I Don’t Say Tomahtoe, I Throw Them

Wdesklady2 Pat Rice here:

Regular readers will recognize when I’m immersed in a new project because I inevitably emerge ranting about the problems of historical word usage and the modern reader. These past years, I’ve been tangling with the difficulty of translating 18th century French and a made-up Latin-based language into 21st century American, but now I’m going back to my Regency roots and re-learning the 19th century.

For whatever reason, the phrase barque of frailty didn’t ring right in my ear, even though it’s frequently used in romance. I have stacks of Regency reference books, and I’m perfectly aware that according to them the term is often used to mean a woman of questionable virtue, but I went with my instincts and googled it. I ended up on this website http://www.io.com/~dierdorf/nono.html and now I’m wallowing in my usual quandary between historical accuracy, modern American-English, and romance tropes. 

Admittedly, the website isn’t at fault for my rant.  They’re remarkably broad-minded about the  Librariangraphic
anachronisms in modern literature.  He even makes the same argument I’ve made that Greek and Latin etymology could be understood even if a word wasn’t in common usage at the time.

But the part driving me nuts is that “barque of frailty” is one of the many Georgette Heyerisms that haunt our modern historicals in our attempt to imitate “historical” Heyer
dialogue. I suppose we could call Saint Georgette historical at this point, but the term was never a Regency expression. And that’s just an ice crystal at the tip of the iceberg.

There are tons of words like “fiancee” and “fanny” and “dashed” that the modern American reader would easily accept as historically accurate.  I knew that fiancee was Victorian and have spent a lot of time wording sentences so that Regency terms like “intended” and “betrothed” don’t grate on our modern ears.  I would never put “ass” in the mouth of a Hheroineregencygreenma13721880001_3
proper period heroine, but until recently, had I not thought it “sounded” American western, I might have considered “fanny” to be a polite euphemism. I hadn’t realized that even in modern British, “fanny” does not mean one’s buttocks but the female genitals. How many of you would have noticed if I hadn’t just told you? And while “dash it” might have been used by men as a euphemism for “damn it” in the Regency, the popular romance dialogue of “dashed” as in “The dashed cur ate my Hessians” would be incorrect until later in the century.

Likewise, had I written about a refrigerator, pharmacist, or neurosis in my Regencies, I would have had reader letters flying so furiously that I might never come out from under the barrage— even though those words have been in use for hundreds of years. Come to think of it, maybe I should find some way to use them if only to generate more visits to my website!

But should I use the words “cad,” for scoundrel, or “blink”—as in swift movement of the eye—I would be historically inaccurate, and my wager is not one person would complain.

So let’s have fun with our knee-jerk reactions to certain words.  What words or phrases pull you out of the story or cause your suspension of disbelief to come crashing down?  How many Americanisms have you caught in our supposedly British stories?  How much rope will you allow an author before you hang her? And my wondering mind wants to know—do you actually look up the words that throw you out of the story?

265 thoughts on “I Don’t Say Tomahtoe, I Throw Them”

  1. Oh, golly, I know I’m probably using stuff that’s not accurate. But since I worship at the feet of Saint Georgette, I’d use anything she did. *g*
    When writers have Regency characters saying “okay,” it’s not.

    Reply
  2. Oh, golly, I know I’m probably using stuff that’s not accurate. But since I worship at the feet of Saint Georgette, I’d use anything she did. *g*
    When writers have Regency characters saying “okay,” it’s not.

    Reply
  3. Oh, golly, I know I’m probably using stuff that’s not accurate. But since I worship at the feet of Saint Georgette, I’d use anything she did. *g*
    When writers have Regency characters saying “okay,” it’s not.

    Reply
  4. Oh, golly, I know I’m probably using stuff that’s not accurate. But since I worship at the feet of Saint Georgette, I’d use anything she did. *g*
    When writers have Regency characters saying “okay,” it’s not.

    Reply
  5. Oh, golly, I know I’m probably using stuff that’s not accurate. But since I worship at the feet of Saint Georgette, I’d use anything she did. *g*
    When writers have Regency characters saying “okay,” it’s not.

    Reply
  6. I guess I’m probably one of those who will give miles of rope as long as I don’t find any knots in it.
    I’m with Maggie. There are certain phrases that are definitely modern that yank me out of the story immediately but then again, there are others that are true to the time that I stumble over repeatedly.
    There is one author who has a book that I love, but the first read-through was hard for me until I’d gotten past the first 5 chapters or so and found the rhythm of the language because is was true to the time period and archaic for me. I’ve never been able to read any others of hers because they were even more ‘true’ to their era and harder for me to read.
    I definitely want a story that reflects well the period it’s set in, but I also want to be able to lose myself in it and when I repeatedly stumble over words and phrases, it becomes work rather than enjoyment.
    Perhaps this stems from the English teacher I had in high school that made us all read Beowulf in it’s original language…

    Reply
  7. I guess I’m probably one of those who will give miles of rope as long as I don’t find any knots in it.
    I’m with Maggie. There are certain phrases that are definitely modern that yank me out of the story immediately but then again, there are others that are true to the time that I stumble over repeatedly.
    There is one author who has a book that I love, but the first read-through was hard for me until I’d gotten past the first 5 chapters or so and found the rhythm of the language because is was true to the time period and archaic for me. I’ve never been able to read any others of hers because they were even more ‘true’ to their era and harder for me to read.
    I definitely want a story that reflects well the period it’s set in, but I also want to be able to lose myself in it and when I repeatedly stumble over words and phrases, it becomes work rather than enjoyment.
    Perhaps this stems from the English teacher I had in high school that made us all read Beowulf in it’s original language…

    Reply
  8. I guess I’m probably one of those who will give miles of rope as long as I don’t find any knots in it.
    I’m with Maggie. There are certain phrases that are definitely modern that yank me out of the story immediately but then again, there are others that are true to the time that I stumble over repeatedly.
    There is one author who has a book that I love, but the first read-through was hard for me until I’d gotten past the first 5 chapters or so and found the rhythm of the language because is was true to the time period and archaic for me. I’ve never been able to read any others of hers because they were even more ‘true’ to their era and harder for me to read.
    I definitely want a story that reflects well the period it’s set in, but I also want to be able to lose myself in it and when I repeatedly stumble over words and phrases, it becomes work rather than enjoyment.
    Perhaps this stems from the English teacher I had in high school that made us all read Beowulf in it’s original language…

    Reply
  9. I guess I’m probably one of those who will give miles of rope as long as I don’t find any knots in it.
    I’m with Maggie. There are certain phrases that are definitely modern that yank me out of the story immediately but then again, there are others that are true to the time that I stumble over repeatedly.
    There is one author who has a book that I love, but the first read-through was hard for me until I’d gotten past the first 5 chapters or so and found the rhythm of the language because is was true to the time period and archaic for me. I’ve never been able to read any others of hers because they were even more ‘true’ to their era and harder for me to read.
    I definitely want a story that reflects well the period it’s set in, but I also want to be able to lose myself in it and when I repeatedly stumble over words and phrases, it becomes work rather than enjoyment.
    Perhaps this stems from the English teacher I had in high school that made us all read Beowulf in it’s original language…

    Reply
  10. I guess I’m probably one of those who will give miles of rope as long as I don’t find any knots in it.
    I’m with Maggie. There are certain phrases that are definitely modern that yank me out of the story immediately but then again, there are others that are true to the time that I stumble over repeatedly.
    There is one author who has a book that I love, but the first read-through was hard for me until I’d gotten past the first 5 chapters or so and found the rhythm of the language because is was true to the time period and archaic for me. I’ve never been able to read any others of hers because they were even more ‘true’ to their era and harder for me to read.
    I definitely want a story that reflects well the period it’s set in, but I also want to be able to lose myself in it and when I repeatedly stumble over words and phrases, it becomes work rather than enjoyment.
    Perhaps this stems from the English teacher I had in high school that made us all read Beowulf in it’s original language…

    Reply
  11. “I would never put ‘ass’ in the mouth of a proper period heroine, but until recently, had I not thought it ‘sounded’ American western, I might have considered ‘fanny’ to be a polite euphemism.”
    I was taught that politeness is primarily about topics, not words. So if the word “ass” would be rude, the entire topic of derrieres is probably questionable. In other words, “fanny” would be inappropriate no matter what its derivation. (Granted, this approach can leave one without much to say!)

    Reply
  12. “I would never put ‘ass’ in the mouth of a proper period heroine, but until recently, had I not thought it ‘sounded’ American western, I might have considered ‘fanny’ to be a polite euphemism.”
    I was taught that politeness is primarily about topics, not words. So if the word “ass” would be rude, the entire topic of derrieres is probably questionable. In other words, “fanny” would be inappropriate no matter what its derivation. (Granted, this approach can leave one without much to say!)

    Reply
  13. “I would never put ‘ass’ in the mouth of a proper period heroine, but until recently, had I not thought it ‘sounded’ American western, I might have considered ‘fanny’ to be a polite euphemism.”
    I was taught that politeness is primarily about topics, not words. So if the word “ass” would be rude, the entire topic of derrieres is probably questionable. In other words, “fanny” would be inappropriate no matter what its derivation. (Granted, this approach can leave one without much to say!)

    Reply
  14. “I would never put ‘ass’ in the mouth of a proper period heroine, but until recently, had I not thought it ‘sounded’ American western, I might have considered ‘fanny’ to be a polite euphemism.”
    I was taught that politeness is primarily about topics, not words. So if the word “ass” would be rude, the entire topic of derrieres is probably questionable. In other words, “fanny” would be inappropriate no matter what its derivation. (Granted, this approach can leave one without much to say!)

    Reply
  15. “I would never put ‘ass’ in the mouth of a proper period heroine, but until recently, had I not thought it ‘sounded’ American western, I might have considered ‘fanny’ to be a polite euphemism.”
    I was taught that politeness is primarily about topics, not words. So if the word “ass” would be rude, the entire topic of derrieres is probably questionable. In other words, “fanny” would be inappropriate no matter what its derivation. (Granted, this approach can leave one without much to say!)

    Reply
  16. I’m no expert on the proper locutions of the Regency period, but there are one or two things that drive me mad. To wit: when those who won’t bother to know better try to fake an old-fashioned sound by swapping ‘may’ for ‘might’ and vice versa. Or having a character say ’tis. I don’t think anybody says ’tis or ever has, apart from poets trying to make a line scan properly.
    I’d far rather a natural-sounding anachronism than some unnatural sounding phrase that smacks me in the face.
    Wasn’t Fanny Hill so named because of the lewd associations? What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.

    Reply
  17. I’m no expert on the proper locutions of the Regency period, but there are one or two things that drive me mad. To wit: when those who won’t bother to know better try to fake an old-fashioned sound by swapping ‘may’ for ‘might’ and vice versa. Or having a character say ’tis. I don’t think anybody says ’tis or ever has, apart from poets trying to make a line scan properly.
    I’d far rather a natural-sounding anachronism than some unnatural sounding phrase that smacks me in the face.
    Wasn’t Fanny Hill so named because of the lewd associations? What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.

    Reply
  18. I’m no expert on the proper locutions of the Regency period, but there are one or two things that drive me mad. To wit: when those who won’t bother to know better try to fake an old-fashioned sound by swapping ‘may’ for ‘might’ and vice versa. Or having a character say ’tis. I don’t think anybody says ’tis or ever has, apart from poets trying to make a line scan properly.
    I’d far rather a natural-sounding anachronism than some unnatural sounding phrase that smacks me in the face.
    Wasn’t Fanny Hill so named because of the lewd associations? What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.

    Reply
  19. I’m no expert on the proper locutions of the Regency period, but there are one or two things that drive me mad. To wit: when those who won’t bother to know better try to fake an old-fashioned sound by swapping ‘may’ for ‘might’ and vice versa. Or having a character say ’tis. I don’t think anybody says ’tis or ever has, apart from poets trying to make a line scan properly.
    I’d far rather a natural-sounding anachronism than some unnatural sounding phrase that smacks me in the face.
    Wasn’t Fanny Hill so named because of the lewd associations? What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.

    Reply
  20. I’m no expert on the proper locutions of the Regency period, but there are one or two things that drive me mad. To wit: when those who won’t bother to know better try to fake an old-fashioned sound by swapping ‘may’ for ‘might’ and vice versa. Or having a character say ’tis. I don’t think anybody says ’tis or ever has, apart from poets trying to make a line scan properly.
    I’d far rather a natural-sounding anachronism than some unnatural sounding phrase that smacks me in the face.
    Wasn’t Fanny Hill so named because of the lewd associations? What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.

    Reply
  21. Oh, argh, Beowulf would certainly put me off, but I do have a habit of reading old tomes, so archaic language doesn’t bother me as greatly as it should. And swell, RfP, now I have to grapple with readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well! I have so much fun coming up with them. “G” I don’t think non-use of them would ever leave me topic-less, but it takes the emotion out of a man hammering his finger. “G”
    Had I thought much of it at all, I would have thought “fanny” as a word for “ass” was the lewdness in a book of that age. But I have no idea how it got to be used as a proper name. Some improper person with a wicked sense of humor one must think.
    Not a pence to his name!!! Oh my, I’ve missed that one. I prefer ha’pence, actually, for that properly archaic sound. “EG”

    Reply
  22. Oh, argh, Beowulf would certainly put me off, but I do have a habit of reading old tomes, so archaic language doesn’t bother me as greatly as it should. And swell, RfP, now I have to grapple with readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well! I have so much fun coming up with them. “G” I don’t think non-use of them would ever leave me topic-less, but it takes the emotion out of a man hammering his finger. “G”
    Had I thought much of it at all, I would have thought “fanny” as a word for “ass” was the lewdness in a book of that age. But I have no idea how it got to be used as a proper name. Some improper person with a wicked sense of humor one must think.
    Not a pence to his name!!! Oh my, I’ve missed that one. I prefer ha’pence, actually, for that properly archaic sound. “EG”

    Reply
  23. Oh, argh, Beowulf would certainly put me off, but I do have a habit of reading old tomes, so archaic language doesn’t bother me as greatly as it should. And swell, RfP, now I have to grapple with readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well! I have so much fun coming up with them. “G” I don’t think non-use of them would ever leave me topic-less, but it takes the emotion out of a man hammering his finger. “G”
    Had I thought much of it at all, I would have thought “fanny” as a word for “ass” was the lewdness in a book of that age. But I have no idea how it got to be used as a proper name. Some improper person with a wicked sense of humor one must think.
    Not a pence to his name!!! Oh my, I’ve missed that one. I prefer ha’pence, actually, for that properly archaic sound. “EG”

    Reply
  24. Oh, argh, Beowulf would certainly put me off, but I do have a habit of reading old tomes, so archaic language doesn’t bother me as greatly as it should. And swell, RfP, now I have to grapple with readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well! I have so much fun coming up with them. “G” I don’t think non-use of them would ever leave me topic-less, but it takes the emotion out of a man hammering his finger. “G”
    Had I thought much of it at all, I would have thought “fanny” as a word for “ass” was the lewdness in a book of that age. But I have no idea how it got to be used as a proper name. Some improper person with a wicked sense of humor one must think.
    Not a pence to his name!!! Oh my, I’ve missed that one. I prefer ha’pence, actually, for that properly archaic sound. “EG”

    Reply
  25. Oh, argh, Beowulf would certainly put me off, but I do have a habit of reading old tomes, so archaic language doesn’t bother me as greatly as it should. And swell, RfP, now I have to grapple with readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well! I have so much fun coming up with them. “G” I don’t think non-use of them would ever leave me topic-less, but it takes the emotion out of a man hammering his finger. “G”
    Had I thought much of it at all, I would have thought “fanny” as a word for “ass” was the lewdness in a book of that age. But I have no idea how it got to be used as a proper name. Some improper person with a wicked sense of humor one must think.
    Not a pence to his name!!! Oh my, I’ve missed that one. I prefer ha’pence, actually, for that properly archaic sound. “EG”

    Reply
  26. ‘Ass’ is definitely American, if the word does not refer to the animal. A Brit would say ‘arse’ for ‘bum’. Another word that does not seem to exist in American English. From my tv-viewing I have gathered that you say ‘but’ (or do you spell that with double T?).

