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Shanty or Chantey?

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Jack Blandiver 22 Nov 09 - 06:10 AM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 06:16 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 06:19 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 09 - 06:22 AM
Young Buchan 22 Nov 09 - 06:25 AM
Leadfingers 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM
BobKnight 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 AM
beeliner 22 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM
Young Buchan 22 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM
Tug the Cox 22 Nov 09 - 07:51 AM
My guru always said 22 Nov 09 - 08:01 AM
Mr Happy 22 Nov 09 - 08:13 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Nov 09 - 12:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 01:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 01:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 01:42 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 01:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 01:53 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM
KathyW 22 Nov 09 - 02:04 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 09 - 02:08 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 03:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 03:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM
The Sandman 22 Nov 09 - 04:42 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 04:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 04:46 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM
EBarnacle 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 09 - 05:25 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 06:07 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM
Tattie Bogle 22 Nov 09 - 07:03 PM
Smokey. 22 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM
Smokey. 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM
Smokey. 22 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Nov 09 - 07:49 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 08:10 PM
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Subject: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:10 AM

All my life it's been Shanty; now it's Chantey. So what gives? Is this real or just more fake-lore revivalist pedantry?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:16 AM

It's always been CHANTY to me and I'm old.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:19 AM

Dictionaries tend to give both. Presumably the ch spelling alludes to the [speculative] origin in French chantez, while the sh one is a more faithful rendering of seamen's pronunciation ? with perhaps some anxiety, among 'chantey'-users, to avoid confusion with songs sung in rude shacks ['shanties']. There isn't much ambiguity, whichever is used; so why not just regard it, as the dictionaries do, as optional; and find some more worthwhile object of worry to eat one's ♥ out over!?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:22 AM

fake-lore revivalist pedantry

Yes. Though spelling it with a C may be a trifle more authentic (Fr chanter = to sing.

Why not just call them "sea songs"?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:25 AM

... jaws harp ... welsh rarebit...

It can't be pedantry, otherwise I would be using it myself. Leaving aside the late 19th century, which presumably wasn't part of 'all your life', it now seems to be essentially an American aberration no doubt aimed at taking our attention away from their inabilitity to spell aluminium and colour.

Stan Hugill spelt it Shanty, and since he made them all up ....


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM

I am with Young Buchan on this - It seems to be another creeping Americanisation !


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM

Why not just call them "sea songs"? >

Why, becoz not all seasongs are shanties/chanteys/whatevers, Diane; & the distinction from forebitters/focsle-/watchbelow-songs must surely be preserved. One comes across enough non-folkies who will call every song with any nautical connection a 'sea-shanty': even most educated people like Philip Howard who used to drive me crazy doing it when I reviewed folk-books for The Times when he was Literary Editor, & he just wouldn't be told ? & that is something worth worrying about, I should say.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM

Sea songs would be ok to a point, but not all sea songs are chanties. Some are "fore bitters" or foc'sle songs (Forecastle) others are homeward bound songs.

"A rose, by any other name"


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM

Thanks, YB - that's all I need to know.

Although...

Some are "fore bitters" or foc'sle songs (Forecastle) others are homeward bound songs.

Who came up with these terms anyway? Sailors or folk-revivalists?

BTW - Jaw's Harp, it would seem, is a corruption of Jew's Harp by some centuries...


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: BobKnight
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 AM

This might make your mind up - Chanty is a toilet receptacle which in days of old went under the bed.

However, my "bible" A.K.A. Longman's "Guide To English Usage" gives the following explanation.

"A shanty is a crude hut. The similiar word for a sailor's work song is SHANTY, or SHANTEY in British English, but CHANTY, or CHANTEY in American English."

So, ye ken noo!!


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: beeliner
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM

I was walking through the run-down section of the city yesterday and heard a catchy song of the sea emanating from one of the hovels there.

It was only a chanty in old shanty town.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM

"Who came up with these terms anyway? Sailors or folk-revivalists?"

Whall, who was a sailor, in Ships Seasongs and Shanties said 'As to the spelling of 'shanty', I see no reason why, because shore people have fancied a derivation of the word and written it 'chanty', I should follow. It was not so pronounced at sea, and to spell it so is misleading'.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:51 AM

Ch is pronounced as sh in french derived words, as in Charlotte. There was a lot of mixing of language and culture at sea.The terms are equally old, and can both be found in 19th century texts


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: My guru always said
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:01 AM

And some sea songs are ballads....


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:13 AM

Preferisco Chianti!!


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 12:28 PM

The thing we are talking about is a type of work-song, or work-CHANT if you like, that developed amongst African-American laborers and which, by the 1830s, had been adopted by sailors of various nations. Before then, there had been a patchy tradition of work-songs aboard ship. However, although nowadays we conveniently label all maritime work-songs as chantey/shanty/shanty (especially to distinguish them from maritime NON-work-songs), one could argue that before this period there was no "chantey" per se. The African-American based genre has a distinct-enough form and character that one can see the "chantey" (in whatever erstwhile spelling/pronunciation) as something fairly new ? a new addition to the previous (though as I said, seemingly patchy) practice of shipboard work-songs. Indeed, a "chantey," strictly speaking, was not restricted to work aboard ship. As such it was a label for a particular mode of coordinating work through chanting that was developed in African-American trades and later found useful by those of other ethnicities engaged in similar work.

The word seems to originate in America then, amongst stevedores. (Note that "chant" or "chaunt" had been in use to describe songs with the particular connotations of being sung by African-Americans.) The earliest citation known to date is the description of the cotton-stowing stevedores of Mobile Bay of the 1840s, where their practice is referred to as "chanting" and their lead man is called "chanty-man" (Nordhoff 1855). P.H. Gosse (1859) observed the same practice in 1838, but gave it no name. In 1867, Clarke (SEVEN YEARS A SAILOR'S LIFE) used "chanty" for both stevedore-type and shipboard work.

The practice of using this new-ish form was completely established by then, though to what extent the term "chanty" was used is debatable. I also want to re-iterate that whatever the earlier references to maritime work-songs, they may not have been what was originally known as "chanty". The really short hauls ("yo heave HO!") were probably existing in some form among "all" maritime nations long back. And the merely pace-setting, spirit-keeping capstan songs that could easily come from shore ditties and fiddler's airs are a distinct form from the stuff that was first called chanty. That stuff was especially suited to the long halyard pulls and windlass heaves (though also adapted to capstan, as nearly any song could be). It seems that while THIS kind of work-song became common aboard ship, worksongs became a way of life there, and subsequently the various forms, ancient and more recent, from the African-American paradigm and the European ballad-type paradigm, were all lumped?and eventually subsumed under the term "chanty."

"Ch" is by far the common spelling of the 19th century. Before one starts talking about "fakelore" and "American aberrations" one had better check all the sources. I am looking at a chronological bibliography of texts about or mentioning chanties and rarely does "shanty" appear. The "sh" form does not appear in a big way until Whall's 1910 book. However, in the English vs. American debate, one would be wise to note that Cecil Sharp (ever heard of him?) called his 1914 book ENGLISH FOLK-CHANTEYS.

The turning point seems to have come with Englishman R.R. Terry who, in an address to the Royal Music Association on 18 May, 1915, advocated for the spelling of "shanty." He cites two reasons, the main being that it should be spelled "as it sounds." That is a fairly absurd notion if one considers the changes that would need to be made to English spelling all around is one were to apply that idea uniformly. Nor has there been a problem with pronouncing the sound in chandelier and chamois and other words with French orthography. And not to mention that Noah Webster's very same initiative to "spell as it sounds" gives us the divide between colour and color ? "American aberrations." Seems Terry was creating an "English aberration." His other, weak reason for the "sh" spelling was his idea that "shanty" was called so because of the West Indian practice of shifting shanty homes with work-songs. The strength of that argument speaks for itself! In the discussion following his address, the chair of the panel states his disagreement.

Now, how did "SH" begin to stick? My hunch would be that Terry's works had become the popular source for the first Revival ? or so Hugill has claimed that the drawing room chantey-singers of the 20s-30s were mostly influenced by Terry.

"CH" still persisted as the most common spelling in publications into the 1920s, when Terry's books were published. However, Colcord adopted the "SH" in here 1924 ROLL AND GO. From reading her text, it is clear that she was in correspondence with Terry and used his works as a basis of comparison (at that point only the first had been published).

The confusion happens after then. Take these 2 article titles for example:

1928        Broadwood, Lucy E. and A.H. Fox-Strangways. "Early Chanty-Singing and Ship-Music." Journal of the Folk-Song Society 8(32)

1928        Thomas, J.E., Lucy E. Broadwood, Frank Howes, and Frank Kidson. "Sea Shanties." Journal of the Folk-Song Society 8(32)

Same journal issue; 2 different spellings.

While "CH" persisted from then, now in especially American publications, there is no consistency. Doerflinger (1951), based in New York, used "SH", although I wonder how much that had to do with creating his clever title SHANTYMEN AND SHANTYBOYS (the latter being a term for lumberjacks, who lived in shanty huts!).

Hugill's work certainly spread the "SH", but it was already well established by then in the post-Revival era.

For further reference, see
Lyman, John. 1955. "Chantey and Limey." American Speech 30(3): 172-175.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM

Chant is old as an English word, used by Chaucer (1386, Miller's Tale, 'chanteth').

Nordhoff (1856) was the first to use the ch-form for a sailor's song, as "chantey-man" for the leader of the work songs.

'Shanty' applied to a sailor's song first appeared in Chamber's Journal (Dec. 1869). "Said to be a corruption of the French 'chantez' ...."
(Above notes from Oxford English Dictionary)

This has all been gone over in previous threads.

Shanty should be reserved for the original Canadian and U. S. meanings, "an establishment ... organized in the forests in winter for the felling of trees; later something built of lumber, usu. temporary. Corruption of French 'chantier'. Canadian Dictionaries.
In U. S., first mentioned in print in 1820, a hovel called a shanty, "somewhat in the form of a cowhouse."
Oxford English Dictionary.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:13 PM

Q ? Why 'SHOULD' the word "shanty" 'be reserved' for the single meaning you postulate. English is full of both homophones and homonyms, sometimes etymologically connected, sometimes not. Why shouldn't the 6 letters S H A N T Y, taken in combination, be subject to more than one definition, any less than, e.g., the 4 letters W E R E [or do you imagine a 'werewolf' to be an erstwhile wolf verbalised in the wrong number?]; or the 4 letters R O S E, or - or - or - [continued page 94], if that's the way the spirit of the language wishes?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM

MtheGM- because, as an old curmudgeon, I insist on my preferences and everyone else is wrong. Harrumpff!


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:39 PM

Oh, yes sir, sorry sir, forelock tug sir ? slurpslurpslurp


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:42 PM

Careful with the slurp- I just emptied the slop jar.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:47 PM

Wasn't a slurp - it was a slurpslurpslurp - you slopslopslopjarjarjar


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:53 PM

Bon appétit!


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM

Cecil Sharp (ever heard of him?)

Yeah - he's the founding father of the fake revival ain't he?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: KathyW
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:04 PM

The best argument-- now-- for using "chantey" instead of "shanty" that I've heard is that if you are doing a word search with Google or something like that, "chantey" only gives hits relating to the type of song, but "shanty" also gives hits relating to the type of structure. As such, "chantey" is more precise.

To add to Gibb's remarks regarding the discussion of how to spell the word in Joanna Colcord's (1934) book "Songs of the American Sailormen," I think Colcord's reasoning is interesting. She writes that she prefers "chantey" because "it looks better on the page, cannot be confused with other meanings of the word, and the in the subtle sense of word-feeling seams to suggest more closely than 'shanty' the spirit of a sea-song." But she nevertheless chooses to spell the word "shanty" in her book because she is afraid that if the word is spelled "chantey" people will mis-pronounce it with a hard "ch" and this horrified her.

Personally, I've developed a liking for the "chantey" spelling, but in some contexts people don't know what I'm talking about if I spell it that way.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:08 PM

Gibb pretty much sums up what we know. One wonders idly whether Nordhoff originally wrote "chanty" for "chant," which was then "corrected" by a copy editor.

No matter; "chanty-man" is "chanty-man."

Another formerly common spelling is "chantie."

My own preferred etymology is from "chant," via "chantie" (the Scots especially love diminutives) rather than from anything French, particularly since the French for "song" is "chanson." And why would English-speaking sailors pick up a French command like "Chantez!" (An English "Sing now, ye lubbers!" or something similar would do just fine!)

In tht case, the switch from a "hard" to a "soft" "ch," while not predictable, would not be difficult either.

However, there's no decisive evidence one way or the other. It's all conjecture.

Most landlubbers insist on the hard "ch," BTW. Proving their landlubberhood.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM

Cicely Fox Smith (UK) in her early poetry books (1914) used the term "chanties" and even "chantys" but then switched over to "shanties" (1927) for her book of traditional nautical work songs.

Joanna Colcord (US) in her book of sea songs (1924) also used the term "shanty" for the nautical work songs.

Use either spelling but have some sense of why you have decided to do that.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM

I prefer the hard CH and I'm no landlubber! I've wrung more salt water out of my skivvies than most "Shanty" singers ever sailed over.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 03:06 PM

Kendall-

That does raise the point of whether anyone can train an old sea-dog to spell!

Sheerily,
Sharley Noble


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM

As posted above, chant has been a common English word lo! these many years; Chaucer with chanteth in 1386.

Now all you saltwater wannabes, chanteth a weigh heigh...


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 03:25 PM

Q-

Weigh heigh diddle dum day!

Heigh knotty knotty!


I like it!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM

Hi David Harker, er, I mean Suibhne :)

Cecil Sharp (ever heard of him?)

Yeah - he's the founding father of the fake revival ain't he?


Sure, that's one view. But I doubt C. Sharp's book is what you were referring to when you said that all your life it had been "shanty" and "now" it's "chantey." My point is that C. Sharp, indeed, was a figurehead of English "folk" music and was very influential all round. So..his use of "chantey" messes up any claim that English English spelling has any historically-acquired authority to seize upon "shanty" as correct. It illustrates that there was no divide between British and American usage until later.
If anything, Terry's actions were of a "fake-lorist" in striving to change something based on his personal theory and desire.

Hi KathyW
But [Colcord] nevertheless chooses to spell the word "shanty" in her book because she is afraid that if the word is spelled "chantey" people will mis-pronounce it with a hard "ch" and this horrified her.
Interesting! Well, her reasoning is not far off from Terry's.

Hi Lighter,
...particularly since the French for "song" is "chanson."
I don't dare speculate too much about etymology, but just to this point: It may not be so relevant to think of these as "songs" in any case. Were they really conceived of as "songs" by their originators? Point to ponder: if they were "songs," why didn't they just call 'em that? Clearly there was something about them, more at the level of "chant" that distinguished them, and IMHO it was not just their context of being used during work -- it had more to do with character and form (for example, short couplets in non-narrative structure). Just a thought, though.

Perhaps someone could elaborate on why "chaunt" -- AROUND THAT TIME (Q!)--was used to designate some kinds of Black singing. Doerflinger had cited examples of "chaunt" in such 1840s songs as "An Original Negro Chaunt", "A Southern Negro Chaunt" and "sing de nigger's chaunt."


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM

Thanks, Kendall. Your sea-dog pronunciation supports a derivation from "chant." It seems to undermine the very common claim that "real" sailors only say "shanty."

Of course, it would be even better evidence if you were about 175 years old, but one takes what one can get.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:42 PM

I always thought it was Shanty, but I dont really mind either way.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:45 PM

It begs the question, what the hell difference does it make? Does anyone really give a damn?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:46 PM

You say chanty and I say chaunty,
Chanty, chaunty, tomato, tomahto-
Lets call the whole thing off.

Apologies to George and Ira Gershwin


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM

Charlie, what's wrong with my spelling?


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM

Are they songs? Of course they are--in the same sense that ballads are songs. A significant percentage of of the chanteys have a story line, especially when brought to a concordant condition. What Mark Lovewell and I did in "Songs of South Street--Street of Ships" was exactly that. We took all of the versions of a chantey we could find and developed what we considered a unifying story from them.

This is a prefectly valid approach because, if you examine other collections, such as Child's works, it is obvious that many of the "Popular Ballads" derive from a common source and diverged due to differences in the singer's memory, also known as the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 05:25 PM

As has been pointed out, it's just a case of Americans spelling thing differently from other people.

No problem, except that the ch spelling tends to encourage people to mispronounce the word.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:07 PM

C. Fox Smith has a whole diatribe as she describes some "revivalists" attempting to sing shanties from the stage: " Quoth one of these worthies to another 'Let's have a tchahntey!' and amid encouraging cries of 'A tchahntey -- yes, a tchahntey!'"

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM

Hi EBarnacle,

There is no question as to the validity of your approach to performing chanteys. I was suggesting something different, however. I'm speaking with respect to the form of what "chanty" seems to have first referred to.

I'm also speaking from a position of experience with instances where what one person may perceive as a "song" is not so by the people who perform it. For example, there are plenty of verses sung by Punjabis that, nonetheless, do not fall under the category of song. To cite a more familiar example, Quranic chant or the Islamic call to prayer is not a song, though listeners from other cultural backgrounds sometimes cant help feeling like it "sounds like" one. Is what a rapper does a "song"? I say no, but for lack of other terms, people might label "rap songs." Too bad, then you have people who don't get the aesthetic of rap who then say it is not "music", probably because it is not a "song" in their sense...though the rapper never claimed it was!

Songs were adapted for use as chanteys, so now we have that significant percentage of chanteys that are...songs. But let's think back, and distinguish the style of different chanteys. There ARE the ballad types. Those are the type I am suggesting were not the original item described as "chanty."

If you take "Blow the Man Down" as an example of a hybrid: As "Knock a Man Down," quite possibly an adapted cotton hoosier's "chant," it had its one-off verses, "Were you ever in Town X", a chorus that didnt mean much of anything (didnt relate to verses), and a repetitive, call and response structure. The basic couplet form of the verses, however, allowed ballad themes like "Ratcliffe Highway," "The Milkmaid" "The Fishes" etc. to be spliced onto it.

A subject for a different discussion, but to my mind it is quite clear that the needs and desires of singing chanteys as "folk songs" ...to audiences, ....for entertainment, ....by a different class of people than historically sang them...has weighted or biased our impression of chanteys towards their interpretation as ballad-like "songs" in the Anglo-European sense.

But that's water under the bridge, as they had already begun to undergo that form during their historical period. My question, however, seeks to get at how people would have first understood those early chanteys, with respect to how they classified other sung-expressions, by different groups of people, in their world at the time. Only then can we understand why "chantey" might derive from "chant" (as Lighter suggests, and I'm inclined to agree with).

kendall,
You may not give a damn, but as usual, those who do, discuss. I know your statement may be in the spirit of "don't worry about it; and let's all get along," but I don't think anyone is worried, nor are they not getting along -- it is just a question of interest.

I think investigating the development of the word tells LOADS. It has already told me something about the dynamics of the folk revivals, and how the manipulation of terms has had its effect on perceptions of the national affiliations of chantey singing. If mis-information means that some people are being perceived by others as "pedantists" or less "authentic" in some way, or if some people from one nation feel they have more God given rights to something than people of another...if you've ever met someone, from any nation, who thinks chanteys are somehow inherently "British", or that they belong with "Irish music"...then having some correct info out there is important. Most importantly, the discussion has the potential to tell us about the nature of the chantey form and where it came from, which helps to interpret it in the present. Knowledge gives you options, while "don't think about it, just do it" means you're almost certain to be doing what someone else has set for you.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM

I don't think I've ever met anyone who thought shanties were particularly British let alone Irish. No doubt they exist.

I can't see how the spelling gives much of a clue where the word came from - sailormen weren't necessarily too interested in spelling.

As it happens, though it seems more likely that the name comes from the French chanter, or just from English chant, one of the origins that has been suggested is that it comes from the songs used when hauling huts, or shanties in the West Indies.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:03 PM

Hi BobKnight
"Chanty is a toilet receptacle which in days of old went under the bed."
I thought that was a gazunder: but the latter is now a term used in the big bad financial world (so my son-in-law tells me) for trying to get someone to drop their price!
So language evolves, n'est-ce pas? Eh bien, chantez, vous marins!
Slop, slop!


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM

It's always been 'shanty' to me. Chantey or chanty is the Scottish word for a guzzunda.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 PM

In the U. S., a thunder mug.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM

Also conceivable, McGrath. In that case, "shanty" was presumably short for "shanty song."

But "shanty song" is pretty uncommon in print, and so far as I know first appears decades after "chanty" and "shanty."

So it's inconclusive either way.

If we had "shanty song" in, say, 1800, and "(sea) shanty" in 1850, it would be different. But we don't.

Interestingly enough, "shantyman" also meant a lumberjack - because he occupied a woods shanty.

Quite a tangle.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM

Thunder jug over here, Q. Perhaps it's due to anatomical differences. :-)


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM

Also known as the 'Edgar Allen".


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:49 PM

Shanty, meaning a rude hut, in print in New Zealand in 1860s. OED.


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Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:10 PM

Shanty. a small hut on or near a beach. This is what Admiral W.H. Smyth KSF,DCL,&c. of HM Navy says. Thats good enough for me.


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