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Nancy me no nancies

GUEST,leeneia 01 Dec 09 - 09:51 AM
manitas_at_work 01 Dec 09 - 10:02 AM
Nancy King 01 Dec 09 - 10:07 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM
Susan of DT 01 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Dec 09 - 10:11 AM
manitas_at_work 01 Dec 09 - 10:12 AM
Ruth Archer 01 Dec 09 - 10:14 AM
Susan of DT 01 Dec 09 - 10:14 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Dec 09 - 10:17 AM
Susan of DT 01 Dec 09 - 10:17 AM
Susan of DT 01 Dec 09 - 10:24 AM
Nancy King 01 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM
MartinRyan 01 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM
Ruth Archer 01 Dec 09 - 10:26 AM
Susan of DT 01 Dec 09 - 10:31 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Dec 09 - 10:31 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 01 Dec 09 - 11:04 AM
dick greenhaus 01 Dec 09 - 11:04 AM
Michael 01 Dec 09 - 11:31 AM
Michael 01 Dec 09 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Dec 09 - 06:26 PM
Ruth Archer 01 Dec 09 - 06:34 PM
Little Robyn 01 Dec 09 - 07:42 PM
Gurney 01 Dec 09 - 09:56 PM
Michael 02 Dec 09 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Dec 09 - 01:03 PM
Ruth Archer 02 Dec 09 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Dec 09 - 02:57 PM
Ruth Archer 02 Dec 09 - 03:53 PM
open mike 02 Dec 09 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,Bardan 02 Dec 09 - 04:23 PM
Joe_F 02 Dec 09 - 06:09 PM
Susan of DT 02 Dec 09 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Dec 09 - 11:39 AM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Dec 09 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Dec 09 - 11:59 AM
manitas_at_work 03 Dec 09 - 12:08 PM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Dec 09 - 12:14 PM
manitas_at_work 03 Dec 09 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Dec 09 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 03 Dec 09 - 01:21 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Dec 09 - 01:25 PM
Susan of DT 03 Dec 09 - 01:29 PM
Rowan 03 Dec 09 - 06:58 PM
Edthefolkie 04 Dec 09 - 05:16 PM
semi-submersible 04 Dec 09 - 06:40 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Dec 09 - 09:20 PM
Rowan 07 Dec 09 - 04:23 PM
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Subject: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 09:51 AM

Is it coincidence or something impish in the air that gives us four threads about songs with 'Nancy' in them at the same time?

The songs are:

And canst thou leave thy Nancy?
Lovely Nancy
The Wreck of the Nancy Lee
Queen of the Heather.

I said long ago, in a thread about 'Pleasant and Delightful' that it is an affectation of the upper class that country girls, especially saucy ones, are named Nancy. I still hold that opinion.

In 'The Queen of the Heather,' we find versions in old Scots dialect, then Joe Offer submits a version in standard English where the shepherdess has been converted to a Nancy. I feel that once the heroine has been converted to a Nancy, that song is over as a folk song.

Any further views?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:02 AM

It's not a folk song *unless* the heroine is a Nancy. Likewise the hero must always be William or a diminutive thereof.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Nancy King
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:07 AM

Well, after all, it IS a very nice name...


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM

'Nancy' is of course just a familiar form of Ann, just as Molly/Polly [the commonest alternatives] are of Mary: probably the two commonest female names at the time.   Roy Palmer writes somewhere in one of his collections [this is from memory], to the effect: "Nancy and Polly, William and Jack — these are rather representative types - a sort of archetype - rather than to be regarded as actual people".

I would generally get a laugh from not-all-that-folkie audiences with some such intro-formula as, "It was a rule that any girl that wanted a sailor to fancy her had to be called Nancy; at least, I used to think so, till my wife came up with an alternative theory — that there was just this one girl, who travelled all round the country, from seaport to seaport, Yarmouth to Weymouth to Liverpool to London... Anyhow, here's the song."


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:09 AM

There are a mere 107 songs with Nancy in the DT.
There are 308 William's, 222 Willie's and 31 Willy's


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:11 AM

Was it the same girl do you think?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:12 AM

How many Bills and Billys?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:14 AM

Leenie: do you have any evidence for this assertion at all? It doesn't seem to be borne out by anything I know about the songs in question, nor anything I've ever heard or read, but maybe you've got some sources I don't.

