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 "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…

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PostSubject: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 09:02

Here I am again…

Out of curiosity:

Is there any meaning to a word that may be "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving" or something of the sort? I suppose you won't be able to see what I mean unless I offer you a photo, but unfortunately I can't insert it (the page says the post is too long), so I guess those of you who have access to Ackroyd's Queer City will be able to check the sentence in p. 68 (sorry for the inconvenience).

The word I am looking for is the last one on the left hand side of the page: "My case is alter'd, I must worke for my siuing"

And do you know what's "Fortune-stage" and "Popes head Palace"? I imagine that "Fortune-stage" is the street, a way of saying "here and there", but "Popes head Palace"… Is that a place, a real palace once existing or still there, somewhere in London?

Thanks for your interest, I am just in need of meanings…

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 09:27

Hi CM - can I suggest you keep all your enquiries regarding phrases and terms within one thread? It would actually help with context for anyone browsing the content here and also looks better on the shortcuts page of the site.

Without seeing the picture I would reckon what the sentence says is "My case is alter'd, I must worke for my living". Some of the old fonts and letter forms can be misleading, but I think I'm correct. In which illustration in the book does it actually appear? I'd like to have a closer look at the word.

"Fortune-stage" sounds like what it says - the stage of the Fortune Theatre (at one point a rival to Shakespeare's Globe), though as a euphemism, if that's how it's being used, then one would need to see the context in which it is presented.

The Pope's Head was a very famous tavern near Cornmarket and Lombard Street in London and the Alley on which it lay was called after it, though what the "Palace" might mean depends very much in which century the phrase was used A century before the Great Fire the alley was rather more reputable and was the home of some wealthy people. After the fire it could simply have meant "palace" as in "gin palace" which was what the Pope's Head had become after rebuilding, as the alley too had sunk very much in status by then.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 09:52

OK; no problem, it's just fine, and even more convenient, for me also, to keep all inquiries in one single thread (let's say this one from now on, for example).

The point about the photo is that I am unable to upload it to this page: if I click on the "insert image" button I get an URL prompt, but I have no URL to go to (?). After a few minutes I received a message from the Forum about a certain "Servimg.com - Free image hosting service", but when I want to go to the link, I get a laconic "page is not found".

The illustration appears in the page 68 of Ackroyd's book, just before Chapter 8.

The Fortune Theatre is definitely what the caption stands for (I am so "clever" that I found it easy to understand it post hoc affraid), and the same applies to "Pope's Head Palace". The date of publication of the book whose frontispiece is presented in that page 68 is 1611, so it wasn't yet burned.

I have not enough words of gratitude for this precious help —it's becoming worth of a shrine…
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 10:07

I don't have a copy of the book. Can you post the name of the illustration as listed at the start of the book among the list of plate descriptions and copyright details?

Posting pictures here requires that the picture has a publicly available URL, and servimg.com is just one site to which you can upload photos from your PC and then link to the provided URL. However I reckon in the case of copyrighted images, such as Ackroyd will have used, it's safer just to post the name of the plate from the book. That way we can have a look at it without inadvertently "publishing" it here too (which would be rather naughty).
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 10:24

Wow, that's important, I mean not to "publish" anything without all due benedictions. 

I think the name of the plate you are looking for is this:
Quote :
"
[list="list-style-type: decimal"]
[*]Frontispiece for T. Dekker and T. Middleton’s e Roaring Girle,
1611. Image: Culture Club/Getty Images

[/list]
".

With that info I've tried to find the photo in a public domain: it's here, but so little in size that it seems to me impossible to read the text (I send you the link so that you can recognize the image should you manage to get a better copy: https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Roaring-Girl).

In fact you can find the image in a good size in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Roaring_Girl), but without the sentences, so we are not more advanced. I'll keep trying.

That's funny: here you have a proper original (https://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet/workspace/handleMediaPlayer?lunaMediaId=FOLGERCM1~6~6~522395~138288), but the sentence on the left side (the one you want to check is so deteriorated that seems almost illegible…
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 10:27

Ah, I found it. Molly Cut-Purse from 1611:



"My case is alter'd, I must worke for my living" is actually good promotional sloganising by the quarto publisher of Middleton and Dekker's play. In the play she never actually uses this term. However the first bit is a direct reference to the title of a very popular Ben Jonson play with which it may even have directly competed for audiences at the time, and the second bit is the lady's "raison d'etre" and a fine summary of how she ended up in all the scrapes and adventures in the narrative.

Jonson himself "borrowed" the expression from Edward Plowden, who had famously used it as a defence lawyer on one occasion to the great amusement of London society at the time. Plowden was defending a lad accused of having attended an illegal Catholic mass in the city. When it transpired during the case that the so-called "priest" was actually a Protestant spy in disguise staging the whole thing in order to identify secretly observant Catholics (then a crime) and that therefore there was nothing sanctified about the whole proceedings Plowden demanded his client's acquittal and got it. His remark to the judge was "My lord, My case is alter'd, No mass!"
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 10:33

That's great!

And what's "by the Prince his Players"?
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 03 Jan 2018, 10:39

Pope's Head Pallace is actually a strange reference now that I look it up - Archer himself operated out of the same building as the Horse Shoe Pub which stood at the corner of Pope's Head Alley and the Cornmarket and printed this in all his publications ("by the sign of the Horse Shoe"). In this quarto however he appears to have deviated. I'm assuming the building complex as viewed from Cornmarket must have acquired this name colloquially - it doesn't show up in any of the old registers I can find. There were however certainly several businesses running out of it so it may have been impressive in size compared to its neighbours (or simply built of stone which in itself may have been unique on that side of the street) and therefore picked up the fancy soubriquet.

EDIT: Just seen your question. "Prince his Players" was an acting company. They were a breakaway company from one which had fallen foul of censorship laws in late Elizabethan times and had rather deftly re-christened themselves "The Lord Admiral's Men" to show that they were very much pro-establishment and had received some sponsorship from the eponymous gentleman. This backfired on them when James came to the throne. James disapproved of all theatre company sponsorship by lesser dignitaries (his regime viewed this in much the same way as Trump looks at media company owners). The actors successfully petitioned some royal backing and became Prince Henry's Men with James' eldest son as patron (the Lord Chamberlain's Company did even better and became The King's Men). This was then shortened to "the Prince, his Players" thereafter.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 09:57

Hello!

How would you understand the term "roaring" in "Roaring girl"?

I hesitate between (Spanish) synonyms of "shouting" or "belowing" and synonyms of "passionate", "burning", or "in flames". I don't know exactly which aspect of those girls is being highlighted here: they are presented as manly (and so with a howling penchant in the archetype), but also prone to sin and lewdness (and therefore hot).
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 10:03

It's humour. The common expression at the time "Roaring Boy" indicated a young man inclined to brawling, petty crime, public disorder etc. A delinquent in other words.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 10:14

So I guess the intention is closer to someone "shouting" and "brawling" than to someone "randy" or "horny", isn't it?

Thanks again. Smile 

By the way, I find very interesting what you explain about "Prince his Players"; it's really informative. That's very kind of you. (I had not seen it before, just right now, checking something about the "roaring" stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 10:47

Nothing to do with randy or horny, no. Not even when it was used for males. Smile

If the point was to indicate promiscuity then she wouldn't have been "roaring" but most likely a "bed-swerving", "puterellant", "fleshmonging", "daggle-tailish" "doxy" and, according to Shakespeare, likely to end up a "ronyon"!
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 10:55

A great bunch of words indeed! That's perfect. study
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 11:30

I've collided with a long quote from a book published in 1662. I understand it all, except for the following terms, whose meaning I can quite figure out but need to know for sure in order to find and nuance my Spanish equivalences.

I've finally abridged the list to this irreductible trio:
"tomrig", "rumpscuttle ", "hoiting".

I give you a greater context, so you can have an better view:


Quote :
Other spirited women dressed en travesti and took on all the characteristics of a somewhat boisterous male. One such was Mary Frith, alias Moll Cutpurse, who seems to have earned her living as a fortune-teller and pimp. Her biography, e Life of Mrs Mary Frith (published in 1662, three years after her death), reveals that as a child ‘a very tomrig or rumpscuttle she was, and delighted and sported only in boys’ play and pastime, not minding or companying with the girls; many a bang or blow this hoiting procured her, but she was not so to be tamed or taken o from her rude inclinations . . . her needle, bodkin and thimble she could not think on quietly, wishing them changed into sword and dagger for a bout of cudgels’.

Thanks so much for your help, as ever. I definitely am in love with this forum.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:00

Tomrig, rumpscuttle  ... a tomboy, a boyish girl who, as it says, preferred playing rough games with boys and "not minding" ie not wanting, to play with girls or do the things that girls were supposed to do, like needlework.

Hoiting ... much the same I think, I'm not familiar with that word but the context surely implies the same.

PS

As a verb OED gives to hoit as being 'to engage in riotous noisy mirth', and Shakespeare uses it in this sense when he says "Hark my husband, he's singing and hoiting". By extension OED then suggests that as a noun, a hoit, meant a loud, rude, crude, ignorant or un-refined person. A hoiting would presumably just be a diminutive of a hoit.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:22

I knew these were the main lines of the meaning, but what I need is some light on the words which compose them, only then may I figure out a synonym in Spanish (I "spend" many synonyms, since the text is all about queerness, its history and variants, and is not well accepted in a translation to repeat the same group of words all the time.

Tom-rig is inspiring enough, and I have a couple of equivalents, but "rumps-cuttle" is more confusing (= cuttlefish bum?). If I could get the etymology I would have something to work on.

I know it's very difficult (it is so for me at least), but I am not finding anything in etymological English dictionaries (the word seems to be invisible).

Thanks for the help anyway. I'll keep trying. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:25

Ah I see ... rumpscuttle must surely be from shuffling/scuttling/scuffling about on your bum, like a little child playing in the dirt: a scuttle-bottom if you like. Tom-rig ... presumably from Tom as a general name for a boy, as in the modern English tomboy (and tomcat) plus perhaps, 'rigged' ie dressed/behaving like a boy.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:35

OK, that's very good; thanks a lot. Now I have to think about devising something in Spanish…

Wish me luck! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:56

You're in trouble CM when it comes to trying to end up with as much variation in the translated versions of these euphemisms as in the original. Even within English itself the Elizabethan/Jacobean version of the language contained probably an even greater number of commonly used slang expressions in general parlance than now, and modern English isn't exactly poor in slang options itself.

I couldn't find a Norwegian version of the book (factual books tend to be consumed in English here) but I reckon from experience that a translator here wouldn't even have started trying to replace each archaic euphemism with a "Norwegian" version, even if one was to be found from contemporaneous Norwegian usage of the period. They would have more likely set the term verbatim into the Norwegian text, and probably then linked to a non-slang definition footnote on the page only if it was really relevant and necessary, though not in absolutely every case. When you think about it that's exactly what Ackroyd has also done - given that the bulk of these expressions are as alien and unintelligible to a modern English reader as to a Spaniard, I'd say.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 12:59

By the way ...

I'm sure that's not how it was primarily used in the above context - although there might have been some innuendo there - but rumpscuttle could also mean sexual intercourse as in, to "play at rumpscuttle and clapperdepouch", which dates from 1684.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 15:59

Just to clear up "hoiting": The OED gives the etymology of "hoity-toity" as originating with the dialectic term "hoit" - meaning "to romp". We still say "romping around" when meaning particularly boisterous activity.

Hoity-toity itself now means pretentious and haughty with assumed airs and graces, but it originally meant frivolous and silly, describing someone more inclined therefore to "hoit" about than other more sensible folk.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Thu 04 Jan 2018, 16:18

Ah yes, I read hoiting as a simple noun but it was most likely being used there as a you say, Nordmann, umm ... as a present participle, isn't it? I'm not very good at formal grammar terms ... or both ... such is the playful fluidity of 17th century English.

Smile

PS

CM ... having now moved here for all these queries you might well have missed it but I tacked a last bit onto your 'under and above (as innuendos)' thread. It's probably not directly relevant to your translation but might still be of interest.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 10:52

Gosh, this was all very interesting - wish I hadn't missed out on it.

Jonson was a nasty so-an-so about other people's sex lives - but then he was primarily a satirist. Not so understanding - or so compassionate rather - as his mate WW about the miseries of sexual need and the follies thereof.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 13:30

What is also interesting is that no-one then saw anything even slightly odd in getting a troupe of pre-pubescent boy choristers to regularly perform satirical and salacious comedy plays (both in private at court and in public in the City's theatres), whose themes were very often about sex, and indeed sexual deviancy, in which these young boys acted all the roles: from old male pederasts and predators; to knowing matrons and innocent maids; to randy rakes, robbing rascals or reluctant rent-boys.

And yet people today still bemoan the precocity of modern children and wistfully reminisce about the old days when childhood (supposedly) was a time of such innocence.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 13:56

I suppose if you needed the work - or the position as a privileged member of the "Children of the Chapel" - you just went along with whatever was necessary - and more. Director's Rights Respected is nothing new. But perhaps I am being horribly cynical. No doubt it was the purity of their singing voices that gave the Children of the Chapel their advantage.

The "real" - less privileged - actors apparently loathed the pretty little Children - there is actually a bitter reference to them - the "eyrie of children" in Hamlet (Act II sc ii):


ROSENCRANTZ: Even those you were wont to take such delight
in, the tragedians of the city.(330)

HAMLET: How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in
reputation and profit, was better both ways.

ROSENCRANTZ: I think their inhibition comes by the means of
the late innovation.

HAMLET: Do they hold the same estimation they did when I(335)
was in the city? Are they so followed?

ROSENCRANTZ: No, indeed, are they not.

HAMLET: How comes it? Do they grow rusty?

ROSENCRANTZ: Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace;
but there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that(340)
cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically
clapped for't. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the
common stages—so they call them—that many wearing
rapiers are afraid of goose-quills and dare scarce come
thither.(345)

HAMLET: What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? How
are they escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer
than they can sing? Will they not say afterwards, if they
should grow themselves to common players—as it is most
like, if their means are no better—their writers do them(350)
wrong to make them exclaim against their own succession?

ROSENCRANTZ: Faith, there has been much to do on both sides;
and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controver-
sy. There was, for a while, no money bid for argument
unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.(355)

HAMLET: Is't possible?

GUILDENSTERN: O, there has been much throwing about of
brains.

HAMLET: Do the boys carry it away?
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 14:21

PS

A warrant, granted in 1626 to Nathaniel Giles to take up singing boys for the service of the Chapel Royal, contained a proviso that the children so to be taken should not be employed as comedians or stage-players, or act in stage plays, interludes, comedies, or tragedies, "for that it is not fitt or decent that such as sing the praises of God Almighty should be trained or imployed on such lascivious and prophane exercises."
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 14:28

@Temperance wrote:
I suppose if you needed the work - or the position as a privileged member of the "Children of the Chapel" - you just went along with whatever was necessary - and more.

Or as has been quoted above, "My case is alter'd, I must worke for my living"

But I still wonder what King James thought of all this? During the Christmas festivities at the end of 1609 he and the entire court watched the first performance of Epicoene ... with its whole comedic theme about a young man, pretending to be a woman so to try and worm his way into a rich man's heart, but ultimately they are both being manipulated so that others may reap the benefits. What did King James, already being accused of favouritism, and worse, of unnatuaral relations with some of his male companions, make of all this open, public satire?
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 14:49

He had a right royal huff - but about the mickey being taken out of the Scots (by Jonson and others), not about snide remarks about his friends. There were plenty of snide remarks, of course. Maybe he had a sense of humour after all, old James. Whatever his faults, the King certainly did appreciate wit and intelligence - and he was, like Jonson, a good hater. Like attracts like, they say (don't they?). That said, Jonson was often in very hot water with the authorities, but he got away with murder - literally. What is particularly interesting is that he had converted to Catholicism, but still was "tolerated" - just. But post-1605 he must have been viewed as a clear and present danger.

But I'm wandering well off-topic.

PS Interesting info here about the horrible little child actors - apparently some boys - especially those with particularly good voices -  were actually kidnapped - legally!- and forced to perform!

http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/childcomp.htm

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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Mon 08 Jan 2018, 16:01

PS Jonson eventually returned to the Church of England, like you do. He, however, did it in splendid theatrical style:


He received communion in flamboyant style, pointedly drinking a full chalice of wine at the eucharist to demonstrate his renunciation of the Catholic rite, in which the priest alone drinks the wine. The exact date of the ceremony is unknown.  However, his interest in Catholic belief and practice remained with him until his death.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:15

Comic Monster - rereading this, I realise how I have digressed from your original post. I am sorry. I do this all the time, I am afraid. It is a fault I am working on.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:07

Hi Temperance,
Don't worry, it's perfectly all right; I learn a lot, and I find your "digressions" really interesting. No faults —as far as I am concerned at least. It's always a pleasure. Feel absolutely thankful for your help and interest. 

All the best, Smile

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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 08:29

Hi again! I bet you were wondering what I was doing… Well, I've benn trying to do my best with my poor means, but some unsurmountable mountains rise up again in the horizon… (I like travelling, you know… Wink )

This time there are a few trade jargon-style phrases I am not so sure to understand, so as to be able to devise an equivalent in Spanish: these are the ones:

"Such enclaves [i. e. "houses of office", which I understand as "latrines"] were generally known as ‘the markets’ where men might ‘pick up trade’. The language of commerce, so vital to London in this period, had entered the speech of the streets. To be involved in casual sex was ‘to bite a blow’ after ‘making a bargain’, while a male prostitute might ‘put the bite’ on a customer."

The two expressions in bold characters are unclear to me, nore so considering I should find something "commercial" to keep pace with the rest of the paragraph.

I am sure you'll be able to help me here once more.

Thanks a zillion for that, I wouldn't be able to go on (succesfully, I mean) without your feedback Smile

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 09:17

Hi CM!

To "bite a blow" was, as Ackroyd says, to "make a bargain". To "bite" (as in a horse on its bit) meant as it does now when people say "Ok, I'll bite" and they mean they shall engage further after having been intrigued by what another has said, for example, but it is something about which they are nevertheless a little nervous about pursuing. The "blow" is the "sales pitch" which has intrigued them into being suckered into a deal. "Put the bite on" comes again from placing a bit into a horse's mouth, after which it is then under one's control. We use the expression today more specifically to be in the act of extorting money out of someone through deception or coercion.

In homosexual slang the terms were probably being used slightly humorously, with the added benefit being that those casually overhearing such a term in open conversation might presume people were referring to day-to-day commerce. But my understanding from Ackroyd's description is that once a person had been sexually propositioned and showed interest in going further with the venture then they were just like a businessman venturing into the unknown in a slightly risky deal. Once they were hooked to that extent then the propositioner, just like his commercial counterpart, had secured a form of commitment from their interlocutor.

The "house of office" was a toilet, yes, and wasn't even slang. Samuel Pepys used the term as his primary word for a toilet - whether private or public.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 09:26

Hello nordmann, that's very good. I didn't make the connection with horse control, but that helps, not only here, but also in future references. I think I can now find the correct equivalences for my translation. I also appreciate a lot you confirmed the meaning of "house of office". Smile

Thanks a lot for your help.

Take care,

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 11:47

@nordmann wrote:

To "bite a blow" was, as Ackroyd says, to "make a bargain". To "bite" (as in a horse on its bit) meant as it does now when people say "Ok, I'll bite" and they mean they shall engage further after having been intrigued by what another has said ...

"OK I'll bite" ... itself also has angling connotations of a fish lured by the bait and biting, only then to find itself inextricably hooked. Also I believe in the seventeenth century London "ai" was usually pronounced like "eye", so that bait and bite would be virtually indistinguishable (eg. Pepys sometimes writes "bait" when he talks about "having a bite/bait to eat") ... so plenty of opportunity for puns and double meaning.

And I don't know whether it is relevant (probably depends on when exactly we are talking about) but in French, une bitte or une bite, (pronounced like "beet") while meaning a bollard such as for mooring ships, has also for a long time (certainly back to at least the 16th century) been slang for penis (ie cock, knob or prick).
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 13:21

"Ok, I'll bite" most definitely works best as a fishing analogy, and indeed most people today probably would have that as a mental image when they use the euphemism, so now it has to be rated as the more reasonable assumption of origin. And the "bait" "bite" pronunciation thing is spot-on, too, and not just in London. Just to complicate matters the word for a "bit" between a horse's teeth was also pronounced "bite" at the time by many, and as a result was also spelled as "bait". However when one also thinks about "reeling in a client" as is often used these days too in commercial slang, then one could definitely conclude an unbroken development of all these euphemisms from a solely (pardon the pun) angling root.