    Reply
  27. ‘Ass’ is definitely American, if the word does not refer to the animal. A Brit would say ‘arse’ for ‘bum’. Another word that does not seem to exist in American English. From my tv-viewing I have gathered that you say ‘but’ (or do you spell that with double T?).

    Reply
  28. ‘Ass’ is definitely American, if the word does not refer to the animal. A Brit would say ‘arse’ for ‘bum’. Another word that does not seem to exist in American English. From my tv-viewing I have gathered that you say ‘but’ (or do you spell that with double T?).

    Reply
  29. ‘Ass’ is definitely American, if the word does not refer to the animal. A Brit would say ‘arse’ for ‘bum’. Another word that does not seem to exist in American English. From my tv-viewing I have gathered that you say ‘but’ (or do you spell that with double T?).

    Reply
  30. ‘Ass’ is definitely American, if the word does not refer to the animal. A Brit would say ‘arse’ for ‘bum’. Another word that does not seem to exist in American English. From my tv-viewing I have gathered that you say ‘but’ (or do you spell that with double T?).

    Reply
  31. I was surprised in my research when I found that the word “Hello” was not invented until the invention of the telephone.
    I just caught this word in an Eloisa James novel – one of her Georgians. And Sherry Thomas used it too!

    Reply
  32. I was surprised in my research when I found that the word “Hello” was not invented until the invention of the telephone.
    I just caught this word in an Eloisa James novel – one of her Georgians. And Sherry Thomas used it too!

    Reply
  33. I was surprised in my research when I found that the word “Hello” was not invented until the invention of the telephone.
    I just caught this word in an Eloisa James novel – one of her Georgians. And Sherry Thomas used it too!

    Reply
  34. I was surprised in my research when I found that the word “Hello” was not invented until the invention of the telephone.
    I just caught this word in an Eloisa James novel – one of her Georgians. And Sherry Thomas used it too!

    Reply
  35. I was surprised in my research when I found that the word “Hello” was not invented until the invention of the telephone.
    I just caught this word in an Eloisa James novel – one of her Georgians. And Sherry Thomas used it too!

    Reply
  36. “readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well!”
    No no. I think when I was taught that rule the intent was to make me think about whether that conversation was a path I wanted to go down, given the company I was in. I’m sure the lesson arose because I’d said something like “bottom” in front of my starchy grandparents; there was no word that would have made the topic acceptable. Rather like the way “vomit”, “toss one’s cookies”, and “regurgitate” are equally unappetizing at the dining table.
    I do think the topics-not-words rule could be an interesting approach to historicals set in prudish times. E.g. if propriety forbids mentioning “legs”, then “limbs” probably isn’t much better, and some speakers at the time would avoid the whole subject rather than make any reference to the body. For that matter, I wouldn’t nab a man at a cocktail party and announce that my trousers are riding up or my bra strap’s twisted, because those topics draw attention to intimate body parts.

    Reply
  37. “readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well!”
    No no. I think when I was taught that rule the intent was to make me think about whether that conversation was a path I wanted to go down, given the company I was in. I’m sure the lesson arose because I’d said something like “bottom” in front of my starchy grandparents; there was no word that would have made the topic acceptable. Rather like the way “vomit”, “toss one’s cookies”, and “regurgitate” are equally unappetizing at the dining table.
    I do think the topics-not-words rule could be an interesting approach to historicals set in prudish times. E.g. if propriety forbids mentioning “legs”, then “limbs” probably isn’t much better, and some speakers at the time would avoid the whole subject rather than make any reference to the body. For that matter, I wouldn’t nab a man at a cocktail party and announce that my trousers are riding up or my bra strap’s twisted, because those topics draw attention to intimate body parts.

    Reply
  38. “readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well!”
    No no. I think when I was taught that rule the intent was to make me think about whether that conversation was a path I wanted to go down, given the company I was in. I’m sure the lesson arose because I’d said something like “bottom” in front of my starchy grandparents; there was no word that would have made the topic acceptable. Rather like the way “vomit”, “toss one’s cookies”, and “regurgitate” are equally unappetizing at the dining table.
    I do think the topics-not-words rule could be an interesting approach to historicals set in prudish times. E.g. if propriety forbids mentioning “legs”, then “limbs” probably isn’t much better, and some speakers at the time would avoid the whole subject rather than make any reference to the body. For that matter, I wouldn’t nab a man at a cocktail party and announce that my trousers are riding up or my bra strap’s twisted, because those topics draw attention to intimate body parts.

    Reply
  39. “readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well!”
    No no. I think when I was taught that rule the intent was to make me think about whether that conversation was a path I wanted to go down, given the company I was in. I’m sure the lesson arose because I’d said something like “bottom” in front of my starchy grandparents; there was no word that would have made the topic acceptable. Rather like the way “vomit”, “toss one’s cookies”, and “regurgitate” are equally unappetizing at the dining table.
    I do think the topics-not-words rule could be an interesting approach to historicals set in prudish times. E.g. if propriety forbids mentioning “legs”, then “limbs” probably isn’t much better, and some speakers at the time would avoid the whole subject rather than make any reference to the body. For that matter, I wouldn’t nab a man at a cocktail party and announce that my trousers are riding up or my bra strap’s twisted, because those topics draw attention to intimate body parts.

    Reply
  40. “readers who think we shouldn’t use euphemisms as well!”
    No no. I think when I was taught that rule the intent was to make me think about whether that conversation was a path I wanted to go down, given the company I was in. I’m sure the lesson arose because I’d said something like “bottom” in front of my starchy grandparents; there was no word that would have made the topic acceptable. Rather like the way “vomit”, “toss one’s cookies”, and “regurgitate” are equally unappetizing at the dining table.
    I do think the topics-not-words rule could be an interesting approach to historicals set in prudish times. E.g. if propriety forbids mentioning “legs”, then “limbs” probably isn’t much better, and some speakers at the time would avoid the whole subject rather than make any reference to the body. For that matter, I wouldn’t nab a man at a cocktail party and announce that my trousers are riding up or my bra strap’s twisted, because those topics draw attention to intimate body parts.

    Reply
  41. I’m not a true stickler for archaic language. As long as the characters aren’t walking around going, “Hey, that’s cool!” I’m pretty much okay with it. 🙂
    The topic of this post reminded me of a TV series that just started in England called LOST IN AUSTEN. It’s about a woman (present-day) who loves Pride & Prejudice and is somehow transported into the actual novel. You really get the sense of the different way Regency people talked vs. modern people in that show. You can catch it on YouTube if you want to check it out.

    Reply
  42. I’m not a true stickler for archaic language. As long as the characters aren’t walking around going, “Hey, that’s cool!” I’m pretty much okay with it. 🙂
    The topic of this post reminded me of a TV series that just started in England called LOST IN AUSTEN. It’s about a woman (present-day) who loves Pride & Prejudice and is somehow transported into the actual novel. You really get the sense of the different way Regency people talked vs. modern people in that show. You can catch it on YouTube if you want to check it out.

    Reply
  43. I’m not a true stickler for archaic language. As long as the characters aren’t walking around going, “Hey, that’s cool!” I’m pretty much okay with it. 🙂
    The topic of this post reminded me of a TV series that just started in England called LOST IN AUSTEN. It’s about a woman (present-day) who loves Pride & Prejudice and is somehow transported into the actual novel. You really get the sense of the different way Regency people talked vs. modern people in that show. You can catch it on YouTube if you want to check it out.

    Reply
  44. I’m not a true stickler for archaic language. As long as the characters aren’t walking around going, “Hey, that’s cool!” I’m pretty much okay with it. 🙂
    The topic of this post reminded me of a TV series that just started in England called LOST IN AUSTEN. It’s about a woman (present-day) who loves Pride & Prejudice and is somehow transported into the actual novel. You really get the sense of the different way Regency people talked vs. modern people in that show. You can catch it on YouTube if you want to check it out.

    Reply
  45. I’m not a true stickler for archaic language. As long as the characters aren’t walking around going, “Hey, that’s cool!” I’m pretty much okay with it. 🙂
    The topic of this post reminded me of a TV series that just started in England called LOST IN AUSTEN. It’s about a woman (present-day) who loves Pride & Prejudice and is somehow transported into the actual novel. You really get the sense of the different way Regency people talked vs. modern people in that show. You can catch it on YouTube if you want to check it out.

    Reply
  46. I think that any member of the British upper classes during the regency would have understood the general meaning of “fiance” and “fiancee,” although mentally they might have spelled it as follows and interpreted it as the betrothal rather than the betrothed:
    Les fiançailles sont pour un couple une déclaration d’intention de mariage

    Reply
  47. I think that any member of the British upper classes during the regency would have understood the general meaning of “fiance” and “fiancee,” although mentally they might have spelled it as follows and interpreted it as the betrothal rather than the betrothed:
    Les fiançailles sont pour un couple une déclaration d’intention de mariage

    Reply
  48. I think that any member of the British upper classes during the regency would have understood the general meaning of “fiance” and “fiancee,” although mentally they might have spelled it as follows and interpreted it as the betrothal rather than the betrothed:
    Les fiançailles sont pour un couple une déclaration d’intention de mariage

    Reply
  49. I think that any member of the British upper classes during the regency would have understood the general meaning of “fiance” and “fiancee,” although mentally they might have spelled it as follows and interpreted it as the betrothal rather than the betrothed:
    Les fiançailles sont pour un couple une déclaration d’intention de mariage

    Reply
  50. I think that any member of the British upper classes during the regency would have understood the general meaning of “fiance” and “fiancee,” although mentally they might have spelled it as follows and interpreted it as the betrothal rather than the betrothed:
    Les fiançailles sont pour un couple une déclaration d’intention de mariage

    Reply
  51. Elaine said, “What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.”
    Well, I am sure that there are plenty of American men who rejoice in the forename DICK, which is a parallel situation.
    Modern BE (British English) speakers naturally spot the Americanisms more easily than AE speakers. One common one is ‘gotten’ for ‘got’; of course, ‘gotten’ was the form used in Early Modern English, but I am pretty sure it had died out completely in Britain by the late 18th century, except conceivably in some minor dialects, and was retained only in American dialect.
    Anyone who uses Heyer as their authority for language rather than contemporary 18th/19thC writing richly deserves to crash and burn! I am as passionate an admirer of Heyer as anyone, but she was not infallible (although she took a great deal of care), and anyone writing an historical novel should be using primary, not secondary, sources!

    Reply
  52. Elaine said, “What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.”
    Well, I am sure that there are plenty of American men who rejoice in the forename DICK, which is a parallel situation.
    Modern BE (British English) speakers naturally spot the Americanisms more easily than AE speakers. One common one is ‘gotten’ for ‘got’; of course, ‘gotten’ was the form used in Early Modern English, but I am pretty sure it had died out completely in Britain by the late 18th century, except conceivably in some minor dialects, and was retained only in American dialect.
    Anyone who uses Heyer as their authority for language rather than contemporary 18th/19thC writing richly deserves to crash and burn! I am as passionate an admirer of Heyer as anyone, but she was not infallible (although she took a great deal of care), and anyone writing an historical novel should be using primary, not secondary, sources!

    Reply
  53. Elaine said, “What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.”
    Well, I am sure that there are plenty of American men who rejoice in the forename DICK, which is a parallel situation.
    Modern BE (British English) speakers naturally spot the Americanisms more easily than AE speakers. One common one is ‘gotten’ for ‘got’; of course, ‘gotten’ was the form used in Early Modern English, but I am pretty sure it had died out completely in Britain by the late 18th century, except conceivably in some minor dialects, and was retained only in American dialect.
    Anyone who uses Heyer as their authority for language rather than contemporary 18th/19thC writing richly deserves to crash and burn! I am as passionate an admirer of Heyer as anyone, but she was not infallible (although she took a great deal of care), and anyone writing an historical novel should be using primary, not secondary, sources!

    Reply
  54. Elaine said, “What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.”
    Well, I am sure that there are plenty of American men who rejoice in the forename DICK, which is a parallel situation.
    Modern BE (British English) speakers naturally spot the Americanisms more easily than AE speakers. One common one is ‘gotten’ for ‘got’; of course, ‘gotten’ was the form used in Early Modern English, but I am pretty sure it had died out completely in Britain by the late 18th century, except conceivably in some minor dialects, and was retained only in American dialect.
    Anyone who uses Heyer as their authority for language rather than contemporary 18th/19thC writing richly deserves to crash and burn! I am as passionate an admirer of Heyer as anyone, but she was not infallible (although she took a great deal of care), and anyone writing an historical novel should be using primary, not secondary, sources!