Is there anything to prove, for example, that the English version(s) of Queen Amang the Heather post-date the Scots? Something being sung in Scots dialect does not necessarily confer greater age.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:14 AM

While I was checking name frequencies for Manitas, two more people posted, so more frequencies:

Ann: 96, Anne: 66, Annie: 61
Polly: 67, Molly: 72


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:17 AM

The Annes, Anns, Annies, could all have been cognate with the Nancys — see my post above. Funny tho that with all those Pollys & Mollys, there seem to be no significant number of actual Marys.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:17 AM

Grrr

Bill: 304 (will include verb bill)
Billy: 146 (will include goats)
Billie: 7


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:24 AM

Mary: 398
Marie: 46
Maria: 23
Mairi: 3

It is nice to have the full functional askSam database program that I can ask to tally whatever I want.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Nancy King
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM

Seems to me there are a lot of Sallys too.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: MartinRyan
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:25 AM

"Nancy me no Nancies" is a great line...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:26 AM

There you go - four times as many Marys as Nancys.

I would guess most of the Marias are variations on Maria Marten, aren't they?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:31 AM

Sally: 125


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:31 AM

Great line indeed:—

DUKE OF YORK
Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee,
Whose duty is deceiveable and false.
HENRY BOLINGBROKE
My gracious uncle--
DUKE OF YORK
Tut, tut!
Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle:
I am no traitor's uncle; and that word 'grace.'
In an ungracious mouth is but profane.
   Richard II, Act II, sc 3

Like most great lines, it has a Shakesperean precedent!


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 11:04 AM

Many years ago I fell in love with a girl named Nancy! I love her still!


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 11:04 AM

Of course, in seaport towns, there are frequently "Nancy boys" on the prowl for sailors.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Michael
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 11:31 AM

Or vice versa, Dick.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Michael
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 11:39 AM

But me no buts. Yes, well, mmm, what ever you say..

Mike


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 06:26 PM

Thanks for all the posts here. This could evolve into one of the truly great threads, as long as people don't start asking for things like evidence or sources.

I've got to go, but I remembered another, from Gilbert and Sullivan.

To lay aloft in a howling breeze
may tickle a landsman's taste
but the happiest hour that a sailor sees
is when he's down at an inland town
with his Nancy on his knee YO HO!
and his arm around her waist.

Gilbert and Sullivan - it doesn't get more precious than that.

And yes, I knew about the Shakespeare connection. I knew it would appeal to the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 06:34 PM

"Thanks for all the posts here. This could evolve into one of the truly great threads, as long as people don't start asking for things like evidence or sources."

I can't decide if this is meant facetiously or not, but it's hilarious!


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Little Robyn
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 07:42 PM

Michael said But me no buts.
That could relate to the Nancy boys, I guess.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 09:56 PM

Regarding MtheGM's wife's theory about there only being one 'travelling' Nancy; I hold that there was only one 'Handsome Sailor' who also travelled, getting engaged to credulous chicks and breaking a token with them.
Then he sold his half to a scarred-up messmate. Is there a song where she recognises him before he presents the token?

Well, why do YOU think they invented photographs?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Michael
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 08:42 AM

Or not as the case may be, well spotted Little Robyn.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 01:03 PM

"Is there a song where she recognises him before he presents the token?"

Excellent question, Gurney. I can't think of one. It's amazing the way the lassies of yore could not recognize their own true loves. You may say that they got sunburned, grew beards, and got bald, but what about the voice, the accent, the gait? If we love someone, we cherish all these things.

One day when I was six years old, I was amazed to learn that my mother could recognize my father by his walk when he was four blocks away.
============
"I can't decide if this is meant facetiously or not, but it's hilarious!"

Ruth, it's in deadly earnest, and we don't want any pipesmokers either, especially if they are being filmed in a book-lined study. With brown leather armchairs.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 02:43 PM

Right, so you propose a theory that once a folk song has a Nancy in it, it's no longer a folk song; but you want to debate the theory without resorting to any references or sources to determine whether or not it is likely to be true...

Maybe I'm being a bit obtuse, but what exactly is the point?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 02:57 PM

The point is to have a pleasant time talking with nice people. And maybe I'll collect a good song in the process.

I bagged a good tune (The Green Mossy Banks of the Lee) just today.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 03:53 PM

Fair enough. Have fun.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: open mike
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 03:58 PM

Yes, but how about Margarets, Maggies, Peggies, Megs, Margo, a.k.a. Mo.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 04:23 PM

is it me or did this famous nancy emerge exclusively in the month of may?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Joe_F
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 06:09 PM

There's a nancy boy named West,
And he thinks he's got a breast,
But his balls are on his chest,
In Mobile


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 08:55 PM

Margaret: 77
Maggie: 63
Peggie: 3
Meg: 14
Margo: 3
Marge: 3
Marjorie: 11


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 11:39 AM

Very telling points!

Yes, Barden, I believe you're right about Nancies appearing in the month of May. Or if not in May itself, only when the weather's nice and aristocrats can go for walks without getting their spats muddy. For example, 'Pleasant and delightful' occurs on a midsummer's morn. Thus:


   A sailor and his true love were a'walking one day
   Said the sailor to his truelove I am bound far away
   I am bound for the East Indies where the load cannons roar
   I must go and leave my Nancy, she's the girl that I adore

   And the larks they sang melodious (3x) at the dawning of the day

This song illustrates my tenet that if a song has a Nancy in it, it's not a real folk song. Can you imagine a tiller of the soil or a toiler at the loom saying "And the larks they sang melodious"?

Of course not.
===========
Susan and Open Mike, thank you for the percipient observations on Margaret. Did you know that in the middle ages, Margaret was the most common female name among English speakers?

It is surprising and interesting that the name continues to be popular in song well past the middle ages.

The most popular male name was John. Did you know that Jenkin, a common medieval name, is a nickname for John? That's another little surprise.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 11:52 AM

Then name "Margaret" equals "Pearl", strangely enough.

So what's the frequency of "Pearl", Susan?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 11:59 AM

An excellent point, Dave.

Have we any Welsh speakers? If so, do you suppose that Peg came from Margaret as a form of mutation?

While we're at it, does anybody have an idea how Polly came from Mary?

We are all breathlessly waiting to hear.

Susan, thanks for your contributions as statistician. We don't need no stinkin sources, we have Susan's statistics.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 12:08 PM

Polly may have comer from an intermediate such as Molly. Aren't M and P very similar in vocalisation? Is the word I'm fishing for 'plosive'?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 12:14 PM

P is a plosive, but M sure isn't!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 12:18 PM

But everything else is the same, yes?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 01:17 PM

In some languages M and B to-and-fro a lot. Why not M and P?

NB: In my house, to to-and-fro can be a verb.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 01:21 PM

"a tiller of the soil or a toiler at the loom..."

Is this Shakespeare again? Isn't there a scene where a father is giving his son career advice and he says 'Neither a tiller nor a toiler be.' ?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 01:25 PM

...which led to Tillie the Toiler (for those elderly folks with long memories)


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Susan of DT
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 01:29 PM

Pearl: 49 - I assume most of these are jewels, rather than girls
Peggy: 86 - it was pointed out that Peggie is not the most common spelling

All of these will also include authors and perfomers as well as characters int he songs.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Rowan
Date: 03 Dec 09 - 06:58 PM

M and B to-and-fro a lot
From the little linguistics I recall, leeneia, I think such behaviour of consonants is called a metathesis (pl. metatheses), with the accent on the second syllable;

Curiously B & H do it as well. The first whitefellas seen by Aborigines in Australia's Top End (the far north) were from the Netherlands and called themselves "Hollanders"; the usual, current, term for a whitefella in the Northern Territory is "Balanda", pronounced with the same structure as "Hollander".

There are, apparently, many other metatheses.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 04 Dec 09 - 05:16 PM

As any fule kno, the most famous Nancy is Nancy Blackett the Amazon Pirate and Terror of the Seas, created by Arthur Ransome in "Swallows and Amazons" and subsequent books. Not forgetting her sister Peggy of course. There is a folk song connection - "Spanish Ladies" and various shanties feature in the books.

Nancy's given name is Ruth, but as she says, pirates are ruthless.


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: semi-submersible
Date: 04 Dec 09 - 06:40 PM

"Is there a song where she recognises [her long-lost sailor] before he presents the token?"

My mother about a year after her marriage opened the door upon a tall blonde-bearded man: it took her a fair moment to connect him with the clean-shaven husband who had departed a few months before at the start of the commercial fishing season. "Billy?"

He didn't have to show her a token, though. Years later, when I asked Mom how she had identified Dad in that moment of doubt, she said, "I recognised the shirt."


Who knows how diminutives evolve? They say Beppo is an Italian equivalent of Joey (from Giuseppe). But I'd bet Meg and Molly became forms of Margaret before Peg and Polly did. How do you like Hank and Hal as forms of Henry?


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Dec 09 - 09:20 PM

Amazing story, Semi. I recently grew a beard, & took to turning up to meet my friends in different glasses [spectacles] from usual, thinking that if they did double-takes I would be safe to get on with the bank-job I was planning. "Oh, you've grown a beard, Michael," every single one of them said with no hesitation whatsoever. Chiz!


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Subject: RE: Nancy me no nancies
From: Rowan
Date: 07 Dec 09 - 04:23 PM

But when you've had a beard for all the time your social set has known you, becoming clean shaven confuses most; it became an amusing game in Melbourne's folk scene in 1979.

Cheers, Rowan


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