Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
NigelS

'Trench Talk: Words of the First World War'

10 posts in this topic

Not so much a review as a summary of Peter Doyle & Julian Walkers' book Trench Talk: Words of the First World War in an article in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph (25th November) Click

NigelS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nigel

Thanks. An interesting article.

Cheers

Gareth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The article seems to contain so many of the best bits that you question whether it's worth getting the whole book.

Interesting issue: Granted that all the examples were used by speakers during World War 1, is it really true, as the book claims, that they didnt exist (or only existed in a restricted circle) before that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw that - interesting-looking book.

I suspect, Bart, that they did exist pre-war, but only in limited circles. For example, a wod such as Blighty existed, but would only be used by the Army; as very few of the middle classes had any connection with the barrack room, it wouldn't be used outside those serving or ex-soldiers. Come the war and the involvement of millions of those not expecting ever to see the inside of a barracks, and the word spreads.

Now we adopt things from TV or movies; then it was far less of a mobile society, so unless you lived with people using dialect of slang you had no idea of it.

I think that's the premise: some words were 'invented' but many others simply moved from limited use to major circulation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read the book, but I think you've probably hit the nail on the head there Steven: Many of the words given in the article did come into existence during the war, however, many others can be found to date back much further but with use restricted to specific geographical areas (national & international), social classes, trades & occupations (including military & criminal), etc. The GW gave, with men from many backgrounds rubbing shoulders, the opportunity for the words to come more widely known and used, first amongst them, then, through their letters home, press reporting and eventual return to home life, in everyday parlance.

A few examples of words given in the article as given by the OED; (dates are the earliest examples given in the dictionary in the correct context; these are from written evidence, so some are likely to have been in use in speech for considerably longer, and doubtless earlier examples of written usage can be found)

Bumf: given as schoolboy (I would guess this is more likely to be public school) slang dating back to 1859, with the earliest citation for bumfodder being 1653

Binge: given as slang for a heavy drinking bout, but originally a dialect word with an example cited from 1854 (believed to have been derived from Lincolnshire dialect where binge meant to soak a wooden vessel)

Snapshot - as a hurried shot taken at a rising bird or quickly moving animal, 1808 ( the first use given for a photo is as early 1860)

Bloke: slang for a man, fellow - 1851 with, in 1914, it becoming used as naval slang for a ship's commander

Lousy: infected by lice, 1377; & as characterized by the presence of lice, 1519

Guff: empty talk, nonsense, 'stuff', 'blather' - given originally as US slang, 1888

Gaff: slang - a fair, 1753; a place of public amusement, 1812

Dud: Counterfeit; failing to answer to its description or to perform its function; worn out; useless; unsatisfactory, 1897

Whack (colloquial & dialect): a portion, a share, 1785; sharing out; 1885

Fag: as a cheap cigarette or its butt, 1888

Chum: room mate, someone sharing a room or rooms etc, 1684

Cooler: originally US slang for prison or a prison cell, 1884

Swipe: originally US slang - to steal, 'appropriate'; to loot

Looks like an interesting book which will be going on my Christmas list.

NigelS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think I might just see if i can "dig out" the book for that day that is celebrated two weeks later by our East European brothers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like an interesting book which will be going on my Christmas list.

NigelS

Sorry, old boy. I've already bought yours. You do like kittens, don't you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, old boy. I've already bought yours. You do like kittens, don't you?

You are extremely generous, sir ! Will you be gift wrapping?

Kitten

c.1.c fig. Applied to a young girl, with implication of playfulness or skittishness. In extended use: a girl-friend; a young woman; often as a form of address.

Nigels

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr Bloomfield rapping - marvelous!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found the book at a store in London on remembrance WE - waiting for somebody, what does Marilyne do?? Gets into a bookshop and get out with 6!! I'm beyond help, I know!! - and was immediately hooked.

Quickly found out that what a DIXIE is ... apart from my very cute hamster. Both have to do with food, so in one way it's appropriate !! Just love it !!

MM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0