Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Obsolete & Archaic

  1. #1
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465

    Obsolete & Archaic

    We just went to our local shop to as for 'a dozen' second class stamps, and the lad behind the counter asked us what a 'dozen' meant!

    So many usages have become obsolete or archaic since I was young. It was common for people to express a time - say, 3.25 - as 'five and twenty past three', for example.

    And my grandfather didn't talk about the Jack of Diamonds, but the Knave of Diamonds.

    There's a scene in Great Expectations where Estelle derides the boy Pip for his vulgar usage of 'Jack' instead of 'Knave'.
    Last edited by Ella Beck; Dec-15-2018 at 16:12.
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  2. #2
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    Another usage which is now archaic - a married woman, when I was young, was known by her husband's initial - e.g. if she was Lynne Smith married to Donald Smith, she was Mrs D. Smith, and the only time she'd become Mrs L. Smith was if she was a widow.

    Now it would probably be 'Mrs L. Smith' or just 'Lynne Smith' on business letters.

    I even remember a lot of letters being addressed to my father, not as Mr H. Danby but as 'H. Danby, Esquire'.

    Things were a lot more formal in the 1950s.
    Last edited by Ella Beck; Dec-15-2018 at 17:59.
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  3. #3
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    When I was young, in the north of England, people used the historically-correct past tenses of what are called 'strong verbs' in Old English, verbs like to crow' and 'to thrive'.

    They'd say, 'The cock crew in the morning', and 'After he started selling eggs, the man's business throve.'

    But now that the media are ironing out dialectal differences and 'estuary English', from the south of England, is ubiquitous, people use the weak forms of the past tense.

    Now it's always: 'The cock crowed in the morning' and 'The man's business thrived.'

    It really grates on me!
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  4. #4
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Welland, Ontario, Canada, mid Niagara Peninsula, between Great Lakes Erie and Ontario
    Posts
    3,239
    You're lucky that's all it is.
    Here in North America, your font can be changed to conform to American standards.
    You might be able to delete it and by typing it again get what you want to say to stick,
    but that's not good. I want to use 's and s', not just s' all the time.
    If I'm trying to be poetic sometimes I can't.
    And that's on top of knowing Proper English, as awe-full as that can be.

    Anthropologists say that during the times of Shakespeare in England,
    the average person used over 14,000 variations of words during one day.
    Here in North America, most people speak using less than two hundred words a day.
    And during Shakespeares' feudal era, tenants met about two hundred different people in a lifetime.
    I hafta laird that o'er ye.
    Last edited by John Watt; Dec-21-2018 at 18:08.

  5. #5
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    Another example of usages which have become obsolete is the difference between to 'lie' and to 'lay'.

    The correct usage in my childhood was that 'to lie' was intransitive - meaning to stretch flat. (I'm not looking at this verb meaning 'to be mendacious'.)

    'To lay' is a transitive verb, and means to set something down - I lay the cutlery on top of the tablecloth.

    So one might have a 'lie-in' at the weekends.

    Only now, it would be a 'lay in'.

    This is now ubiquitous, even on the BBC. Such a usage would have marked the speaker as uneducated 'in my day', but it no longer does.
    It still makes me wince, though...
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  6. #6
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    116
    The Knocker-up.

    Morning comes early for me. Once a night owl, I’m now one of the earliest risers of my acquaintance. I have the advantage of setting an alarm clock for 4:30 in the morning and hitting the snooze button several times if I’m not quite ready to greet the day.
    Before the advent of the alarm clock, an entire profession emerged for the sole purpose of waking sleepy workers to ensure they made it to work on time. The Knocker Up was a common sight in Britain and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, particularly in the northern mill towns and big cities like London and Dubline where people worked unusual shifts in factories or on the docks, often needing to be at work as early as three a.m.
    The trade spread rapidly across the country particularly in areas where poorly paid workers were required to work shifts but could not afford their own watches. Some factories employed their own knocker-ups to ensure their employees arrived on time. In return for their services, knocker-ups were paid a few pence a week.
    As more people employed the services of knocker-ups, neighbors who did not desire to be woken at odd hours began complaining about the loud noise the knocker-ups made when ringing bells and rapping on widows to rouse their sleepy customers. The solution they devised was modifying a long stick, with which to tap on the bedroom windows of their clients, loudly enough to rouse those intended but softly enough not to disturb the rest.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35840393



    I can't get the article to show up, but if you right click and slide down from the top of the post ,as though you were highlighting a paragraph, it shows up.

