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Thing I learned today

Balls across the pond are called 'cobblers.' I knew this, but not why. (I think of cobbler as fruit pie,) But today I was reading about cobblers (Not pie, not balls, shoemakers. Because you see Marlowe's dad was a shoemaker.) And the article said that cobblers mean balls because of cobbler's awls. Awls= balls. it is one of those rhyme things. Makes sense now.

Of course a language where the same word can mean fruit pie, pointed tool, and testicles-- well. That is the beauty of English! Maybe you all knew this already. I am catching up!


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2012 06:49 am (UTC)
you learn something new every day my dear; "load of old cobblers" has always been a favourite with me
Oct. 22nd, 2012 11:45 am (UTC)
Obviously I meant: Fruit pie, shoemaker, testicles. The pointed tool is the awl.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, as a (sort of) cockney, I sprinkle my speech and writing with rhyming slang. Have a butcher's (butcher's hook = look) etc. There are several which have got into mainstream speech, like scarper for run away (Scarpa Flow = go).
Oct. 22nd, 2012 02:23 pm (UTC)
I wonder if Thomas Kyd called them 'Cobblers?' He totally was a cockney. Wiki says he was born on Lombard St. His church was St Mary of Woolnoth. And we can celebrate his birthday on Nov 6!

I shall raise an ale to him.

Maybe they did not do the rhyming thing back in his day? (More to look up, tra la...)

I always wondered why they called it 'Scarper'!
Oct. 22nd, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
I think it's relatively recent (by which I mean Victorian) so, alas, Marlowe couldn't have gone up the apples and pears for a Jimmy Riddle.

Blowing a raspberry (raspberry tart = fart) is another one in common usage.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
Now you've got me running to my Mayhew to see whether the people he reported in London Labour and London Poor used rhyming slang or what was known as 'canting'.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if rhyming slang and canting are the same. There was thieve's cant, I think, and Romany derived terms, some of which drifted into Palare (bet I spelled that wrong) which was used by theatre people and then got subsumed into gay culture. Julian and Sandy on Round the Horne used Palare.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
Polari! Amazing language / dialect / whatever :)

I've always thought that rhyming slang was slightly different form thieves cant but I'm from the wrong end of the country so what would I know?!
Oct. 23rd, 2012 10:39 am (UTC)
I think they are different, not least because you can work out what rhyming slang means, cant less so.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 03:45 pm (UTC)
Also known as a Bronx cheer...

Funny how you accept things without reason (or at least I have,) I never questioned why it was called a raspberry.
Sep. 28th, 2016 05:11 am (UTC)
Is THAT why we call them raspberries?! I had absolutely no idea. Another childhood mystery solved...
Sep. 28th, 2016 11:03 am (UTC)
Very ejicashunal here.
Oct. 1st, 2016 01:52 am (UTC)
It helps console me to the startling fact that I am actually reading gay porn. Any porn. (Not too porny porn, usually, but close enough.) Just think of all the education I am getting along with it!

I think I shall go blow raspberries on my kid's tummies, and then share with them my exciting etymological discovery about tarts and farts. I will not, however, share the almost-porn. Education has its limits. The descriptive gesture my five-year-old made when I described how humans "mate" was more than education enough.

Edited at 2016-10-01 01:55 am (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2016 10:48 am (UTC)
LOL Isn't motherhood an eye opener?
Oct. 22nd, 2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
that's what I meant - I've used the term 'a load of old cobblers' for years when 'total bullshit' might not be appreciated!

Oct. 22nd, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Well, it sounds much safer for me to stay well away from it. I am going to try and make their dialogue as right as possible. Words that Shakespeare used in writing gives me a lot to work with. Still, i wonder what he actually said, and sounded like. We all say things we wouldn't write.
Oct. 22nd, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
the accepted thinking is that there are accents in Virginia that resemble the way Kit and co would have sounded (based on the earliest settlements). We know that contemporary french speakers used 'oi' where it is no longer used now 'Je sois' not 'je suis' and it is thought that the English accent was more like the south-western accents there now. The contorted vowels of the current royal family owe much to the fact that from George 1 to George V they all spoke with heavy German accents (and they often spoke German 'at home'). the 'standard' RP accent developed from the aristocracy trying to get closer to the royal accent. In Kit's day many 'aristos' spoke with their local accents

Edited at 2012-10-22 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oct. 22nd, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
It is funny. I had a landlord once who had a Tidewater Virginia accent. There were things about his vowels that seemed to me more Maine/Canada than Southern.

The non -rhotic 'R' was not a thing yet for Kit and Marlowe and their friends. They were voicing their r's as I do. (More or less, mine might get a bit light when I am drunk or tired-- I am from Massachusetts.

(Such a difference. I have two versions of a song called 'We have fed our seas.' One is by an English singer that Nodbear put me onto. The other is by a Nantucketer named David Coffin. I like both.

But when I listened to Coffin I realized that what I had heard as 'shock' and 'mock' was actually 'shark' and 'mark.' (And they made a lot more sense that way too.

I of course know nothing about the evolution of French. Marlowe learned French as a kid, having grown up in Canterbury where there were a lot of Huguenot refugees. And later he was sent as a spy to the College at Douai. I don't think he tried to pass as anything but English of course.

Oct. 22nd, 2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
charliecochrane is right, rhyming slang is not native to Scotland but some of these terms are commonly used here now. I would never use cobblers, but I know what it means! Bollocks would be my preferred term XD
Oct. 22nd, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
The important thing is to mention them often!
Oct. 23rd, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, etc :)
Oct. 23rd, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)

(Just look at appalled Archie. He is going 'Why???')

Edited at 2012-10-23 10:36 pm (UTC)
Oct. 23rd, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Perhaps he's going "Where????!" :P
Oct. 23rd, 2012 10:41 am (UTC)
You'll be pleased to know that, under the influence of Mr C, there is a thriving use of Scottish slang down south. Bahookie and cludgie for example.
Oct. 23rd, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
Delighted to hear it! I am continually astonished by daughter's Glasgow accent! :}
Oct. 23rd, 2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
My girl sounds just like Brooklyn. (Like Fran Dresher, but without the squeal.) I think, more than her firends, it may be the influence of her band teacher, who has a crazy Brooklyn accent.

Still, it startles me when C asks for a "Cup of Caw-fee"
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )