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Pedantic Crack

GUEST,Philippa 25 Jan 03 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Philippa 25 Jan 03 - 11:53 AM
Ebbie 25 Jan 03 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Q 25 Jan 03 - 01:33 PM
Noreen 25 Jan 03 - 01:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Q 25 Jan 03 - 02:40 PM
artbrooks 25 Jan 03 - 04:49 PM
Bill D 25 Jan 03 - 05:00 PM
TheBigPinkLad 25 Jan 03 - 05:48 PM
John MacKenzie 26 Jan 03 - 05:57 AM
Liz the Squeak 26 Jan 03 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Philippa 26 Jan 03 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Cailleach 26 Jan 03 - 08:45 AM
JennyO 26 Jan 03 - 10:57 AM
belfast 26 Jan 03 - 11:19 AM
Big Mick 26 Jan 03 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Q 26 Jan 03 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,johnson 27 Jan 03 - 06:56 AM
Pied Piper 27 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM
Bullfrog Jones 27 Jan 03 - 09:09 AM
Strupag 28 Jan 03 - 05:57 AM
KingBrilliant 28 Jan 03 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Interested arís 28 Jan 03 - 06:37 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 28 Jan 03 - 06:37 AM
MartinRyan 28 Jan 03 - 06:49 AM
JennyO 28 Jan 03 - 08:01 AM
MartinRyan 28 Jan 03 - 10:46 AM
Fibula Mattock 28 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM
MartinRyan 28 Jan 03 - 11:03 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jan 03 - 11:25 AM
Nerd 28 Jan 03 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Q 28 Jan 03 - 02:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jan 03 - 03:15 PM
Felipa 28 Jan 03 - 03:56 PM
Bob Bolton 28 Jan 03 - 09:42 PM
JennyO 29 Jan 03 - 12:31 AM
Bob Bolton 29 Jan 03 - 08:02 AM
JennyO 29 Jan 03 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Felipa 29 Jan 03 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Cailleach 29 Jan 03 - 09:46 AM
MartinRyan 29 Jan 03 - 09:51 AM
Bob Bolton 29 Jan 03 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Philippa 11 Feb 03 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Philippa 05 Mar 03 - 09:00 AM
Nigel Parsons 05 Mar 03 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 05 Mar 03 - 01:24 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Mar 03 - 10:32 PM
greg stephens 06 Mar 03 - 06:31 AM
belfast 18 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM
MartinRyan 18 Mar 03 - 11:21 AM
greg stephens 18 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM
GUEST 18 Oct 03 - 08:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Oct 03 - 09:13 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 19 Oct 03 - 12:28 AM
s&r 19 Oct 03 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Philippa 07 Nov 03 - 04:23 PM
Felipa 15 Feb 04 - 06:00 PM
RobbieWilson 16 Dec 04 - 06:08 AM
Leadfingers 16 Dec 04 - 07:06 AM
MartinRyan 16 Dec 04 - 03:44 PM
Snuffy 17 Dec 04 - 08:35 AM
dianavan 17 Dec 04 - 10:57 PM
RobbieWilson 18 Dec 04 - 12:05 PM
Uncle_DaveO 19 Dec 04 - 09:51 AM
Bob Bolton 03 Jan 05 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,gearoid 07 Apr 05 - 09:17 AM
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Subject: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 11:37 AM

An Irish Mudcat gathering is to be held in Portaferry, Co Down 28 Feb. - March 3. In the thread discussing the event, there is argument over whether we are going to have great crack or whether we are going to have great craic.

it goes something like this-
John Moulden and I said that "crack" should be spelled "crack" when one is writing in English, as the word is not originally of Gaelic origin. Then Guest still interested replied,
"When i say Gaelic, i am refering to the Irish language (Gaeilge) and to modern Scots Gaelic (Gaeidhlig), which are basically the same, well historically anyway. Craic indeed should always be written as craic, as it is a word from another language being used within English.

"Now, enough of all this aul craic. :-)"

Noreen: "What John Moulden and Phillipa are saying (I think) is that the word 'crack' is from the English language originally, and has latterly been spelled 'craic' to give it (false) Irishness. This agrees with what I've heard from other sources."

guest interested go fóill [still interested]: ""interested go fóill" Noreen: I'm sorry but that's completely inaccurate.