    Reply
  55. Elaine said, “What puzzles me is that Fanny continued to be used as a name after it became a rude word. V. odd.”
    Well, I am sure that there are plenty of American men who rejoice in the forename DICK, which is a parallel situation.
    Modern BE (British English) speakers naturally spot the Americanisms more easily than AE speakers. One common one is ‘gotten’ for ‘got’; of course, ‘gotten’ was the form used in Early Modern English, but I am pretty sure it had died out completely in Britain by the late 18th century, except conceivably in some minor dialects, and was retained only in American dialect.
    Anyone who uses Heyer as their authority for language rather than contemporary 18th/19thC writing richly deserves to crash and burn! I am as passionate an admirer of Heyer as anyone, but she was not infallible (although she took a great deal of care), and anyone writing an historical novel should be using primary, not secondary, sources!

    Reply
  56. Yes, for whatever reason, the American word “butt” has become prevalent in current speech, although if I were writing about the 1960s, for instance, it was considered vulgar and rude. We can really walk a sticky line when using slang in any age.
    I believe I’ve read that about “hello,” not that I would have remembered it had I any occasion to include it in dialogue. I just can’t think of any reason two people in the Regency would need to say “hello.” Generally, a meeting was fairly formal (especially if the hero is a Darcy stickler) and would require appropriate mode of address. I suppose one could “hallooo” someone from the top of the parapets or something. I should research the origins. I’m sure Edison didn’t just make it up on the spur of the moment!
    The “legs, limbs” thing is one of the very many reasons I avoid deep Victorian era, in England, at least. Society had so many serious neuroses that the whole time frame borders on psychotic to me. I just don’t think I could write a heroine who couldn’t say “legs”!
    Thanks for that bit of info, Virginia. I daresay they might have figured it out, but would they have actually used the words if they weren’t part of common parlance? That’s always the dividing line. If they have a reason to use the French, it works. But everyday speech… Not so much.
    I do hope everyone has an understanding of why writers are slightly crazy. Or maybe a whole lot.

    Reply
  57. Yes, for whatever reason, the American word “butt” has become prevalent in current speech, although if I were writing about the 1960s, for instance, it was considered vulgar and rude. We can really walk a sticky line when using slang in any age.
    I believe I’ve read that about “hello,” not that I would have remembered it had I any occasion to include it in dialogue. I just can’t think of any reason two people in the Regency would need to say “hello.” Generally, a meeting was fairly formal (especially if the hero is a Darcy stickler) and would require appropriate mode of address. I suppose one could “hallooo” someone from the top of the parapets or something. I should research the origins. I’m sure Edison didn’t just make it up on the spur of the moment!
    The “legs, limbs” thing is one of the very many reasons I avoid deep Victorian era, in England, at least. Society had so many serious neuroses that the whole time frame borders on psychotic to me. I just don’t think I could write a heroine who couldn’t say “legs”!
    Thanks for that bit of info, Virginia. I daresay they might have figured it out, but would they have actually used the words if they weren’t part of common parlance? That’s always the dividing line. If they have a reason to use the French, it works. But everyday speech… Not so much.
    I do hope everyone has an understanding of why writers are slightly crazy. Or maybe a whole lot.

    Reply
  58. Yes, for whatever reason, the American word “butt” has become prevalent in current speech, although if I were writing about the 1960s, for instance, it was considered vulgar and rude. We can really walk a sticky line when using slang in any age.
    I believe I’ve read that about “hello,” not that I would have remembered it had I any occasion to include it in dialogue. I just can’t think of any reason two people in the Regency would need to say “hello.” Generally, a meeting was fairly formal (especially if the hero is a Darcy stickler) and would require appropriate mode of address. I suppose one could “hallooo” someone from the top of the parapets or something. I should research the origins. I’m sure Edison didn’t just make it up on the spur of the moment!
    The “legs, limbs” thing is one of the very many reasons I avoid deep Victorian era, in England, at least. Society had so many serious neuroses that the whole time frame borders on psychotic to me. I just don’t think I could write a heroine who couldn’t say “legs”!
    Thanks for that bit of info, Virginia. I daresay they might have figured it out, but would they have actually used the words if they weren’t part of common parlance? That’s always the dividing line. If they have a reason to use the French, it works. But everyday speech… Not so much.
    I do hope everyone has an understanding of why writers are slightly crazy. Or maybe a whole lot.

    Reply
  59. Yes, for whatever reason, the American word “butt” has become prevalent in current speech, although if I were writing about the 1960s, for instance, it was considered vulgar and rude. We can really walk a sticky line when using slang in any age.
    I believe I’ve read that about “hello,” not that I would have remembered it had I any occasion to include it in dialogue. I just can’t think of any reason two people in the Regency would need to say “hello.” Generally, a meeting was fairly formal (especially if the hero is a Darcy stickler) and would require appropriate mode of address. I suppose one could “hallooo” someone from the top of the parapets or something. I should research the origins. I’m sure Edison didn’t just make it up on the spur of the moment!
    The “legs, limbs” thing is one of the very many reasons I avoid deep Victorian era, in England, at least. Society had so many serious neuroses that the whole time frame borders on psychotic to me. I just don’t think I could write a heroine who couldn’t say “legs”!
    Thanks for that bit of info, Virginia. I daresay they might have figured it out, but would they have actually used the words if they weren’t part of common parlance? That’s always the dividing line. If they have a reason to use the French, it works. But everyday speech… Not so much.
    I do hope everyone has an understanding of why writers are slightly crazy. Or maybe a whole lot.

    Reply
  60. Yes, for whatever reason, the American word “butt” has become prevalent in current speech, although if I were writing about the 1960s, for instance, it was considered vulgar and rude. We can really walk a sticky line when using slang in any age.
    I believe I’ve read that about “hello,” not that I would have remembered it had I any occasion to include it in dialogue. I just can’t think of any reason two people in the Regency would need to say “hello.” Generally, a meeting was fairly formal (especially if the hero is a Darcy stickler) and would require appropriate mode of address. I suppose one could “hallooo” someone from the top of the parapets or something. I should research the origins. I’m sure Edison didn’t just make it up on the spur of the moment!
    The “legs, limbs” thing is one of the very many reasons I avoid deep Victorian era, in England, at least. Society had so many serious neuroses that the whole time frame borders on psychotic to me. I just don’t think I could write a heroine who couldn’t say “legs”!
    Thanks for that bit of info, Virginia. I daresay they might have figured it out, but would they have actually used the words if they weren’t part of common parlance? That’s always the dividing line. If they have a reason to use the French, it works. But everyday speech… Not so much.
    I do hope everyone has an understanding of why writers are slightly crazy. Or maybe a whole lot.

    Reply
  61. As a British reader the use of ‘gotten’ is always very irritating but interesting to see that it might have been OK to use it for earlier periods. The other thing that annoys me in badly written historicals is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ (and similar). Can someone tell me if its OK for writers writing in the Regency period to use abbreviations like ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ cos if badly written ‘do not’ and ‘can not’ etc can really interrupt my reading flow.

    Reply
  62. As a British reader the use of ‘gotten’ is always very irritating but interesting to see that it might have been OK to use it for earlier periods. The other thing that annoys me in badly written historicals is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ (and similar). Can someone tell me if its OK for writers writing in the Regency period to use abbreviations like ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ cos if badly written ‘do not’ and ‘can not’ etc can really interrupt my reading flow.

    Reply
  63. As a British reader the use of ‘gotten’ is always very irritating but interesting to see that it might have been OK to use it for earlier periods. The other thing that annoys me in badly written historicals is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ (and similar). Can someone tell me if its OK for writers writing in the Regency period to use abbreviations like ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ cos if badly written ‘do not’ and ‘can not’ etc can really interrupt my reading flow.

    Reply
  64. As a British reader the use of ‘gotten’ is always very irritating but interesting to see that it might have been OK to use it for earlier periods. The other thing that annoys me in badly written historicals is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ (and similar). Can someone tell me if its OK for writers writing in the Regency period to use abbreviations like ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ cos if badly written ‘do not’ and ‘can not’ etc can really interrupt my reading flow.

    Reply
  65. As a British reader the use of ‘gotten’ is always very irritating but interesting to see that it might have been OK to use it for earlier periods. The other thing that annoys me in badly written historicals is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ (and similar). Can someone tell me if its OK for writers writing in the Regency period to use abbreviations like ‘don’t’ or ‘can’t’ cos if badly written ‘do not’ and ‘can not’ etc can really interrupt my reading flow.

    Reply
  66. Ooh and the other one that gets me is sentences that start with “I guess” which I feel is probably an Americanism – but I might be wrong……

    Reply
  67. Ooh and the other one that gets me is sentences that start with “I guess” which I feel is probably an Americanism – but I might be wrong……

    Reply
  68. Ooh and the other one that gets me is sentences that start with “I guess” which I feel is probably an Americanism – but I might be wrong……

    Reply
  69. Ooh and the other one that gets me is sentences that start with “I guess” which I feel is probably an Americanism – but I might be wrong……

    Reply
  70. Ooh and the other one that gets me is sentences that start with “I guess” which I feel is probably an Americanism – but I might be wrong……

    Reply
  71. I don’t care, really. As long as they don’t pull out a cell phone and start chatting (ie, do things technologically impossible) I don’t concern myself. (In romance, historical fiction is a different kettle)
    As far as using 18th/19th century writing for source material – I rather disagree there as well. Writing was so formal in that period – even conversational writing. You could say using 18th/19th century correspondence, perhaps – but to use literature as a guide to how people ‘really spoke’ would be to assume they two correlate. They might not.
    Did a person on the street in America the 1950’s speak like Steinbeck, Baldwin, or Cummings? Maybe they spoke like Marquis? Did they speak like Gable or Stewart or Rooney? Or did they speak another way altogether?
    We can grab the obvious words, we can work at the less obvious ones, but ultimately we don’t really know and the tale’s the thing, and the tale is what’s important to me. Convey it to me in the way you find it captivating, and I’ll forgive plenty.

    Reply
  72. I don’t care, really. As long as they don’t pull out a cell phone and start chatting (ie, do things technologically impossible) I don’t concern myself. (In romance, historical fiction is a different kettle)
    As far as using 18th/19th century writing for source material – I rather disagree there as well. Writing was so formal in that period – even conversational writing. You could say using 18th/19th century correspondence, perhaps – but to use literature as a guide to how people ‘really spoke’ would be to assume they two correlate. They might not.
    Did a person on the street in America the 1950’s speak like Steinbeck, Baldwin, or Cummings? Maybe they spoke like Marquis? Did they speak like Gable or Stewart or Rooney? Or did they speak another way altogether?
    We can grab the obvious words, we can work at the less obvious ones, but ultimately we don’t really know and the tale’s the thing, and the tale is what’s important to me. Convey it to me in the way you find it captivating, and I’ll forgive plenty.

    Reply
  73. I don’t care, really. As long as they don’t pull out a cell phone and start chatting (ie, do things technologically impossible) I don’t concern myself. (In romance, historical fiction is a different kettle)
    As far as using 18th/19th century writing for source material – I rather disagree there as well. Writing was so formal in that period – even conversational writing. You could say using 18th/19th century correspondence, perhaps – but to use literature as a guide to how people ‘really spoke’ would be to assume they two correlate. They might not.
    Did a person on the street in America the 1950’s speak like Steinbeck, Baldwin, or Cummings? Maybe they spoke like Marquis? Did they speak like Gable or Stewart or Rooney? Or did they speak another way altogether?
    We can grab the obvious words, we can work at the less obvious ones, but ultimately we don’t really know and the tale’s the thing, and the tale is what’s important to me. Convey it to me in the way you find it captivating, and I’ll forgive plenty.

    Reply
  74. I don’t care, really. As long as they don’t pull out a cell phone and start chatting (ie, do things technologically impossible) I don’t concern myself. (In romance, historical fiction is a different kettle)
    As far as using 18th/19th century writing for source material – I rather disagree there as well. Writing was so formal in that period – even conversational writing. You could say using 18th/19th century correspondence, perhaps – but to use literature as a guide to how people ‘really spoke’ would be to assume they two correlate. They might not.
    Did a person on the street in America the 1950’s speak like Steinbeck, Baldwin, or Cummings? Maybe they spoke like Marquis? Did they speak like Gable or Stewart or Rooney? Or did they speak another way altogether?
    We can grab the obvious words, we can work at the less obvious ones, but ultimately we don’t really know and the tale’s the thing, and the tale is what’s important to me. Convey it to me in the way you find it captivating, and I’ll forgive plenty.

    Reply
  75. I don’t care, really. As long as they don’t pull out a cell phone and start chatting (ie, do things technologically impossible) I don’t concern myself. (In romance, historical fiction is a different kettle)
    As far as using 18th/19th century writing for source material – I rather disagree there as well. Writing was so formal in that period – even conversational writing. You could say using 18th/19th century correspondence, perhaps – but to use literature as a guide to how people ‘really spoke’ would be to assume they two correlate. They might not.
    Did a person on the street in America the 1950’s speak like Steinbeck, Baldwin, or Cummings? Maybe they spoke like Marquis? Did they speak like Gable or Stewart or Rooney? Or did they speak another way altogether?
    We can grab the obvious words, we can work at the less obvious ones, but ultimately we don’t really know and the tale’s the thing, and the tale is what’s important to me. Convey it to me in the way you find it captivating, and I’ll forgive plenty.

    Reply
  76. ‘I guess’ is undoubtedly an American turn of phrase in our contemporary English, but it is found in older British English, probably 17thC and earlier. I have no idea whether it was in use in the late 18th/early 19thC.
    The differences between spoken and written English have always been considerable, but don’t forget that FICTION written in the late Georgian and Regency periods contains DIALOGUE, and this aims to represent spoken forms. It will be a safer guide than Heyer, brilliant though she is!
    Dictionaries such as Grose (of which Heyer made extensive use) give authentic slang and colloquialisms, but the subtleties of who would have used a given term, and in what company, is a matter of nice judgement. Again, Heyer certainly did not always get that right.

    Reply
  77. ‘I guess’ is undoubtedly an American turn of phrase in our contemporary English, but it is found in older British English, probably 17thC and earlier. I have no idea whether it was in use in the late 18th/early 19thC.
    The differences between spoken and written English have always been considerable, but don’t forget that FICTION written in the late Georgian and Regency periods contains DIALOGUE, and this aims to represent spoken forms. It will be a safer guide than Heyer, brilliant though she is!
    Dictionaries such as Grose (of which Heyer made extensive use) give authentic slang and colloquialisms, but the subtleties of who would have used a given term, and in what company, is a matter of nice judgement. Again, Heyer certainly did not always get that right.