The OED however takes pains to point out that the "blow" in the term comes from blowing on a horse's nose to calm it down prior to inserting the "bite", and ascribes "biting the blow" as the successful completion of both manoeuvres. For me, either interpretation is as good as the other and I reckon even in 17th century London there were probably conflicting views as to where and how the slang terms had originated before they entered commercial jargon.

Interesting about the French "knob". Was/is "bitte/bite" in common slang usage, or have there been more prevalent uncouth terms used historically?
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 14:46

@nordmann wrote:
Interesting about the French "knob". Was/is "bitte/bite" in common slang usage, or have there been more prevalent uncouth terms used historically?

Well, that smutty 16th century French author François Rebelais, amongst other euphemisms, uses:

bite (=bollard)
cervelas (= sausage)
chalumeau (=old wind instrument a bit like an oboe)
chandelle(=candle)
cheville (=pin)
chevillot (=belaying pin)
ciege (=torch)
cornichon (=gherkin)
courtaud (=pony)
dard, dardillon (=dart/spear/javelin)
doigt (=finger/digit, and also onzième doigt literally meaning the eleventh finger)
douzil (=spigot)
dresseur (=tamer/trainer as in a lion tamer)
epée (=sword)
épine (=thorn/spine)
flageolet/flilte (=flute/whistle)
flèche (=arrow)
frandise (=sweetmeat)
goupillon (=holy-water sprinkler)
hameçon/harnais (=harness)
instrument/instrument de musique
Jacquemand/Jacques (=James/Jack, colloquial for a fool)
jambe (=leg, sometimes explicitly as the middle leg)
Jean Jeudi (=John Thursday)
laboureur (=labourer)
lance/lance à deux boulets/lance gaie (=lance with two bullets/happy lance etc)
moineau (=sparrow)
mutinum (=little imp)
oiseau (=bird)
pissotière (=pisser)
poiçon (=punch as in hole-punch etc)
poireau (=leek)
queue/coue (=tail)
quille (=quill)
racine (=root)
seringue (=syringe)
tétin (=nipple/dummy)

.... some of which, like bite (bollard), queue (tail) and moineau (sparrow) are still in use today ... although they are currently losing ground to more modern expressions, like un zizi. Nevertheless I'm pleased to say that both une bite and une queue (both incidentally feminine nouns) are still standing firm.


Last edited by Meles meles on Fri 26 Jan 2018, 19:58; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : couldn't resist a final double entendre)
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 26 Jan 2018, 19:09

Deleted. Off-topic.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 07 Feb 2018, 09:00

Hi everyone!

I have a new one, connected with 'bite a blow' and 'put the bite'.

It's 'the common bounce', and this is the context:

"James Dalton was a street thug of the familiar type, part pickpocket and part highway robber. In his gang were two professional blackmailers who specialised in ‘putting the bite’ on London queers. It was also known as ‘the common bounce"

I am sure you'll help me as you always do, for which I am fully grateful. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 07 Feb 2018, 09:56

Hi CM,

'The common bounce' isn't a phrase I've ever come across but it does seem to have been commonly used for the practise of luring a man, often an obviously wealthy one with both money and a reputation to lose,  with the suggestion of sex, and then suddenly cornering him, perhaps with an accomplice, and blackmailing him with the threat of going to the authorities and exposing his 'crime'.

I'm not quite sure how the phrase arose but I would simply take it at face value in the sense of bouncing someone meaning to suddenly surprise them, to spring, pounce on them, and with the suggestion of  suddenly turning the tables on them (like the sudden change in direction of a bouncing ball). In16th century 'to bounce' could mean to hit, and 'a bouce' was a blow or hit ... from which developed the 18th century use of 'a bouncer', someone who bounces others, meaning a thug, bully or braggart, from which which later developed the current use for an enforcer roughly maintaining order in a bar etc. So in that sense the common bounce could also be taken as a hit, in the way that one talks about a hitman or hitting someone with a nasty surprise, such as robbing, tricking or assaulting them ... and the victim has then 'taken a hit' to their wallet or their reputation etc, in today's parlance.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 07 Feb 2018, 10:09

I see, that's cristal clear now. That's the way I had chosen to understand and translate it as a provisional tentative. But in fact, your wonderful explanation gives me new insights into this type of parlance and suggests fresh ways to render it in Spanish —which is absolutely great, since synonymy is always in short supply when translating (as you surely know, one of the worst "sins" for a translator is to repeat words or expressions, use banal words, etc.)