The only word 'crack' of English origin is that which means crevice or sharp sound etc.

The word 'craic', however, meaning good fun etc, is entirely of Irish Gaelic origin. Just check any Irish language dictionary or any dictionary of English etymology."

Ard Mhacha: "Hope you are all enjoying your visit to lovely Portaferry, regarding Craic, the old people from way back used the Craic word all over Ireland.
How often in my youth did I hear, "We had great craic" and the people who had the fun or craic were all born in the late 1800s."

Those of us who spell crack with a k have not yet given any evidence to back our case, but the opposition has given spurious evidence.
Ard Mhacha, were your forebearers speaking Irish or were they speaking English? You didn't quote them as saying "Bhí craic ar dóigh againn" but ""We had great craic [sic]"

still-interested - go fóill: so far what I've seen in dictionaries does not agree with you. The Irish seem to have evolved a special sense of the word crack from the use of crack - in English- to mean conversation, which I imagine comes from its meaning of sound (which apparently is how it came to mean something breaking, when it gives a loud crack). Ó Domhnaill's Irish-language dictionary (1977) includes the word "craic" as conversation, but so does it include loan words such as "jab" (a job) and "júdo" (the martial art) (and "j" is a loan letter too, I believe). I could find no entry for "craic" in Dineen's Irish-language dictionary (1927) or in the Scots Gaelic dictionaries of Dwelly (1901) and McLaren (1925)- even though I looked for other possible spellings such as "cnag" and "creaic" for words with the appropriate meaning.

The 20 vol Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989) has nearly 3 pages of definition for "crack" (wisecrack, crack-shot, etc)including 5. a brisk talk, conversation; pl. news, Scottish and north dialect b. A sharp or cutting remark, colloquial (orig. U.S.) and c. Anglo-Ir. Fun, amusement; mischief. Frequently in phrase "for the crack," for fun.
note it is attributed to "Anglo-Irish" not Irish Gaelic. 20th century examples are given from "Myles Na Gopaleen" ("You say you'd like a joke or two for a bit of crack") , The Cork Examiner and the Sunday Times. For the closely related usuage 5a, examples include 1725 Ramsay "Gentle Shepherd" "Come sit down and gie's your cracks. What's a the news in town?" ; 1785 Burns "Holy Fair" "They're a' in famous tune For crack that day." 1810 Tannahill "Poems" (1846) "Gossips ay maun hae their crack" 1865 Thoreau "Cape Cod" "Having had another crack with the old man" etc etc.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 11:53 AM

I've been doing a web search: lots of mention on the web that crack is an Irish word "craic" for fun and jovial conversation. Again none give any justification for using a Gaelic spelling

On the other hand -http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/cananan/beurla/faclan.txt - a page of information mostly about words that DO come to English from Gaelic includes the following from "The Words We Use" le Diarmaid Ó Muirithe: "The constant Gaelicisation of the good old English/Scottish dialect word crack as craic sets my teeth on edge. It seems, indeed, that many people think the word is an Irish one; hence we find advertisements proclaiming "music, songs, dancing and craic"; the implication is that craic=boozing and high jinks, great fun as it used to be, an tan do bhiodar Gaeil in Eirinn beo. The English Dialect Dictionary (Wright's) deals at length with crack, a word still in use from the English midlands to Glasgow and Edinburgh. It gives crack as "I. talk, conversation, gossip, chat". In this context Scott uses it in Rob Roy (1817), "I maun hai a crack wil an auld acquaintance here". "The friendly crack, the cheerfulsang", wrote a lesser Caledonian, Picken, in 1813. 2. A tale, a good story or joke; gossip, scandal. "A' cracks are not tae be trow'd", is a Scots proverb. "Tell your crack/Before them a", wrote Burns in The Authors Cry, in 1786. "To ca' the crack", in Yorkshire, means to keep the conversation going. The Irish crack, with its connotations of ribaldry and divilment in general, came to us, I suppose, by way of Donegal emigrants, who have borrowed many good words from their Scottish friends"