    Reply
  78. ‘I guess’ is undoubtedly an American turn of phrase in our contemporary English, but it is found in older British English, probably 17thC and earlier. I have no idea whether it was in use in the late 18th/early 19thC.
    The differences between spoken and written English have always been considerable, but don’t forget that FICTION written in the late Georgian and Regency periods contains DIALOGUE, and this aims to represent spoken forms. It will be a safer guide than Heyer, brilliant though she is!
    Dictionaries such as Grose (of which Heyer made extensive use) give authentic slang and colloquialisms, but the subtleties of who would have used a given term, and in what company, is a matter of nice judgement. Again, Heyer certainly did not always get that right.

    Reply
  79. ‘I guess’ is undoubtedly an American turn of phrase in our contemporary English, but it is found in older British English, probably 17thC and earlier. I have no idea whether it was in use in the late 18th/early 19thC.
    The differences between spoken and written English have always been considerable, but don’t forget that FICTION written in the late Georgian and Regency periods contains DIALOGUE, and this aims to represent spoken forms. It will be a safer guide than Heyer, brilliant though she is!
    Dictionaries such as Grose (of which Heyer made extensive use) give authentic slang and colloquialisms, but the subtleties of who would have used a given term, and in what company, is a matter of nice judgement. Again, Heyer certainly did not always get that right.

    Reply
  80. ‘I guess’ is undoubtedly an American turn of phrase in our contemporary English, but it is found in older British English, probably 17thC and earlier. I have no idea whether it was in use in the late 18th/early 19thC.
    The differences between spoken and written English have always been considerable, but don’t forget that FICTION written in the late Georgian and Regency periods contains DIALOGUE, and this aims to represent spoken forms. It will be a safer guide than Heyer, brilliant though she is!
    Dictionaries such as Grose (of which Heyer made extensive use) give authentic slang and colloquialisms, but the subtleties of who would have used a given term, and in what company, is a matter of nice judgement. Again, Heyer certainly did not always get that right.

    Reply
  81. “The other thing that annoys me … is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t'”
    Ahem. Caroline, some of us still quite frequently use ‘do not’, ‘cannot’, ‘shall not/will not’ and the like in everyday speech today, usually to provide an emphasis that is lost in the contracted forms. The full forms are also used when speaking in a formal register, such as delivering a lecture, because they are clearer to the ear than the contractions.
    ‘I do not see the point of this discussion’ generally coveys a somewhat more emphatic impression than ‘I don’t see the point of this discussion’.

    Reply
  82. “The other thing that annoys me … is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t'”
    Ahem. Caroline, some of us still quite frequently use ‘do not’, ‘cannot’, ‘shall not/will not’ and the like in everyday speech today, usually to provide an emphasis that is lost in the contracted forms. The full forms are also used when speaking in a formal register, such as delivering a lecture, because they are clearer to the ear than the contractions.
    ‘I do not see the point of this discussion’ generally coveys a somewhat more emphatic impression than ‘I don’t see the point of this discussion’.

    Reply
  83. “The other thing that annoys me … is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t'”
    Ahem. Caroline, some of us still quite frequently use ‘do not’, ‘cannot’, ‘shall not/will not’ and the like in everyday speech today, usually to provide an emphasis that is lost in the contracted forms. The full forms are also used when speaking in a formal register, such as delivering a lecture, because they are clearer to the ear than the contractions.
    ‘I do not see the point of this discussion’ generally coveys a somewhat more emphatic impression than ‘I don’t see the point of this discussion’.

    Reply
  84. “The other thing that annoys me … is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t'”
    Ahem. Caroline, some of us still quite frequently use ‘do not’, ‘cannot’, ‘shall not/will not’ and the like in everyday speech today, usually to provide an emphasis that is lost in the contracted forms. The full forms are also used when speaking in a formal register, such as delivering a lecture, because they are clearer to the ear than the contractions.
    ‘I do not see the point of this discussion’ generally coveys a somewhat more emphatic impression than ‘I don’t see the point of this discussion’.

    Reply
  85. “The other thing that annoys me … is the very stilted use of ‘do not’ or ‘can not’ in dialogue instead of the more colloquial ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t'”
    Ahem. Caroline, some of us still quite frequently use ‘do not’, ‘cannot’, ‘shall not/will not’ and the like in everyday speech today, usually to provide an emphasis that is lost in the contracted forms. The full forms are also used when speaking in a formal register, such as delivering a lecture, because they are clearer to the ear than the contractions.
    ‘I do not see the point of this discussion’ generally coveys a somewhat more emphatic impression than ‘I don’t see the point of this discussion’.

    Reply
  86. I think we walk a very fine line here. On the one hand we want to be as accurate as possible, but on the other we want the story to be accessible to a 21st century reader. Toward that end I’ve tried to be guided by something that Gene Roddenberry said regarding Star Trek back in the 60s. I’m paraphrasing here but he basically said: “Accuracy where possible, but be willing to stretch things for a good story.”
    When I was writing The Frigate Captain and Broad Pendant there were things I included that I knew damned well were wrong. Physicians, for example, were not called Doctor in 1779. But it just felt wrong not to do so for the characters of Fred Bassingford and Alexander Fleming, so I went with what felt right even though it was historically wrong.
    Slang has to be easily understood by a modern reader so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story; the same with curses, they should add to the flavor of the tale not detract from it. So, yes, sometimes I use the wrong phrase, either deliberately or inadvertently, because I feel the story is better for having done it.
    Will all this turn some readers away? Sure it will. But using the historically accurate terms and phrases will do the same thing. Like I said at the beginning – it’s a balancing act. Just do what you feel will make the best story possible and leave critiquing to the critics, who are going to do it anyway.
    In answer to Pat’s question: as long as I find the story and characters interesting and, in the case of the hero and heroine at least, likable, I can forgive quite a lot, more so if the narrative is flowing along nicely, without making me feel like I need footnotes and a glossary to understand what’s going on.
    After all, I’m reading a novel, not a history text. 😉

    Reply
  87. I think we walk a very fine line here. On the one hand we want to be as accurate as possible, but on the other we want the story to be accessible to a 21st century reader. Toward that end I’ve tried to be guided by something that Gene Roddenberry said regarding Star Trek back in the 60s. I’m paraphrasing here but he basically said: “Accuracy where possible, but be willing to stretch things for a good story.”
    When I was writing The Frigate Captain and Broad Pendant there were things I included that I knew damned well were wrong. Physicians, for example, were not called Doctor in 1779. But it just felt wrong not to do so for the characters of Fred Bassingford and Alexander Fleming, so I went with what felt right even though it was historically wrong.
    Slang has to be easily understood by a modern reader so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story; the same with curses, they should add to the flavor of the tale not detract from it. So, yes, sometimes I use the wrong phrase, either deliberately or inadvertently, because I feel the story is better for having done it.
    Will all this turn some readers away? Sure it will. But using the historically accurate terms and phrases will do the same thing. Like I said at the beginning – it’s a balancing act. Just do what you feel will make the best story possible and leave critiquing to the critics, who are going to do it anyway.
    In answer to Pat’s question: as long as I find the story and characters interesting and, in the case of the hero and heroine at least, likable, I can forgive quite a lot, more so if the narrative is flowing along nicely, without making me feel like I need footnotes and a glossary to understand what’s going on.
    After all, I’m reading a novel, not a history text. 😉

    Reply
  88. I think we walk a very fine line here. On the one hand we want to be as accurate as possible, but on the other we want the story to be accessible to a 21st century reader. Toward that end I’ve tried to be guided by something that Gene Roddenberry said regarding Star Trek back in the 60s. I’m paraphrasing here but he basically said: “Accuracy where possible, but be willing to stretch things for a good story.”
    When I was writing The Frigate Captain and Broad Pendant there were things I included that I knew damned well were wrong. Physicians, for example, were not called Doctor in 1779. But it just felt wrong not to do so for the characters of Fred Bassingford and Alexander Fleming, so I went with what felt right even though it was historically wrong.
    Slang has to be easily understood by a modern reader so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story; the same with curses, they should add to the flavor of the tale not detract from it. So, yes, sometimes I use the wrong phrase, either deliberately or inadvertently, because I feel the story is better for having done it.
    Will all this turn some readers away? Sure it will. But using the historically accurate terms and phrases will do the same thing. Like I said at the beginning – it’s a balancing act. Just do what you feel will make the best story possible and leave critiquing to the critics, who are going to do it anyway.
    In answer to Pat’s question: as long as I find the story and characters interesting and, in the case of the hero and heroine at least, likable, I can forgive quite a lot, more so if the narrative is flowing along nicely, without making me feel like I need footnotes and a glossary to understand what’s going on.
    After all, I’m reading a novel, not a history text. 😉

    Reply
  89. I think we walk a very fine line here. On the one hand we want to be as accurate as possible, but on the other we want the story to be accessible to a 21st century reader. Toward that end I’ve tried to be guided by something that Gene Roddenberry said regarding Star Trek back in the 60s. I’m paraphrasing here but he basically said: “Accuracy where possible, but be willing to stretch things for a good story.”
    When I was writing The Frigate Captain and Broad Pendant there were things I included that I knew damned well were wrong. Physicians, for example, were not called Doctor in 1779. But it just felt wrong not to do so for the characters of Fred Bassingford and Alexander Fleming, so I went with what felt right even though it was historically wrong.
    Slang has to be easily understood by a modern reader so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story; the same with curses, they should add to the flavor of the tale not detract from it. So, yes, sometimes I use the wrong phrase, either deliberately or inadvertently, because I feel the story is better for having done it.
    Will all this turn some readers away? Sure it will. But using the historically accurate terms and phrases will do the same thing. Like I said at the beginning – it’s a balancing act. Just do what you feel will make the best story possible and leave critiquing to the critics, who are going to do it anyway.
    In answer to Pat’s question: as long as I find the story and characters interesting and, in the case of the hero and heroine at least, likable, I can forgive quite a lot, more so if the narrative is flowing along nicely, without making me feel like I need footnotes and a glossary to understand what’s going on.
    After all, I’m reading a novel, not a history text. 😉

    Reply
  90. I think we walk a very fine line here. On the one hand we want to be as accurate as possible, but on the other we want the story to be accessible to a 21st century reader. Toward that end I’ve tried to be guided by something that Gene Roddenberry said regarding Star Trek back in the 60s. I’m paraphrasing here but he basically said: “Accuracy where possible, but be willing to stretch things for a good story.”
    When I was writing The Frigate Captain and Broad Pendant there were things I included that I knew damned well were wrong. Physicians, for example, were not called Doctor in 1779. But it just felt wrong not to do so for the characters of Fred Bassingford and Alexander Fleming, so I went with what felt right even though it was historically wrong.
    Slang has to be easily understood by a modern reader so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story; the same with curses, they should add to the flavor of the tale not detract from it. So, yes, sometimes I use the wrong phrase, either deliberately or inadvertently, because I feel the story is better for having done it.
    Will all this turn some readers away? Sure it will. But using the historically accurate terms and phrases will do the same thing. Like I said at the beginning – it’s a balancing act. Just do what you feel will make the best story possible and leave critiquing to the critics, who are going to do it anyway.
    In answer to Pat’s question: as long as I find the story and characters interesting and, in the case of the hero and heroine at least, likable, I can forgive quite a lot, more so if the narrative is flowing along nicely, without making me feel like I need footnotes and a glossary to understand what’s going on.
    After all, I’m reading a novel, not a history text. 😉

    Reply
  91. John Stevens: of course you are perfectly right about having to strike a balance – a text that is accessible to a modern reader but does not do too much violence to historical accuracy is bound to contain some compromises. The earlier the setting, the more of a problem that becomes.
    Are you sure about physicians? I understood that they WERE called doctors, though surgeons definitely were not (and in the UK, surgeons use the title ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’ to this day, although of course they hold doctorates of medicine).

    Reply
  92. John Stevens: of course you are perfectly right about having to strike a balance – a text that is accessible to a modern reader but does not do too much violence to historical accuracy is bound to contain some compromises. The earlier the setting, the more of a problem that becomes.
    Are you sure about physicians? I understood that they WERE called doctors, though surgeons definitely were not (and in the UK, surgeons use the title ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’ to this day, although of course they hold doctorates of medicine).

    Reply
  93. John Stevens: of course you are perfectly right about having to strike a balance – a text that is accessible to a modern reader but does not do too much violence to historical accuracy is bound to contain some compromises. The earlier the setting, the more of a problem that becomes.
    Are you sure about physicians? I understood that they WERE called doctors, though surgeons definitely were not (and in the UK, surgeons use the title ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’ to this day, although of course they hold doctorates of medicine).

    Reply
  94. John Stevens: of course you are perfectly right about having to strike a balance – a text that is accessible to a modern reader but does not do too much violence to historical accuracy is bound to contain some compromises. The earlier the setting, the more of a problem that becomes.
    Are you sure about physicians? I understood that they WERE called doctors, though surgeons definitely were not (and in the UK, surgeons use the title ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’ to this day, although of course they hold doctorates of medicine).

    Reply
  95. John Stevens: of course you are perfectly right about having to strike a balance – a text that is accessible to a modern reader but does not do too much violence to historical accuracy is bound to contain some compromises. The earlier the setting, the more of a problem that becomes.
    Are you sure about physicians? I understood that they WERE called doctors, though surgeons definitely were not (and in the UK, surgeons use the title ‘Mr’ rather than ‘Dr’ to this day, although of course they hold doctorates of medicine).

    Reply
  96. AgTigress, you must have been writing at the same time as I was earlier and hit your Send before I did. I’ve just read the comparison of Fanny to Dick, and you’re right, but I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables. The same for Americanisms (which probably would have been considered vulgar in formal circles) like “gotten” and “guess.” Although I try to avoid “got” even in contemps since it’s usually a lazy substitute for a far better phrase.
    I have to agree with John and everyone else who says the story is the thing. But I do want an author to KNOW there’s a choice and if they choose the incorrect one, that they do it for a reason. Too often ignorance on easy words means deliberate ignorance in a lot of factors which ultimately undermines the story for me.

    Reply
  97. AgTigress, you must have been writing at the same time as I was earlier and hit your Send before I did. I’ve just read the comparison of Fanny to Dick, and you’re right, but I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables. The same for Americanisms (which probably would have been considered vulgar in formal circles) like “gotten” and “guess.” Although I try to avoid “got” even in contemps since it’s usually a lazy substitute for a far better phrase.
    I have to agree with John and everyone else who says the story is the thing. But I do want an author to KNOW there’s a choice and if they choose the incorrect one, that they do it for a reason. Too often ignorance on easy words means deliberate ignorance in a lot of factors which ultimately undermines the story for me.

    Reply
  98. AgTigress, you must have been writing at the same time as I was earlier and hit your Send before I did. I’ve just read the comparison of Fanny to Dick, and you’re right, but I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables. The same for Americanisms (which probably would have been considered vulgar in formal circles) like “gotten” and “guess.” Although I try to avoid “got” even in contemps since it’s usually a lazy substitute for a far better phrase.
    I have to agree with John and everyone else who says the story is the thing. But I do want an author to KNOW there’s a choice and if they choose the incorrect one, that they do it for a reason. Too often ignorance on easy words means deliberate ignorance in a lot of factors which ultimately undermines the story for me.

    Reply
  99. AgTigress, you must have been writing at the same time as I was earlier and hit your Send before I did. I’ve just read the comparison of Fanny to Dick, and you’re right, but I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables. The same for Americanisms (which probably would have been considered vulgar in formal circles) like “gotten” and “guess.” Although I try to avoid “got” even in contemps since it’s usually a lazy substitute for a far better phrase.
    I have to agree with John and everyone else who says the story is the thing. But I do want an author to KNOW there’s a choice and if they choose the incorrect one, that they do it for a reason. Too often ignorance on easy words means deliberate ignorance in a lot of factors which ultimately undermines the story for me.

    Reply
  100. AgTigress, you must have been writing at the same time as I was earlier and hit your Send before I did. I’ve just read the comparison of Fanny to Dick, and you’re right, but I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables. The same for Americanisms (which probably would have been considered vulgar in formal circles) like “gotten” and “guess.” Although I try to avoid “got” even in contemps since it’s usually a lazy substitute for a far better phrase.
    I have to agree with John and everyone else who says the story is the thing. But I do want an author to KNOW there’s a choice and if they choose the incorrect one, that they do it for a reason. Too often ignorance on easy words means deliberate ignorance in a lot of factors which ultimately undermines the story for me.

    Reply
  101. Pretty sure, AgTigress. You’re correct regarding surgeons, but physicians were Mr. as well. Although they were fighting for the right to be called doctor at the time and had gotten it by the Regency period. I forget exactly what the distinction was but it had something to do with how much formal schooling they had received. The physicians argued that they had just as much as the scholars and were thus deserving of the title of Doctor which was applied only to scholars at the time. If I remember it right, the physicians became Doctors, and the scholars became Professors, mostly in any case. But I could be wrong about the scholars.

    Reply
  102. Pretty sure, AgTigress. You’re correct regarding surgeons, but physicians were Mr. as well. Although they were fighting for the right to be called doctor at the time and had gotten it by the Regency period. I forget exactly what the distinction was but it had something to do with how much formal schooling they had received. The physicians argued that they had just as much as the scholars and were thus deserving of the title of Doctor which was applied only to scholars at the time. If I remember it right, the physicians became Doctors, and the scholars became Professors, mostly in any case. But I could be wrong about the scholars.

    Reply
  103. Pretty sure, AgTigress. You’re correct regarding surgeons, but physicians were Mr. as well. Although they were fighting for the right to be called doctor at the time and had gotten it by the Regency period. I forget exactly what the distinction was but it had something to do with how much formal schooling they had received. The physicians argued that they had just as much as the scholars and were thus deserving of the title of Doctor which was applied only to scholars at the time. If I remember it right, the physicians became Doctors, and the scholars became Professors, mostly in any case. But I could be wrong about the scholars.

    Reply
  104. Pretty sure, AgTigress. You’re correct regarding surgeons, but physicians were Mr. as well. Although they were fighting for the right to be called doctor at the time and had gotten it by the Regency period. I forget exactly what the distinction was but it had something to do with how much formal schooling they had received. The physicians argued that they had just as much as the scholars and were thus deserving of the title of Doctor which was applied only to scholars at the time. If I remember it right, the physicians became Doctors, and the scholars became Professors, mostly in any case. But I could be wrong about the scholars.

    Reply
  105. Pretty sure, AgTigress. You’re correct regarding surgeons, but physicians were Mr. as well. Although they were fighting for the right to be called doctor at the time and had gotten it by the Regency period. I forget exactly what the distinction was but it had something to do with how much formal schooling they had received. The physicians argued that they had just as much as the scholars and were thus deserving of the title of Doctor which was applied only to scholars at the time. If I remember it right, the physicians became Doctors, and the scholars became Professors, mostly in any case. But I could be wrong about the scholars.

    Reply
  106. I have to disagree with AgTigress: Eric Partridge’s DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH often cites Heyer for exemplars of Regency slang; so I’d think anything she used would qualify as part of the Regency world–she might well have had a source that the dictionary (WHICH dictionary?) knows not of.
    Sticking in archaic words to make your historical more historical, without really knowing what your are doing, is what Josephine Tey called “writing forsoothly.”
    I think in the Regency the words used for those about to marry were affianced, betrothed, and intended (as nouns).
    I remember one time-travel romance in which the contemporary heroine found herself in San Francisco shortly before the Great Earthquake; one of the things she had to do before the romance worked out was to persuade the hero that it was a really cool idea to bathe more often than once a week!
    As for dialogue in older fiction, Mark Twain is notable for (at least supposedly) being the first author to render contemporary colloquial speech in fiction, which implies that the conversations in Austen, Burney, etc. were not actually the way people would have talked.
    And writers of all kinds of fiction, not just historical fiction, should remember Ted Johnstone’s Law: “Disbelief should be suspended–but not hanged by the neck until dead.”

    Reply
  107. I have to disagree with AgTigress: Eric Partridge’s DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH often cites Heyer for exemplars of Regency slang; so I’d think anything she used would qualify as part of the Regency world–she might well have had a source that the dictionary (WHICH dictionary?) knows not of.
    Sticking in archaic words to make your historical more historical, without really knowing what your are doing, is what Josephine Tey called “writing forsoothly.”
    I think in the Regency the words used for those about to marry were affianced, betrothed, and intended (as nouns).
    I remember one time-travel romance in which the contemporary heroine found herself in San Francisco shortly before the Great Earthquake; one of the things she had to do before the romance worked out was to persuade the hero that it was a really cool idea to bathe more often than once a week!
    As for dialogue in older fiction, Mark Twain is notable for (at least supposedly) being the first author to render contemporary colloquial speech in fiction, which implies that the conversations in Austen, Burney, etc. were not actually the way people would have talked.
    And writers of all kinds of fiction, not just historical fiction, should remember Ted Johnstone’s Law: “Disbelief should be suspended–but not hanged by the neck until dead.”

    Reply
  108. I have to disagree with AgTigress: Eric Partridge’s DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH often cites Heyer for exemplars of Regency slang; so I’d think anything she used would qualify as part of the Regency world–she might well have had a source that the dictionary (WHICH dictionary?) knows not of.
    Sticking in archaic words to make your historical more historical, without really knowing what your are doing, is what Josephine Tey called “writing forsoothly.”
    I think in the Regency the words used for those about to marry were affianced, betrothed, and intended (as nouns).
    I remember one time-travel romance in which the contemporary heroine found herself in San Francisco shortly before the Great Earthquake; one of the things she had to do before the romance worked out was to persuade the hero that it was a really cool idea to bathe more often than once a week!
    As for dialogue in older fiction, Mark Twain is notable for (at least supposedly) being the first author to render contemporary colloquial speech in fiction, which implies that the conversations in Austen, Burney, etc. were not actually the way people would have talked.
    And writers of all kinds of fiction, not just historical fiction, should remember Ted Johnstone’s Law: “Disbelief should be suspended–but not hanged by the neck until dead.”

    Reply
  109. I have to disagree with AgTigress: Eric Partridge’s DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH often cites Heyer for exemplars of Regency slang; so I’d think anything she used would qualify as part of the Regency world–she might well have had a source that the dictionary (WHICH dictionary?) knows not of.
    Sticking in archaic words to make your historical more historical, without really knowing what your are doing, is what Josephine Tey called “writing forsoothly.”
    I think in the Regency the words used for those about to marry were affianced, betrothed, and intended (as nouns).
    I remember one time-travel romance in which the contemporary heroine found herself in San Francisco shortly before the Great Earthquake; one of the things she had to do before the romance worked out was to persuade the hero that it was a really cool idea to bathe more often than once a week!
    As for dialogue in older fiction, Mark Twain is notable for (at least supposedly) being the first author to render contemporary colloquial speech in fiction, which implies that the conversations in Austen, Burney, etc. were not actually the way people would have talked.
    And writers of all kinds of fiction, not just historical fiction, should remember Ted Johnstone’s Law: “Disbelief should be suspended–but not hanged by the neck until dead.”

    Reply
  110. I have to disagree with AgTigress: Eric Partridge’s DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH often cites Heyer for exemplars of Regency slang; so I’d think anything she used would qualify as part of the Regency world–she might well have had a source that the dictionary (WHICH dictionary?) knows not of.
    Sticking in archaic words to make your historical more historical, without really knowing what your are doing, is what Josephine Tey called “writing forsoothly.”
    I think in the Regency the words used for those about to marry were affianced, betrothed, and intended (as nouns).
    I remember one time-travel romance in which the contemporary heroine found herself in San Francisco shortly before the Great Earthquake; one of the things she had to do before the romance worked out was to persuade the hero that it was a really cool idea to bathe more often than once a week!
    As for dialogue in older fiction, Mark Twain is notable for (at least supposedly) being the first author to render contemporary colloquial speech in fiction, which implies that the conversations in Austen, Burney, etc. were not actually the way people would have talked.
    And writers of all kinds of fiction, not just historical fiction, should remember Ted Johnstone’s Law: “Disbelief should be suspended–but not hanged by the neck until dead.”

    Reply
  111. According to http://www.behindthename.com:
    DICK (1)
    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: English
    Pronounced: DIK
    Medieval diminutive of RICHARD. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English.
    It is also found as Dickon or Diccon, as in this rhyme:
    “Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold,
    For Diccon thy master is bought and sold.”
    Jockey of Norfolk = John, Duke of Norfolk
    Diccon = Richard III
    “bought and sold” = betrayed

    Reply
  112. According to http://www.behindthename.com:
    DICK (1)
    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: English
    Pronounced: DIK
    Medieval diminutive of RICHARD. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English.
    It is also found as Dickon or Diccon, as in this rhyme:
    “Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold,
    For Diccon thy master is bought and sold.”
    Jockey of Norfolk = John, Duke of Norfolk
    Diccon = Richard III
    “bought and sold” = betrayed

    Reply
  113. According to http://www.behindthename.com:
    DICK (1)
    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: English
    Pronounced: DIK
    Medieval diminutive of RICHARD. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English.
    It is also found as Dickon or Diccon, as in this rhyme:
    “Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold,
    For Diccon thy master is bought and sold.”
    Jockey of Norfolk = John, Duke of Norfolk
    Diccon = Richard III
    “bought and sold” = betrayed

    Reply
  114. According to http://www.behindthename.com:
    DICK (1)
    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: English
    Pronounced: DIK
    Medieval diminutive of RICHARD. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English.
    It is also found as Dickon or Diccon, as in this rhyme:
    “Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold,
    For Diccon thy master is bought and sold.”
    Jockey of Norfolk = John, Duke of Norfolk
    Diccon = Richard III
    “bought and sold” = betrayed

    Reply
  115. According to http://www.behindthename.com:
    DICK (1)
    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: English
    Pronounced: DIK
    Medieval diminutive of RICHARD. The change in the initial consonant is said to have been caused by the way the trilled Norman R was pronounced by the English.
    It is also found as Dickon or Diccon, as in this rhyme:
    “Jockey of Norfolk, be not so bold,
    For Diccon thy master is bought and sold.”
    Jockey of Norfolk = John, Duke of Norfolk
    Diccon = Richard III
    “bought and sold” = betrayed

    Reply
  116. Patricia Rice wrote: I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    It’s part of the old “rhyming slang” that often included a change of the first consonant, elided consonants, and sliding vowels. Genealogists who work with records from the first half of the 19th century and earlier have to learn a lot of them. Note the pattern that these often maintain the late medieval/early modern hard consonants in the middle (for th in Martha and Catherine; ch in Richard) rather than the soft ones that we now use.
    Martha to Matty to Patty
    Margaret to Maggy to Meggy to Peggy
    Mary to Molly to Polly
    Sarah to Sally
    Catherine to Katty to Kitty
    Richard (as above) to Rick to Dick
    Edward to Ed to Ned or Ted
    There are others, of course, that don’t rhyme:
    Henry to Hal or Hank
    John to Jack
    The almost infinite variants from Elizabeth

    Reply
  117. Patricia Rice wrote: I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    It’s part of the old “rhyming slang” that often included a change of the first consonant, elided consonants, and sliding vowels. Genealogists who work with records from the first half of the 19th century and earlier have to learn a lot of them. Note the pattern that these often maintain the late medieval/early modern hard consonants in the middle (for th in Martha and Catherine; ch in Richard) rather than the soft ones that we now use.
    Martha to Matty to Patty
    Margaret to Maggy to Meggy to Peggy
    Mary to Molly to Polly
    Sarah to Sally
    Catherine to Katty to Kitty
    Richard (as above) to Rick to Dick
    Edward to Ed to Ned or Ted
    There are others, of course, that don’t rhyme:
    Henry to Hal or Hank
    John to Jack
    The almost infinite variants from Elizabeth

    Reply
  118. Patricia Rice wrote: I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    It’s part of the old “rhyming slang” that often included a change of the first consonant, elided consonants, and sliding vowels. Genealogists who work with records from the first half of the 19th century and earlier have to learn a lot of them. Note the pattern that these often maintain the late medieval/early modern hard consonants in the middle (for th in Martha and Catherine; ch in Richard) rather than the soft ones that we now use.
    Martha to Matty to Patty
    Margaret to Maggy to Meggy to Peggy
    Mary to Molly to Polly
    Sarah to Sally
    Catherine to Katty to Kitty
    Richard (as above) to Rick to Dick
    Edward to Ed to Ned or Ted
    There are others, of course, that don’t rhyme:
    Henry to Hal or Hank
    John to Jack
    The almost infinite variants from Elizabeth

    Reply
  119. Patricia Rice wrote: I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    It’s part of the old “rhyming slang” that often included a change of the first consonant, elided consonants, and sliding vowels. Genealogists who work with records from the first half of the 19th century and earlier have to learn a lot of them. Note the pattern that these often maintain the late medieval/early modern hard consonants in the middle (for th in Martha and Catherine; ch in Richard) rather than the soft ones that we now use.
    Martha to Matty to Patty
    Margaret to Maggy to Meggy to Peggy
    Mary to Molly to Polly
    Sarah to Sally
    Catherine to Katty to Kitty
    Richard (as above) to Rick to Dick
    Edward to Ed to Ned or Ted
    There are others, of course, that don’t rhyme:
    Henry to Hal or Hank
    John to Jack
    The almost infinite variants from Elizabeth

    Reply
  120. Patricia Rice wrote: I’ve always wondered how they got Dick out of Richard. “g”
    It’s part of the old “rhyming slang” that often included a change of the first consonant, elided consonants, and sliding vowels. Genealogists who work with records from the first half of the 19th century and earlier have to learn a lot of them. Note the pattern that these often maintain the late medieval/early modern hard consonants in the middle (for th in Martha and Catherine; ch in Richard) rather than the soft ones that we now use.
    Martha to Matty to Patty
    Margaret to Maggy to Meggy to Peggy
    Mary to Molly to Polly
    Sarah to Sally
    Catherine to Katty to Kitty
    Richard (as above) to Rick to Dick
    Edward to Ed to Ned or Ted
    There are others, of course, that don’t rhyme:
    Henry to Hal or Hank
    John to Jack
    The almost infinite variants from Elizabeth

    Reply
  121. Oh, I love my readers! You’re always teaching me something new. I hadn’t thought about that hard ch in Richard since medieval speech isn’t something I’ve studied, but that makes perfect sense now.
    And Grose is online? I have his VULGAR LANGUAGE and have had to make a thesaurus out of it because it’s useless otherwise. But I need to toddle over and see what’s out there now. Thank you!
    Dealing with anything related to the sciences as we know it today is difficult in the eras where they were just developing. Even when the right words existed, their usage wasn’t the same as ours. Another of those tricky lines we walk. I think I’ll just start stamping the front of the book–translated into modern American English!

    Reply
  122. Oh, I love my readers! You’re always teaching me something new. I hadn’t thought about that hard ch in Richard since medieval speech isn’t something I’ve studied, but that makes perfect sense now.
    And Grose is online? I have his VULGAR LANGUAGE and have had to make a thesaurus out of it because it’s useless otherwise. But I need to toddle over and see what’s out there now. Thank you!
    Dealing with anything related to the sciences as we know it today is difficult in the eras where they were just developing. Even when the right words existed, their usage wasn’t the same as ours. Another of those tricky lines we walk. I think I’ll just start stamping the front of the book–translated into modern American English!

    Reply
  123. Oh, I love my readers! You’re always teaching me something new. I hadn’t thought about that hard ch in Richard since medieval speech isn’t something I’ve studied, but that makes perfect sense now.
    And Grose is online? I have his VULGAR LANGUAGE and have had to make a thesaurus out of it because it’s useless otherwise. But I need to toddle over and see what’s out there now. Thank you!
    Dealing with anything related to the sciences as we know it today is difficult in the eras where they were just developing. Even when the right words existed, their usage wasn’t the same as ours. Another of those tricky lines we walk. I think I’ll just start stamping the front of the book–translated into modern American English!

    Reply
  124. Oh, I love my readers! You’re always teaching me something new. I hadn’t thought about that hard ch in Richard since medieval speech isn’t something I’ve studied, but that makes perfect sense now.
    And Grose is online? I have his VULGAR LANGUAGE and have had to make a thesaurus out of it because it’s useless otherwise. But I need to toddle over and see what’s out there now. Thank you!
    Dealing with anything related to the sciences as we know it today is difficult in the eras where they were just developing. Even when the right words existed, their usage wasn’t the same as ours. Another of those tricky lines we walk. I think I’ll just start stamping the front of the book–translated into modern American English!

    Reply
  125. Oh, I love my readers! You’re always teaching me something new. I hadn’t thought about that hard ch in Richard since medieval speech isn’t something I’ve studied, but that makes perfect sense now.
    And Grose is online? I have his VULGAR LANGUAGE and have had to make a thesaurus out of it because it’s useless otherwise. But I need to toddle over and see what’s out there now. Thank you!
    Dealing with anything related to the sciences as we know it today is difficult in the eras where they were just developing. Even when the right words existed, their usage wasn’t the same as ours. Another of those tricky lines we walk. I think I’ll just start stamping the front of the book–translated into modern American English!

    Reply
  126. No, no, Tal: you misunderstand me. Heyer was very careful and thorough, and I am sure that most of her words and phrases are right (Grose was obviously her chief source, but I am sure she had others too, some of which may not have been identified). My point was that only Allah is perfect, and that even Heyer probably was not INVARIABLY right. For example, her mistake over the Soho Works (in ‘Frederica’) was due to a misunderstanding, an incomplete piece of research, and she was very embarrassed by it.
    The other ever-present danger is using the wrong register in dialogue. Even some very good writers (I name no names) will often have well-born males using expletives such as ‘bloody’ in the presence of ladies, which, though it is fine now (and indeed, the ladies use them back…) was NOT fine in many social circles even 60 years ago, let alone 200.
    Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.

    Reply
  127. No, no, Tal: you misunderstand me. Heyer was very careful and thorough, and I am sure that most of her words and phrases are right (Grose was obviously her chief source, but I am sure she had others too, some of which may not have been identified). My point was that only Allah is perfect, and that even Heyer probably was not INVARIABLY right. For example, her mistake over the Soho Works (in ‘Frederica’) was due to a misunderstanding, an incomplete piece of research, and she was very embarrassed by it.
    The other ever-present danger is using the wrong register in dialogue. Even some very good writers (I name no names) will often have well-born males using expletives such as ‘bloody’ in the presence of ladies, which, though it is fine now (and indeed, the ladies use them back…) was NOT fine in many social circles even 60 years ago, let alone 200.
    Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.

    Reply
  128. No, no, Tal: you misunderstand me. Heyer was very careful and thorough, and I am sure that most of her words and phrases are right (Grose was obviously her chief source, but I am sure she had others too, some of which may not have been identified). My point was that only Allah is perfect, and that even Heyer probably was not INVARIABLY right. For example, her mistake over the Soho Works (in ‘Frederica’) was due to a misunderstanding, an incomplete piece of research, and she was very embarrassed by it.
    The other ever-present danger is using the wrong register in dialogue. Even some very good writers (I name no names) will often have well-born males using expletives such as ‘bloody’ in the presence of ladies, which, though it is fine now (and indeed, the ladies use them back…) was NOT fine in many social circles even 60 years ago, let alone 200.
    Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.

    Reply
  129. No, no, Tal: you misunderstand me. Heyer was very careful and thorough, and I am sure that most of her words and phrases are right (Grose was obviously her chief source, but I am sure she had others too, some of which may not have been identified). My point was that only Allah is perfect, and that even Heyer probably was not INVARIABLY right. For example, her mistake over the Soho Works (in ‘Frederica’) was due to a misunderstanding, an incomplete piece of research, and she was very embarrassed by it.
    The other ever-present danger is using the wrong register in dialogue. Even some very good writers (I name no names) will often have well-born males using expletives such as ‘bloody’ in the presence of ladies, which, though it is fine now (and indeed, the ladies use them back…) was NOT fine in many social circles even 60 years ago, let alone 200.
    Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.

    Reply
  130. No, no, Tal: you misunderstand me. Heyer was very careful and thorough, and I am sure that most of her words and phrases are right (Grose was obviously her chief source, but I am sure she had others too, some of which may not have been identified). My point was that only Allah is perfect, and that even Heyer probably was not INVARIABLY right. For example, her mistake over the Soho Works (in ‘Frederica’) was due to a misunderstanding, an incomplete piece of research, and she was very embarrassed by it.
    The other ever-present danger is using the wrong register in dialogue. Even some very good writers (I name no names) will often have well-born males using expletives such as ‘bloody’ in the presence of ladies, which, though it is fine now (and indeed, the ladies use them back…) was NOT fine in many social circles even 60 years ago, let alone 200.
    Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.

    Reply
  131. Patricia,
    I do a select all, copy on any of the Gutenberg books, then paste them into a Word doc. That way, I just Ctrl-F to search for whatever I’m looking for. That’s the only problem with the Gutenberg system.
    But the other nice thing about doing it that way, I can make notes in different colors in the doc. Haven’t found a way to do that when I save it as a(n) HTML document.
    🙂

    Reply
  132. Patricia,
    I do a select all, copy on any of the Gutenberg books, then paste them into a Word doc. That way, I just Ctrl-F to search for whatever I’m looking for. That’s the only problem with the Gutenberg system.
    But the other nice thing about doing it that way, I can make notes in different colors in the doc. Haven’t found a way to do that when I save it as a(n) HTML document.
    🙂

    Reply
  133. Patricia,
    I do a select all, copy on any of the Gutenberg books, then paste them into a Word doc. That way, I just Ctrl-F to search for whatever I’m looking for. That’s the only problem with the Gutenberg system.
    But the other nice thing about doing it that way, I can make notes in different colors in the doc. Haven’t found a way to do that when I save it as a(n) HTML document.
    🙂

    Reply
  134. Patricia,
    I do a select all, copy on any of the Gutenberg books, then paste them into a Word doc. That way, I just Ctrl-F to search for whatever I’m looking for. That’s the only problem with the Gutenberg system.
    But the other nice thing about doing it that way, I can make notes in different colors in the doc. Haven’t found a way to do that when I save it as a(n) HTML document.
    🙂

    Reply
  135. Patricia,
    I do a select all, copy on any of the Gutenberg books, then paste them into a Word doc. That way, I just Ctrl-F to search for whatever I’m looking for. That’s the only problem with the Gutenberg system.
    But the other nice thing about doing it that way, I can make notes in different colors in the doc. Haven’t found a way to do that when I save it as a(n) HTML document.
    🙂

    Reply
  136. As for citing Mark Twain as the first to use colloquial speech in fiction, thereby implying that Jane Austen and Fanny Burney got it wrong, isn’t that somewhat misleading? He was writing about a different time, a different place, and a different class than were Austen and Burney. I’d expect Tom Sawyer’s speech patterns to be very different from Mr. Darcy’s.

    Reply
  137. As for citing Mark Twain as the first to use colloquial speech in fiction, thereby implying that Jane Austen and Fanny Burney got it wrong, isn’t that somewhat misleading? He was writing about a different time, a different place, and a different class than were Austen and Burney. I’d expect Tom Sawyer’s speech patterns to be very different from Mr. Darcy’s.

    Reply
  138. As for citing Mark Twain as the first to use colloquial speech in fiction, thereby implying that Jane Austen and Fanny Burney got it wrong, isn’t that somewhat misleading? He was writing about a different time, a different place, and a different class than were Austen and Burney. I’d expect Tom Sawyer’s speech patterns to be very different from Mr. Darcy’s.

    Reply
  139. As for citing Mark Twain as the first to use colloquial speech in fiction, thereby implying that Jane Austen and Fanny Burney got it wrong, isn’t that somewhat misleading? He was writing about a different time, a different place, and a different class than were Austen and Burney. I’d expect Tom Sawyer’s speech patterns to be very different from Mr. Darcy’s.

    Reply
  140. As for citing Mark Twain as the first to use colloquial speech in fiction, thereby implying that Jane Austen and Fanny Burney got it wrong, isn’t that somewhat misleading? He was writing about a different time, a different place, and a different class than were Austen and Burney. I’d expect Tom Sawyer’s speech patterns to be very different from Mr. Darcy’s.

    Reply
  141. Oh, running a search on Grose would be fantastic! I’ve been dealing with the paper version for so long that it never even occurred to me to look for it elsewhere. I’m so fond of Emily Hendrickson’s Regency Thesaurus that I’ve become lazy, I fear.
    I have no idea if Austen’s novels reflect formal or informal speech, although I’m sure they don’t reflect boxing cant. “G” But I suspect Austen gives us the speech of the educated upper classes and not the less educated more casual environs of the Midwest, no matter what the era. I need to drag out my Tom Jones and see how dialogue is portrayed in there.

    Reply
  142. Oh, running a search on Grose would be fantastic! I’ve been dealing with the paper version for so long that it never even occurred to me to look for it elsewhere. I’m so fond of Emily Hendrickson’s Regency Thesaurus that I’ve become lazy, I fear.
    I have no idea if Austen’s novels reflect formal or informal speech, although I’m sure they don’t reflect boxing cant. “G” But I suspect Austen gives us the speech of the educated upper classes and not the less educated more casual environs of the Midwest, no matter what the era. I need to drag out my Tom Jones and see how dialogue is portrayed in there.

    Reply
  143. Oh, running a search on Grose would be fantastic! I’ve been dealing with the paper version for so long that it never even occurred to me to look for it elsewhere. I’m so fond of Emily Hendrickson’s Regency Thesaurus that I’ve become lazy, I fear.
    I have no idea if Austen’s novels reflect formal or informal speech, although I’m sure they don’t reflect boxing cant. “G” But I suspect Austen gives us the speech of the educated upper classes and not the less educated more casual environs of the Midwest, no matter what the era. I need to drag out my Tom Jones and see how dialogue is portrayed in there.

    Reply
  144. Oh, running a search on Grose would be fantastic! I’ve been dealing with the paper version for so long that it never even occurred to me to look for it elsewhere. I’m so fond of Emily Hendrickson’s Regency Thesaurus that I’ve become lazy, I fear.
    I have no idea if Austen’s novels reflect formal or informal speech, although I’m sure they don’t reflect boxing cant. “G” But I suspect Austen gives us the speech of the educated upper classes and not the less educated more casual environs of the Midwest, no matter what the era. I need to drag out my Tom Jones and see how dialogue is portrayed in there.

    Reply
  145. Oh, running a search on Grose would be fantastic! I’ve been dealing with the paper version for so long that it never even occurred to me to look for it elsewhere. I’m so fond of Emily Hendrickson’s Regency Thesaurus that I’ve become lazy, I fear.
    I have no idea if Austen’s novels reflect formal or informal speech, although I’m sure they don’t reflect boxing cant. “G” But I suspect Austen gives us the speech of the educated upper classes and not the less educated more casual environs of the Midwest, no matter what the era. I need to drag out my Tom Jones and see how dialogue is portrayed in there.

    Reply
  146. On rhyming nicknames, I forgot two more classics:
    Robert to Rob to Bob;
    William to Will to Bill.
    Also, Henry went through the intermediate Harry before becomming Hally which was shortened almost always to Hal.
    Thomas kept the original hard Th sound at the start, so just turned into Tom and, as far as I know, never had a rhyme (for Tom, Dick, and Harry).

    Reply
  147. On rhyming nicknames, I forgot two more classics:
    Robert to Rob to Bob;
    William to Will to Bill.
    Also, Henry went through the intermediate Harry before becomming Hally which was shortened almost always to Hal.
    Thomas kept the original hard Th sound at the start, so just turned into Tom and, as far as I know, never had a rhyme (for Tom, Dick, and Harry).

    Reply
  148. On rhyming nicknames, I forgot two more classics:
    Robert to Rob to Bob;
    William to Will to Bill.
    Also, Henry went through the intermediate Harry before becomming Hally which was shortened almost always to Hal.
    Thomas kept the original hard Th sound at the start, so just turned into Tom and, as far as I know, never had a rhyme (for Tom, Dick, and Harry).

    Reply
  149. On rhyming nicknames, I forgot two more classics:
    Robert to Rob to Bob;
    William to Will to Bill.
    Also, Henry went through the intermediate Harry before becomming Hally which was shortened almost always to Hal.
    Thomas kept the original hard Th sound at the start, so just turned into Tom and, as far as I know, never had a rhyme (for Tom, Dick, and Harry).

    Reply
  150. On rhyming nicknames, I forgot two more classics:
    Robert to Rob to Bob;
    William to Will to Bill.
    Also, Henry went through the intermediate Harry before becomming Hally which was shortened almost always to Hal.
    Thomas kept the original hard Th sound at the start, so just turned into Tom and, as far as I know, never had a rhyme (for Tom, Dick, and Harry).

    Reply
  151. “The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables.”
    I just finished a long collection of Wellington’s correspondence from between 1794 and 1815. As I read, I found myself wishing I could’ve sent a copy with every “can’t” and “don’t” highlighted to a certain contest judge who once circled every contraction my characters used and dinged me for both grammar and historical accuracy. Granted, his contractions were all in letters to family or friends rather than in formal correspondence…but mine were in dialogue!
    I do use *fewer* contractions when writing historical fiction, but if I do away with them altogether it just feels too stilted, or as if I’m writing dialogue for Commander Data.

    Reply
  152. “The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables.”
    I just finished a long collection of Wellington’s correspondence from between 1794 and 1815. As I read, I found myself wishing I could’ve sent a copy with every “can’t” and “don’t” highlighted to a certain contest judge who once circled every contraction my characters used and dinged me for both grammar and historical accuracy. Granted, his contractions were all in letters to family or friends rather than in formal correspondence…but mine were in dialogue!
    I do use *fewer* contractions when writing historical fiction, but if I do away with them altogether it just feels too stilted, or as if I’m writing dialogue for Commander Data.

    Reply
  153. “The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables.”
    I just finished a long collection of Wellington’s correspondence from between 1794 and 1815. As I read, I found myself wishing I could’ve sent a copy with every “can’t” and “don’t” highlighted to a certain contest judge who once circled every contraction my characters used and dinged me for both grammar and historical accuracy. Granted, his contractions were all in letters to family or friends rather than in formal correspondence…but mine were in dialogue!
    I do use *fewer* contractions when writing historical fiction, but if I do away with them altogether it just feels too stilted, or as if I’m writing dialogue for Commander Data.

    Reply
  154. “The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables.”
    I just finished a long collection of Wellington’s correspondence from between 1794 and 1815. As I read, I found myself wishing I could’ve sent a copy with every “can’t” and “don’t” highlighted to a certain contest judge who once circled every contraction my characters used and dinged me for both grammar and historical accuracy. Granted, his contractions were all in letters to family or friends rather than in formal correspondence…but mine were in dialogue!
    I do use *fewer* contractions when writing historical fiction, but if I do away with them altogether it just feels too stilted, or as if I’m writing dialogue for Commander Data.

    Reply
  155. “The no-contraction rule has been batted around Regency circles everywhere. I’m thinking that a generation that could swing “ain’t” was perfectly capable of using “can’t” but it’s very possible formality in drawing rooms was different than in the stables.”
    I just finished a long collection of Wellington’s correspondence from between 1794 and 1815. As I read, I found myself wishing I could’ve sent a copy with every “can’t” and “don’t” highlighted to a certain contest judge who once circled every contraction my characters used and dinged me for both grammar and historical accuracy. Granted, his contractions were all in letters to family or friends rather than in formal correspondence…but mine were in dialogue!
    I do use *fewer* contractions when writing historical fiction, but if I do away with them altogether it just feels too stilted, or as if I’m writing dialogue for Commander Data.

    Reply
  156. ***I hadn’t realized that even in modern British, “fanny” does not mean one’s buttocks but the female genitals. How many of you would have noticed if I hadn’t just told you?***
    This one I knew, LOL! One my English friends has a great story about seeing an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it. The whole bar was laughing and the poor girl had no idea why, and no one wanted to be the one to tell her.

    Reply
  157. ***I hadn’t realized that even in modern British, “fanny” does not mean one’s buttocks but the female genitals. How many of you would have noticed if I hadn’t just told you?***
    This one I knew, LOL! One my English friends has a great story about seeing an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it. The whole bar was laughing and the poor girl had no idea why, and no one wanted to be the one to tell her.

    Reply
  158. ***I hadn’t realized that even in modern British, “fanny” does not mean one’s buttocks but the female genitals. How many of you would have noticed if I hadn’t just told you?***
    This one I knew, LOL! One my English friends has a great story about seeing an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it. The whole bar was laughing and the poor girl had no idea why, and no one wanted to be the one to tell her.

    Reply
  159. ***I hadn’t realized that even in modern British, “fanny” does not mean one’s buttocks but the female genitals. How many of you would have noticed if I hadn’t just told you?***
    This one I knew, LOL! One my English friends has a great story about seeing an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it. The whole bar was laughing and the poor girl had no idea why, and no one wanted to be the one to tell her.

    Reply
  160. ***I hadn’t realized that even in modern British, “fanny” does not mean one’s buttocks but the female genitals. How many of you would have noticed if I hadn’t just told you?***
    This one I knew, LOL! One my English friends has a great story about seeing an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it. The whole bar was laughing and the poor girl had no idea why, and no one wanted to be the one to tell her.

    Reply
  161. ‘…an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it.’
    😀 I can imagine! Poor girl. To us, ‘fanny pack’ evokes an image of something worn between the legs rather on the back…

    Reply
  162. ‘…an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it.’
    😀 I can imagine! Poor girl. To us, ‘fanny pack’ evokes an image of something worn between the legs rather on the back…

    Reply
  163. ‘…an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it.’
    😀 I can imagine! Poor girl. To us, ‘fanny pack’ evokes an image of something worn between the legs rather on the back…

    Reply
  164. ‘…an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it.’
    😀 I can imagine! Poor girl. To us, ‘fanny pack’ evokes an image of something worn between the legs rather on the back…

    Reply
  165. ‘…an American girl in a pub back in the 80s wearing a “Fanny pack” that SAID “Fanny Pack” right across it.’
    😀 I can imagine! Poor girl. To us, ‘fanny pack’ evokes an image of something worn between the legs rather on the back…

    Reply
  166. Susan, I’m with you on the contractions. If I don’t read any in a historical novel, it feels almost emotionless to me, way too formal. It’s just very hard for me to believe that, other than the most formal of situations, people didn’t use them. Then again, I’m not a word hound so what do I know? But I do like a much less…almost false sounding dialog.

    Reply
  167. Susan, I’m with you on the contractions. If I don’t read any in a historical novel, it feels almost emotionless to me, way too formal. It’s just very hard for me to believe that, other than the most formal of situations, people didn’t use them. Then again, I’m not a word hound so what do I know? But I do like a much less…almost false sounding dialog.

    Reply
  168. Susan, I’m with you on the contractions. If I don’t read any in a historical novel, it feels almost emotionless to me, way too formal. It’s just very hard for me to believe that, other than the most formal of situations, people didn’t use them. Then again, I’m not a word hound so what do I know? But I do like a much less…almost false sounding dialog.

    Reply
  169. Susan, I’m with you on the contractions. If I don’t read any in a historical novel, it feels almost emotionless to me, way too formal. It’s just very hard for me to believe that, other than the most formal of situations, people didn’t use them. Then again, I’m not a word hound so what do I know? But I do like a much less…almost false sounding dialog.

    Reply
  170. Susan, I’m with you on the contractions. If I don’t read any in a historical novel, it feels almost emotionless to me, way too formal. It’s just very hard for me to believe that, other than the most formal of situations, people didn’t use them. Then again, I’m not a word hound so what do I know? But I do like a much less…almost false sounding dialog.

    Reply
  171. Thanks Tal, Virginia..thanks for the info reguarding the contraction of Richard to Dick. Had no idea…Been the possessor of “Richard” as a middle name…and the contraction to “Dick” since the 1940s.

    Reply
  172. Thanks Tal, Virginia..thanks for the info reguarding the contraction of Richard to Dick. Had no idea…Been the possessor of “Richard” as a middle name…and the contraction to “Dick” since the 1940s.

    Reply
  173. Thanks Tal, Virginia..thanks for the info reguarding the contraction of Richard to Dick. Had no idea…Been the possessor of “Richard” as a middle name…and the contraction to “Dick” since the 1940s.

    Reply
  174. Thanks Tal, Virginia..thanks for the info reguarding the contraction of Richard to Dick. Had no idea…Been the possessor of “Richard” as a middle name…and the contraction to “Dick” since the 1940s.

    Reply
  175. Thanks Tal, Virginia..thanks for the info reguarding the contraction of Richard to Dick. Had no idea…Been the possessor of “Richard” as a middle name…and the contraction to “Dick” since the 1940s.

    Reply
  176. There’s a whole class of writing which I think of as tis-twas-twere, where the author throws these words in for a faux-period style (along with “mayhap”, which always makes me wince). Much the same as Tey’s wonderful “writing forsoothly”, which has already been noted. Generally I can ignore it, although it’s hard to in Johanna Lindsey’s books.
    American terms in an English-set books always pull me out of the story. “Ass” has already been noted. “Pumpkin” used as a term of endearment in a Regency-set novel nearly made me gave up on the book there and then.

    Reply
  177. There’s a whole class of writing which I think of as tis-twas-twere, where the author throws these words in for a faux-period style (along with “mayhap”, which always makes me wince). Much the same as Tey’s wonderful “writing forsoothly”, which has already been noted. Generally I can ignore it, although it’s hard to in Johanna Lindsey’s books.
    American terms in an English-set books always pull me out of the story. “Ass” has already been noted. “Pumpkin” used as a term of endearment in a Regency-set novel nearly made me gave up on the book there and then.

    Reply
  178. There’s a whole class of writing which I think of as tis-twas-twere, where the author throws these words in for a faux-period style (along with “mayhap”, which always makes me wince). Much the same as Tey’s wonderful “writing forsoothly”, which has already been noted. Generally I can ignore it, although it’s hard to in Johanna Lindsey’s books.
    American terms in an English-set books always pull me out of the story. “Ass” has already been noted. “Pumpkin” used as a term of endearment in a Regency-set novel nearly made me gave up on the book there and then.

    Reply
  179. There’s a whole class of writing which I think of as tis-twas-twere, where the author throws these words in for a faux-period style (along with “mayhap”, which always makes me wince). Much the same as Tey’s wonderful “writing forsoothly”, which has already been noted. Generally I can ignore it, although it’s hard to in Johanna Lindsey’s books.
    American terms in an English-set books always pull me out of the story. “Ass” has already been noted. “Pumpkin” used as a term of endearment in a Regency-set novel nearly made me gave up on the book there and then.

    Reply
  180. There’s a whole class of writing which I think of as tis-twas-twere, where the author throws these words in for a faux-period style (along with “mayhap”, which always makes me wince). Much the same as Tey’s wonderful “writing forsoothly”, which has already been noted. Generally I can ignore it, although it’s hard to in Johanna Lindsey’s books.
    American terms in an English-set books always pull me out of the story. “Ass” has already been noted. “Pumpkin” used as a term of endearment in a Regency-set novel nearly made me gave up on the book there and then.

    Reply
  181. Fascinating subject, thanks for bringing it up Pat.
    One thing that’ll make me sit up is – where a Brit/Aussie would say got *off* something, an American might say got *off of*. I don’t know how universal this is to American speech but when it crops up in the odd historical romance I’m grinding my teeth. It reads like bad English to me (it sounds wrong when I hear it spoken too) LOL.

    Reply
  182. Fascinating subject, thanks for bringing it up Pat.
    One thing that’ll make me sit up is – where a Brit/Aussie would say got *off* something, an American might say got *off of*. I don’t know how universal this is to American speech but when it crops up in the odd historical romance I’m grinding my teeth. It reads like bad English to me (it sounds wrong when I hear it spoken too) LOL.

    Reply
  183. Fascinating subject, thanks for bringing it up Pat.
    One thing that’ll make me sit up is – where a Brit/Aussie would say got *off* something, an American might say got *off of*. I don’t know how universal this is to American speech but when it crops up in the odd historical romance I’m grinding my teeth. It reads like bad English to me (it sounds wrong when I hear it spoken too) LOL.

    Reply
  184. Fascinating subject, thanks for bringing it up Pat.
    One thing that’ll make me sit up is – where a Brit/Aussie would say got *off* something, an American might say got *off of*. I don’t know how universal this is to American speech but when it crops up in the odd historical romance I’m grinding my teeth. It reads like bad English to me (it sounds wrong when I hear it spoken too) LOL.

    Reply
  185. Fascinating subject, thanks for bringing it up Pat.
    One thing that’ll make me sit up is – where a Brit/Aussie would say got *off* something, an American might say got *off of*. I don’t know how universal this is to American speech but when it crops up in the odd historical romance I’m grinding my teeth. It reads like bad English to me (it sounds wrong when I hear it spoken too) LOL.

    Reply
  186. AgTigress wrote: “Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.”
    Now you have me imagining a nice chat between Jane Austen and Letty Lade!

    Reply
  187. AgTigress wrote: “Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.”
    Now you have me imagining a nice chat between Jane Austen and Letty Lade!

    Reply
  188. AgTigress wrote: “Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.”
    Now you have me imagining a nice chat between Jane Austen and Letty Lade!

    Reply
  189. AgTigress wrote: “Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.”
    Now you have me imagining a nice chat between Jane Austen and Letty Lade!

    Reply
  190. AgTigress wrote: “Heyer draws attention to the fact that some sporting jargon, for example, was a masculine dialect, and it was probably not quite nice to use it in front of respectable females, but it is hard for any of us, including Heyer, to be sure how these things sounded to different sexes and different social classes a couple of centuries ago.”
    Now you have me imagining a nice chat between Jane Austen and Letty Lade!

    Reply
  191. Suzanna – Mayhap you’ve stumbled across one of my main peeves….
    I had to stop reading Scottish set books, overall. One more ‘ken’, one more ‘dinna’…… even the ‘lassies’ were a ‘wee li’l beastie’ too much.

    Reply
  192. Suzanna – Mayhap you’ve stumbled across one of my main peeves….
    I had to stop reading Scottish set books, overall. One more ‘ken’, one more ‘dinna’…… even the ‘lassies’ were a ‘wee li’l beastie’ too much.

    Reply
  193. Suzanna – Mayhap you’ve stumbled across one of my main peeves….
    I had to stop reading Scottish set books, overall. One more ‘ken’, one more ‘dinna’…… even the ‘lassies’ were a ‘wee li’l beastie’ too much.

    Reply
  194. Suzanna – Mayhap you’ve stumbled across one of my main peeves….
    I had to stop reading Scottish set books, overall. One more ‘ken’, one more ‘dinna’…… even the ‘lassies’ were a ‘wee li’l beastie’ too much.

    Reply
  195. Suzanna – Mayhap you’ve stumbled across one of my main peeves….
    I had to stop reading Scottish set books, overall. One more ‘ken’, one more ‘dinna’…… even the ‘lassies’ were a ‘wee li’l beastie’ too much.

    Reply
  196. Liz – these are a closely related species I think of as dinna-doona-lass (aka Scottish corn). I don’t read many – browsing them usually stops me wanting to read further.
    Something I like about Diana Gabaldon is that she manages to make her characters sound Scottish without being OTT.

    Reply
  197. Liz – these are a closely related species I think of as dinna-doona-lass (aka Scottish corn). I don’t read many – browsing them usually stops me wanting to read further.
    Something I like about Diana Gabaldon is that she manages to make her characters sound Scottish without being OTT.

    Reply
  198. Liz – these are a closely related species I think of as dinna-doona-lass (aka Scottish corn). I don’t read many – browsing them usually stops me wanting to read further.
    Something I like about Diana Gabaldon is that she manages to make her characters sound Scottish without being OTT.

    Reply
  199. Liz – these are a closely related species I think of as dinna-doona-lass (aka Scottish corn). I don’t read many – browsing them usually stops me wanting to read further.
    Something I like about Diana Gabaldon is that she manages to make her characters sound Scottish without being OTT.

    Reply
  200. Liz – these are a closely related species I think of as dinna-doona-lass (aka Scottish corn). I don’t read many – browsing them usually stops me wanting to read further.
    Something I like about Diana Gabaldon is that she manages to make her characters sound Scottish without being OTT.

    Reply
  201. You’re all too good for me! I’ve attempted to imitate Scots dialect for a character and just using Robbie Burns for spelling gave me migraines. Brigadoonery, indeed, love it! I can “hear” the dialect, but translating it…
    I fear I love “mayhap,” and I don’t mind archaic “twases,” although taken too far requires shooting or burning of books.
    And thanks for mentioning Wellington’s correspondence! I suspect a Regency speaker would use far more of “shall” and “must” and the like than we do, but contractions are much too typical of natural speech to eliminate.
    But I’m remembering why it’s so difficult to write British, much less Regency–I just had a lovely line about the hero being pretty, but so is poison ivy. And then, of course, I had to look up poison ivy. Which doesn’t exist in England. “Stinging nettles” just isn’t quite the same. Sigh.

    Reply
  202. You’re all too good for me! I’ve attempted to imitate Scots dialect for a character and just using Robbie Burns for spelling gave me migraines. Brigadoonery, indeed, love it! I can “hear” the dialect, but translating it…
    I fear I love “mayhap,” and I don’t mind archaic “twases,” although taken too far requires shooting or burning of books.
    And thanks for mentioning Wellington’s correspondence! I suspect a Regency speaker would use far more of “shall” and “must” and the like than we do, but contractions are much too typical of natural speech to eliminate.
    But I’m remembering why it’s so difficult to write British, much less Regency–I just had a lovely line about the hero being pretty, but so is poison ivy. And then, of course, I had to look up poison ivy. Which doesn’t exist in England. “Stinging nettles” just isn’t quite the same. Sigh.

    Reply
  203. You’re all too good for me! I’ve attempted to imitate Scots dialect for a character and just using Robbie Burns for spelling gave me migraines. Brigadoonery, indeed, love it! I can “hear” the dialect, but translating it…
    I fear I love “mayhap,” and I don’t mind archaic “twases,” although taken too far requires shooting or burning of books.
    And thanks for mentioning Wellington’s correspondence! I suspect a Regency speaker would use far more of “shall” and “must” and the like than we do, but contractions are much too typical of natural speech to eliminate.
    But I’m remembering why it’s so difficult to write British, much less Regency–I just had a lovely line about the hero being pretty, but so is poison ivy. And then, of course, I had to look up poison ivy. Which doesn’t exist in England. “Stinging nettles” just isn’t quite the same. Sigh.

    Reply
  204. You’re all too good for me! I’ve attempted to imitate Scots dialect for a character and just using Robbie Burns for spelling gave me migraines. Brigadoonery, indeed, love it! I can “hear” the dialect, but translating it…
    I fear I love “mayhap,” and I don’t mind archaic “twases,” although taken too far requires shooting or burning of books.
    And thanks for mentioning Wellington’s correspondence! I suspect a Regency speaker would use far more of “shall” and “must” and the like than we do, but contractions are much too typical of natural speech to eliminate.
    But I’m remembering why it’s so difficult to write British, much less Regency–I just had a lovely line about the hero being pretty, but so is poison ivy. And then, of course, I had to look up poison ivy. Which doesn’t exist in England. “Stinging nettles” just isn’t quite the same. Sigh.

    Reply
  205. You’re all too good for me! I’ve attempted to imitate Scots dialect for a character and just using Robbie Burns for spelling gave me migraines. Brigadoonery, indeed, love it! I can “hear” the dialect, but translating it…
    I fear I love “mayhap,” and I don’t mind archaic “twases,” although taken too far requires shooting or burning of books.
    And thanks for mentioning Wellington’s correspondence! I suspect a Regency speaker would use far more of “shall” and “must” and the like than we do, but contractions are much too typical of natural speech to eliminate.
    But I’m remembering why it’s so difficult to write British, much less Regency–I just had a lovely line about the hero being pretty, but so is poison ivy. And then, of course, I had to look up poison ivy. Which doesn’t exist in England. “Stinging nettles” just isn’t quite the same. Sigh.

    Reply
  206. The problem with Scottish speech is that there are three kinds. One is Scottish Gaelic, very rare now. Another is “broad Scots,” aka “the Doric,” the Scots language itself, as used by Burns, which is a cousin of English. If you read Middle English poems written in the northern dialect, like THE PEARL and SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, you’ll find the language closer to Burns than to Chaucer.
    The third language is English as spoken by native Gaelic speakers who learned it as a second language, which is identical with good RP English except for the lovely lilt.

    Reply
  207. The problem with Scottish speech is that there are three kinds. One is Scottish Gaelic, very rare now. Another is “broad Scots,” aka “the Doric,” the Scots language itself, as used by Burns, which is a cousin of English. If you read Middle English poems written in the northern dialect, like THE PEARL and SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, you’ll find the language closer to Burns than to Chaucer.
    The third language is English as spoken by native Gaelic speakers who learned it as a second language, which is identical with good RP English except for the lovely lilt.

    Reply
  208. The problem with Scottish speech is that there are three kinds. One is Scottish Gaelic, very rare now. Another is “broad Scots,” aka “the Doric,” the Scots language itself, as used by Burns, which is a cousin of English. If you read Middle English poems written in the northern dialect, like THE PEARL and SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, you’ll find the language closer to Burns than to Chaucer.
    The third language is English as spoken by native Gaelic speakers who learned it as a second language, which is identical with good RP English except for the lovely lilt.

    Reply
  209. The problem with Scottish speech is that there are three kinds. One is Scottish Gaelic, very rare now. Another is “broad Scots,” aka “the Doric,” the Scots language itself, as used by Burns, which is a cousin of English. If you read Middle English poems written in the northern dialect, like THE PEARL and SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, you’ll find the language closer to Burns than to Chaucer.
    The third language is English as spoken by native Gaelic speakers who learned it as a second language, which is identical with good RP English except for the lovely lilt.

    Reply
  210. The problem with Scottish speech is that there are three kinds. One is Scottish Gaelic, very rare now. Another is “broad Scots,” aka “the Doric,” the Scots language itself, as used by Burns, which is a cousin of English. If you read Middle English poems written in the northern dialect, like THE PEARL and SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, you’ll find the language closer to Burns than to Chaucer.
    The third language is English as spoken by native Gaelic speakers who learned it as a second language, which is identical with good RP English except for the lovely lilt.

    Reply
  211. There are a huge number of language/fact traps for the well-meaning author, from skunks (not in England!) to mere articles. Many years ago I remember reading a thriller set in New Zealand. The author had somehow missed the fact the the North Island and the South Island always have “the” before them (unless used as adjectives). No New Zealander would ever say eg. “I’m going to North Island” – it would always be “to the North Island”. It’s such a small word, but its absence was very noticeable.

    Reply
  212. There are a huge number of language/fact traps for the well-meaning author, from skunks (not in England!) to mere articles. Many years ago I remember reading a thriller set in New Zealand. The author had somehow missed the fact the the North Island and the South Island always have “the” before them (unless used as adjectives). No New Zealander would ever say eg. “I’m going to North Island” – it would always be “to the North Island”. It’s such a small word, but its absence was very noticeable.

    Reply
  213. There are a huge number of language/fact traps for the well-meaning author, from skunks (not in England!) to mere articles. Many years ago I remember reading a thriller set in New Zealand. The author had somehow missed the fact the the North Island and the South Island always have “the” before them (unless used as adjectives). No New Zealander would ever say eg. “I’m going to North Island” – it would always be “to the North Island”. It’s such a small word, but its absence was very noticeable.

    Reply
  214. There are a huge number of language/fact traps for the well-meaning author, from skunks (not in England!) to mere articles. Many years ago I remember reading a thriller set in New Zealand. The author had somehow missed the fact the the North Island and the South Island always have “the” before them (unless used as adjectives). No New Zealander would ever say eg. “I’m going to North Island” – it would always be “to the North Island”. It’s such a small word, but its absence was very noticeable.

    Reply
  215. There are a huge number of language/fact traps for the well-meaning author, from skunks (not in England!) to mere articles. Many years ago I remember reading a thriller set in New Zealand. The author had somehow missed the fact the the North Island and the South Island always have “the” before them (unless used as adjectives). No New Zealander would ever say eg. “I’m going to North Island” – it would always be “to the North Island”. It’s such a small word, but its absence was very noticeable.

    Reply
  216. Oh, I hate ‘mayhap’! There is one otherwise quite readable regency author who uses it continually, both in dialog and narrative. I cringe through her books, waiting for the next shoe to drop. In one book I got up to 43 mayhaps before I stopped counting — and was less than a third of the way through the book at that point.
    It’s an odd word for the regency anyway — to me it sounds very Robin Hood-y — but even it if hadn’t been, it would have been way overused.
    Another writer continually substitutes “maiden” for girl or young woman, though she confines it mostly to narrative. It’s still annoying.
    Anything that’s annoying drags me out of the book, and that is detrimental to my enjoyment of it. In fact, it can turn it into a wallbanger when I can’t take it any more.

    Reply
  217. Oh, I hate ‘mayhap’! There is one otherwise quite readable regency author who uses it continually, both in dialog and narrative. I cringe through her books, waiting for the next shoe to drop. In one book I got up to 43 mayhaps before I stopped counting — and was less than a third of the way through the book at that point.
    It’s an odd word for the regency anyway — to me it sounds very Robin Hood-y — but even it if hadn’t been, it would have been way overused.
    Another writer continually substitutes “maiden” for girl or young woman, though she confines it mostly to narrative. It’s still annoying.
    Anything that’s annoying drags me out of the book, and that is detrimental to my enjoyment of it. In fact, it can turn it into a wallbanger when I can’t take it any more.

    Reply
  218. Oh, I hate ‘mayhap’! There is one otherwise quite readable regency author who uses it continually, both in dialog and narrative. I cringe through her books, waiting for the next shoe to drop. In one book I got up to 43 mayhaps before I stopped counting — and was less than a third of the way through the book at that point.
    It’s an odd word for the regency anyway — to me it sounds very Robin Hood-y — but even it if hadn’t been, it would have been way overused.
    Another writer continually substitutes “maiden” for girl or young woman, though she confines it mostly to narrative. It’s still annoying.
    Anything that’s annoying drags me out of the book, and that is detrimental to my enjoyment of it. In fact, it can turn it into a wallbanger when I can’t take it any more.

    Reply
  219. Oh, I hate ‘mayhap’! There is one otherwise quite readable regency author who uses it continually, both in dialog and narrative. I cringe through her books, waiting for the next shoe to drop. In one book I got up to 43 mayhaps before I stopped counting — and was less than a third of the way through the book at that point.
    It’s an odd word for the regency anyway — to me it sounds very Robin Hood-y — but even it if hadn’t been, it would have been way overused.
    Another writer continually substitutes “maiden” for girl or young woman, though she confines it mostly to narrative. It’s still annoying.
    Anything that’s annoying drags me out of the book, and that is detrimental to my enjoyment of it. In fact, it can turn it into a wallbanger when I can’t take it any more.

    Reply
  220. Oh, I hate ‘mayhap’! There is one otherwise quite readable regency author who uses it continually, both in dialog and narrative. I cringe through her books, waiting for the next shoe to drop. In one book I got up to 43 mayhaps before I stopped counting — and was less than a third of the way through the book at that point.
    It’s an odd word for the regency anyway — to me it sounds very Robin Hood-y — but even it if hadn’t been, it would have been way overused.
    Another writer continually substitutes “maiden” for girl or young woman, though she confines it mostly to narrative. It’s still annoying.
    Anything that’s annoying drags me out of the book, and that is detrimental to my enjoyment of it. In fact, it can turn it into a wallbanger when I can’t take it any more.

    Reply

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