flounce or valance fitting around the sides of a bed, couch, or chair, as to conceal the legs.
4. Informal. a woman or girl.
–adjective
5. of, pertaining to, or controlled by women; female; feminine: petticoat government.
Origin:
1375–1425; late ME petycote. See petty, coat
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Sun December 28th, 2008, 4:17 pm

[quote=""keny from prague""]
EC2;16018 wrote:
fascinating stuff really. I'm going to try "God's teeth" next time.

the etomological roots of f*ck are lost to time but that hasnt stopped a number of urban myths about its creation. my personal favourie is the "for unlawful carnal knowledge" acronynm which is no doubt utter sh*te :-)

so what did they do on "cow p*ssy street"? :-) actually my mate told me (german might have been used differently from English of course). It was probably named that because it was a very short street. which still doesnt really explain anything. maybe Austrian knowledge of cows anatomy. anyway, lets not go there :-)

i imagine most four letter words evolved into single syllable exclaimations for just that reason. they are single syllables and must easier to interject at moments of alarm. when you drop something on your foot its quicker to exclaim "sh*t" than "by God's teeth" :-)
Henri Quatre's favourite curse was god's guts.

Anyway, you bring up an interesting point. Kipling wrote that the Irish, particularly in their own battalions, have not the relief of swearing as other races do. Their temperament runs to extravagant comparisons and appeals to the Saints, and ordinary foul language... is checked by the priests.
I imagine that foul language is 4 letter words.

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Post by EC2 » Sun December 28th, 2008, 5:02 pm

I don't actually know when the transition happened and swearing by religion was replaced by exclamations concerning reproduction, defecation and south of the belt body parts. After the reformation? Medieval's my forte and in my period the really bad stuff for which you could go to hell was religious - although personal insults could be of other sorts of rudeness.
There's an interesting article here for the Medievalists on Old French insults.
http://www.triviumpublishing.com/articl ... words.html

Keny, re the 'F' word. I have a great paperback reference book called 'The Lover's Tongue: A merry romp through the language of love and sex.' It's by Mark Morton, who, at the time of writing it was a professor of English at the university of Winnipeg. He says that the word comes from a now long lost Scandinavian source. The Norwegian fukka means to copulate as does the Swedish focka The first recorded incidence of the 'f' word in English is in the early 16thC in a poem by William Dunbar called 'In Secreit Place This Hyndir Nycht.' Also in the 16thC, David Lindsay, tutor to the future King James V of Scotland, used the word in a poem chastising young James for his sexual licentiousness.
'Lyke ane boisteous Bull, ye rin and ryde
Royatouslie lyke ane rude Rubeatour,
Ay fukkand lyke ane furious Fornicatouor.


Reading further, Morton seems to think the 'F' word as obscene swear word arrives in print from the mid 19thC and that the 1920's through to 1940's saw it's rise and further useage. The 'S' word isn't part of the discussion in his book.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun December 28th, 2008, 5:31 pm

thats really interesting about the term "dad" (my dad job is in lingustics so i always find stuff like this interesting). you are exactly right, although its accurate if i came across that term in HF it would pull me out of the storys mood instantly.
Fascinating stuff. I know when I read Whitford's Treason on Richard III the very liberal use of the "F" word really threw me off, although I didn't know how commonly used it would have been at the period.

As for "dad" I don't know. Harriet has a terrible habit of using that in her reviews and even there it's quite off-putting, whether its a historical she's recapping or a contemporary, I would never use it in a review and I don't recall seeing anyone else use it either.

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Post by Volgadon » Sun December 28th, 2008, 5:35 pm

I would think the change came after the 1940s EC.

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Post by annis » Sun December 28th, 2008, 5:39 pm

Posted by Volgadon
Kipling wrote that the Irish, particularly in their own battalions, have not the relief of swearing as other races do. Their temperament runs to extravagant comparisons and appeals to the Saints, and ordinary foul language... is checked by the priests.

I imagine that the priests would have been most concerned with preventing the use of blasphemy, which still had shock value into the nineteenth century.
The whole point of swearing is to shock, and using words relating to sex and elimination only really became common as society became more secular.
Where we go to from here now nothing seems to shock us, I don't know!

EC, in medieval stories you often find characters swearing by bits of their favourite saints- "By St Euphemia's little finger!" etc. Did this in fact happen- was it a medieval way of diluting a curse by not actually using the names of God or Christ?

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