So thank you so much for this helpful post, Meles meles;

Best wishes,

CM
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Wed 07 Feb 2018, 13:15

"Bouncing" was any entrapment in public that could be exploited for blackmail purposes. The Irish nationalist Michael Davitt spent time in Dartmoor prison and in his memoirs showed that he had spent his time there swotting up on the criminal classes in Victorian England. It was Davitt who capitalised the "Common Bounce" when describing the ploy in which the victim was lured into a sexually compromising position in a semi-public place "witnessed" by an accomplice (or several) and then blackmailed on the spot to avoid accusations of sodomy reaching the scandal gazettes (not the authorities). There was an art to it - a victim of low social standing would not constitute a scandal necessarily, while too high a social standing and the victim could employ other forms of protection to avoid the scandal getting out. The trick was to identify someone with just enough standing and means to be inclined to use the latter to maintain the former.

Other "bouncing" included false accusations of theft based on "planting goods", leading pregnant women to back-street abortionists who were in league with the bouncers, and a particularly profitable one was enticing constables and other police personnel to accept a small bribe (which was then "witnessed" and the money immediately returned under threat therefore with huge interest). All bouncers ran the risk of the tables being turned on them by someone calling their bluff, and Davitt reckoned this was how come any of his fellow inmates doing time for blackmail had ended up there. Apparently early Victorian morality placed blackmail way beyond even sodomy in terms of approbation, the latter being reprehensible only if discovered or engaged in without due precaution against discovery. Up to that point it was tacitly tolerated, but "common" blackmail and the bouncers who engaged in it weren't.

(Upper class "uncommon" blackmail was a whole other area of course)
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 23 Feb 2018, 13:43

Hi,

I came across this forum while doing research for my translation - it turns out I'm translating the same book! And I've come across similar difficulties... It might also be interesting to exchange viewpoints @ComicMonster.

Since all of you had such ready explanations for the term "Lillie Law" (which I had found in several online Polari dictionaries), I was wondering if you could help me out with the term "swinging" which I suspect comes from a similar background (going off the fact that Ackroyd put it in quotes).

Here is the word in context:

Few came out yelling and screaming in support
of a more liberal attitude to homosexuals in England, although
Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ of 1955 helped the process in the
United States. Someone, somewhere, may have been ‘swinging’
in Queer City but the general mood among homosexuals was
still one of discretion and subdued gaiety.

I really don't want any gay slang to get lost in translation. Thanks so much for your help!
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 23 Feb 2018, 13:52

Hi - and welcome to the site, FannyAndStella!

I reckon this is Ackroyd using the euphemism in its modern sense, as in "behaving with unrepressed gay abandon" (quite literally in this context).
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 23 Feb 2018, 14:08

Thanks, it looks like a great forum. I hope you won't mind if I run a few other questions by you in the future.

That actually helps me a lot, thank you. I wonder why he uses quotes.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 23 Feb 2018, 14:11

Ask away ... Smile

If that chapter includes the 60s then Queer City (as he calls London) also gained the nick-name "Swinging City" during that time too, though for slightly different reasons. Maybe he's drawing attention to the fact that he's aware of this double-euphemism with his quotes?
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 23 Feb 2018, 14:17

Wow, you're quick! That actually makes a lot of sense. That must be it! Thanks! I'll be back with other questions for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Fri 23 Feb 2018, 14:24

F&S (if you'll pardon me shortening your moniker), indeed ask away ... I too love these linguistic/historical conundrums and challenges.

May I ask what language you are translating Ackroyd's book into? Just curiosity, and also it can be helpful to understand the other person's primary language/culture when explaining odd English phrases or discussing some of these rather cryptic expressions.
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Sat 24 Feb 2018, 18:47

Fanny and Stella's story is fascinating. I would like to relate I here, if I may - if our new member, FannyandStella, would not object, that is?
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PostSubject: Re: "Siuing", "Siving", "Fiuing", "Fiving"…   Sat 24 Feb 2018, 18:55

deleted ... it might be taken the wrong way.


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