    Last edited by elderpiano; Dec-31-2018 at 17:10.

  7. #7
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    116
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35840393


    Sorry I couldn't get my post to show above about, Knockers-up in Britain before the advent of the alarm clock.

    If you right click on the post from the top and slide you finger down, then the article does show. Odd,I know. But that is the only way I can see it.
    Last edited by elderpiano; Dec-31-2018 at 17:12.

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Welland, Ontario, Canada, mid Niagara Peninsula, between Great Lakes Erie and Ontario
    Posts
    3,239
    I'm seeing what Ella Beck is saying about a lie-in becoming a lay in,
    but her description of it being a weekend activity is new to me.
    Around here, seniors and drug addicts say they're going for a lay-down.

    Have you ever watched that TV show called "Outlander",
    about an English woman after the second world war who visits standing stones,
    and gets transported to a Scotland that is over two hundred years ago?
    I just watched the first year and it's playing games with my vocabulary,
    and you hear Gaelic in there quite often.
    I was surprised to see my favorite American soundtrack artist, Bear McCreary,
    doing the music for that show. He first hit it big with "Sons of Anarchy".

  9. #9
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    Returning to the subject of the thread, one language use that's becoming obsolete is the dialect use of 'like'. In Yorkshire, where I grew up, it would come at the end of a sentence for emphasis - 'I were walkin' along t'road, like...'

    That wasn't standard English, and the current usage from America isn't either - but it is ubiquitous.

    Young people say, 'It was so - like - awesome!'

    It's still used as an emphatic, though.

    Some interesting observations may be found here:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/entertai...f-like/507614/
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  10. #10
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    The old way of saying 'various' was 'divers' - I always remember a boy reading the scripture lesson at a school I taught at where the old version of the bible was used. The boy's puzzled air when suddenly some 'divers' made their appearance in his text was most amusing.
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  11. #11
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    With the change in the currency, the old ways of pronouncing 'twopence' 'threepence' and 'a halfpenny' have disappeared - used to be 'tuppence,' 'thruppence' and 'ha'penny'.

    Well, of course, there's no need to use these terms in 'real life' but they survive in literature.

    Another example of the difficulties facing young people reading extracts in assemblies etc.
    Last edited by Ella Beck; Jan-19-2019 at 11:36.
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  12. #12
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    England
    Posts
    465
    The use of 'thank you' has diminished among the generations - people even up to the age of 'forty' say 'Cheers' instead.

    But for my baby-boomer generation, 'cheers' is what you say as you raise your glass in a toast.
    Carrying a torch for Classical Music...

  13. #13
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Welland, Ontario, Canada, mid Niagara Peninsula, between Great Lakes Erie and Ontario
    Posts
    3,239
    I'll return to my dialectic use of Proper English, something that never really caught on.
    It's said to be the language of Kings and Queens, and judges and lawyers, but is it?
    Sure, some slang could be saying "divers", but that's just a local way of saying diverse,
    nothing about using scuba equipment.
    Here in North America, seeing Prime Ministers and Presidents using social media,
    Proper English and General English are being subverted and perverted,
    anything to create a sensational reaction, as promotion, or anger and hate as a genre.
    YouTube has to delete a lot of comments to President Donald Trump videos,
    because they are so racist, full of anger and hate.

    Now, I'm not specifying one word as being used in a modern way as changing it,
    but seeing statements being made that are creating a modern backlash, saying fake news.
    News reports are saying that government employees, from the F.B.I. to the Coast Guard,
    to people who are teachers and security workers at airports and ports of entry,
    are starting to use food banks to feed themselves and their families.
    How real does that sound to you?
    Do you really think an American employee with high profile jobs like that,
    after thirty days of a government shut-down, don't have money to feed themselves?
    How smart and organized is an F.B.I. agent if they haven't saved any money up?

    If I was going to be nostalgic for any kind of English slang,
    it would be all those Carnaby Street videos and fashion advertisements.
    This reminds me of sitting around with other musicans,
    trying to figure out what Mick Jagger was singing. That was never nice.
    Oh no... I've got to go... I'm starting to hear Little Pip calling out...
    I don't want Ella Beck to give me the dickens.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •