The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31121   Message #405795
Posted By: Mark Cohen
25-Feb-01 - 03:23 AM
Thread Name: Help: Greensleeves the real composer?
Subject: RE: Help: Greensleeves the real composer?
OK, folks, my turn to play pedant. I've loved this thread, by the way, and was pleased to see somebody resurrected this Greensleeves thread from 1997, which has more of Bruce's amazing erudition.

First, the subject on which I'm not an expert. My recollection was that the use of the long vs. the short "s" depended on the position of the letter within the word, not on its pronunciation: the form we commonly use today was a "final" letter, as in certain Hebrew (and, I think, Arabic) letters. Hence, a word ending in "ss" would be written with a long and a short "s", in that order. Somebody will probably correct me if I'm wrong.

Regarding Anne Boleyn's purported "third boob", I can offer a more precise explanation of the anatomy, if not the history. It's not just that "moles or blemishes were sometimes considered to be extra teats." It is fairly common for a person, male or female, to be born with one or more "supernumerary nipples" (more than one is less common). This can be found below the nipple on the chest or abdomen, along what corresponds to the "milk line" in other mammals such as dogs and cats. It ranges in appearance from a small flat pigmented spot, to what looks like a poorly-formed nipple, to, rarely, a well-formed but small nipple with underlying breast tissue that may enlarge at puberty. My suspicion is that the lady in question had something along that, er, line.

Oh, and, Don, it's Jane Austen. I know you knew that and it was just a typo, but I wanted to be really pedantic.