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Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?

DrugCrazed 18 Aug 11 - 03:50 PM
Joe_F 18 Aug 11 - 04:09 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Aug 11 - 05:09 PM
Charley Noble 18 Aug 11 - 07:21 PM
Dave Hanson 19 Aug 11 - 03:24 AM
Monique 19 Aug 11 - 03:51 AM
Darowyn 19 Aug 11 - 04:13 AM
GUEST 19 Aug 11 - 04:50 AM
Jim McLean 19 Aug 11 - 04:55 AM
Will Fly 19 Aug 11 - 05:02 AM
GUEST 19 Aug 11 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,SteveG 19 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,SteveG 19 Aug 11 - 01:51 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 03:50 PM

Right, I don't get this. I'm new(ish) to this folk world and I don't know what the difference between chanty/shanty/chianti, apart from the latter being a type of wine.

Are the terms chanty/shanty interchangable, or is it all a conspiracy that the Russians came up with in 1957 to confuse young and new folkies?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 04:09 PM

"Shanty" & "chantey" are mere spelling variants. The first reflects unambiguously the usual pronunciation; the second reflects another possible pronunciation and also the best guess at the origin of the word (French chantez).

The American Heritage Dictionary gives chantey first, and also lists chanty, shantey, and shanty. The Oxford English Dictionary gives shanty first, and chant(e)y as variants. Thus, it is possible that the sh- spelling is more common in Britain & the ch- one in the US; but there is plenty of variation on both sides of the Atlantic.

Both dictionaries give the sh- pronunciation first, and the ch- one second.

It's a matter of taste. The existence of the unrelated word "shanty" = rude dwelling hut, which is more common & thus more distracting in the US & Canada, causes me to prefer the spelling "chantey", tho like most people I use the sh- pronunciation.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 05:09 PM

The main reasons that the UK and Commonwealth areas landed on "SH", as I see it:

-Musicologist RR Terry proposed the then most-common "CH" spelling be changed to "SH", to "reflect" pronunciation. Now, whenever English spelling has consistently "reflected" pronunciation in recent centuries, please tell me. I seem to get on fine by learning pronunciation of words before or as I learn to spell them. Anyway, Terry made that proposition at a meeting of the Royal Music Society in 1915, and it was dismissed by colleagues. The British authors of chanty collections up to that point had been using "CH."

-However, in 1921, Terry went on to publish a VERY influential collection of songs in which he used his rationalized 'SH" spelling. The 1920s saw a boom in popularity of these songs, several being commercially recorded, and a glut of more collections followed.

-Colcord (American), for one (there were others) consulted Terry's work closely when preparing her own in 1924. She decided she'd like to use "SH". Her work was also widely consulted, and these 1920s works began to replace things like Davis & Tozer's (1887, British - CH), LA Smith (1888, British - CH), Whall (1910, British, - CH), and they were more available or useful for performers than study works like Bullen (1914, British - CH) and Sharp (1914, British - CH) and other British folklorists of the early 20th century.

-Thus in the 1920s, SH became well established (though not dominant).

-Hugill (1961), following in this trajectory, used SH, and his work became a standard reference work. Following, many have chosen to use SH for the practical reason of being "consonant" with Hugill's well known work. I had to read a paper on the subject in England, and I made sure to use "SH" so as not to cause any unwanted "dissonance" with what I knew to be the local preference. I wanted my ideas to be heard, and didn't want the spelling to be a distraction.

-Concurrently: Though not the earliest, one of the earliest published spellings, in 1869, was SH. Oxford English Dictionary picked up on this as their "earliest" appearance of the word, and it has been enshrined as such, though CH spellings were a lot more common in 19th century writing on the subject.

-If I may be permitted a snide remark (I believe this is OK on Mudcat): British people (ugly generaliSation here - deal with it!) tend to take the position that what they do and how they do it is by default the proper thing...and so they have rested, for some many decades now, confident and comfortable with the rightness of SH. Americans (bias generaliZation alert) tend to be more open in their attitude. CH, having been historically extablished already, continued to be used by researchers like RW Gordon, JM Carpenter, and Alan Lomax, and used by influential purveyors of info like Mystic Seaport. And as such, CH doesn't appear as dissonant to the eye.

-Generalizations aside, each person has his/her own reasons for using whatever spelling, which may be independent the way the spelling developed in nations post-1920s. But my point has been to explain the situation *generally*.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Aug 11 - 07:21 PM

Cicely Fox Smith used both spellings but settled on "sh" for her collection of traditional shanties.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 03:24 AM

Stan calls 'em shanties, good enough for me.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Monique
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 03:51 AM

Interesting article


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Darowyn
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 04:13 AM

I have a vague recollection of a song including the word "shantyman", meaning forestry worker or lumberjack.
"Then the shantyman comes down,
In his pockets fifty pounds"
I suppose that is as a result of living in a shed in the forest.
Can anyone confirm this usage?
The currency suggests a British context, but the mental image I have belongs to the New World. Canada, possibly?
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 04:50 AM

"British people (ugly generaliSation here - deal with it!) tend to take the position that what they do and how they do it is by default the proper thing...and so they have rested. Americans (bias generaliZation alert) tend to be more open in their attitude." - Hmm! Reverse those comments and they could be equally true!

And yes, shantyboys lived in shanties (vary to CH at will).

Tom


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 04:55 AM

In Scotland, one could sit on a chanty, sing a shanty and drink a bottle of Chianti.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 05:02 AM

Or even a bottle of shandy...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 09:37 AM

If it was handy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM

And his name was Sandy who was feeling canty.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Chanty, Shanty, Chianti?
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 01:51 PM

On a more serious note, the English language is very flexible and continually evolving. There are plenty of other examples of words with alternative spellings. I use both spellings as the fancy takes me and am not aware of having caused any confusion.


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