http://www.ucd.ie/~linguist/hibeng.html
A Dictionary of Hiberno-English
The Irish Use of English
by Prof. Terence Patrick Dolan
...
"Hiberno-English has a rich a varied lexicon which differs principally from standard dialects of English on two main counts:
1. It has a vast array of borrowings from Irish.
2. It contains words which are now obsolete in standard English but which are commonly used in Ireland"
...
"The author lectures in the Department of English in NUI, Dublin. He was a senior scholar at the Queen's College, Oxford before coming to NUID. He has published widely on English language and Literature in Ireland as well as broadcasting widely on these topics. "... ...

"Crack: n., entertaining conversation. Ir craic is the ModE loanword crack

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology only gives a few meanings, a sharp short noise, break with a sudden shart report - from OE craciansound, resound = (M) Du. kraken, OHG chrahhon (G. krachen alos French "craquer" but that's probably of Germanic origin also. other meanings given Crack - preeminent, in the sense "that which is cracked up or highly commended", hence cracked can mean crazy, earlier "bone-cracker"

As an aside, interesting to see info at http://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/rednecks/rednecks.html about a Southern "cracker" in the USA.

I'll be back, so you'd best get your own crack in now


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:22 PM

I just remembered a word from my youth (American): We never said someone was a 'wiseacre', as the books give it. We said he was a 'wisecracker', meaning good in repartee. Would that be from the old country?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:33 PM

The explanation for a saying I heard when I was a student in Illinois in the 1950s, in both Illinois and Indiana, may rest here. "Cracking corn" is an expression that was used there for telling jokes or tall tales.
In the threads about the old minstrel song (1840s), "Jim Crack Corn," by Emmett, there has been discussion about the meaning of the song title.
One possibility is the proess of cracking dry corn for feed to chickens, etc. and in pre-processing. Another is drinking corn liquor. A third is the meaning given here.
Very interesting!


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Noreen
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:52 PM

Thanks for the research, Philippa- that goes along with what I've heard, too.

Any evidence for the alternative opinion from anyone?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:02 PM

I've always assumed that it's an Engish word that's been taken into the Irish environment, probably an English speaking Irish environment, and developed a significantly different meaning, and then given an Irish spelling reflecting that changed meaning. (I suspect that using the word "crack" meaning joke or sharp saying and suchlike goes back quite a long way in English.)

There seems no harm in people retaining that Irish spelling as it comes back into England with that changed meaning. Perhaps it marginally reduces the likelihood of confusion about recreational drugs other than Guinness and the like.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 02:40 PM

The 1987 Supplement to the 1971 OED made some additions.
crack- to make an attempt at. Example from 1836, etc.
crack- the break of dawn. Example from 1887.
crack- a sharp or cutting remark. 1896 and others. Attrib. USA. Also cracking wise, wisecrack, etc.
crack- to joke (American).
Cracking- cracking good race, etc. (American, 1840s, etc.)
crack- to get cracking (get a move on).
To crack hardy- to put a good face on something. Australian.
Note: Just because the first quote found by the OED searchers may be American does not mean that the usage originated there. Tracing origins is an on-going activity.

From the 1971 ed. of the OED (last one I have).
crack- to talk loud, to boast, etc. 1460, Scot. and northern England. Also spelt crake.
crack- brisk talk, news, gossip, to chatter sociably. 1450, northern England and Scot.

From the last two, especially, crack, crak, crake seem to have a long history in northern England and Scotland, bearing out the quote given by Philippa from "The Words We Use." Sounds like an interesting reference.

It seems likely to me that the expression "cracking corn" may be a development from the Sc.-Eng. crack-crake. That is my interest here, I know nothing about the Irish usage which is the subject of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: artbrooks
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 04:49 PM

Saying "we'll have great crack" to an American is saying "the cocaine will be wonderful." Word meaning evolve.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 05:00 PM

it appears in the DT in one version of "The Jolly Beggarman", with fairly clear meaning as "lively conversation"

"The beggar was a cunnin' loon, ne'er a word he spak,
wi' a foll and me doll and me dandy-o
but when he got his turn done, he began to crack,
wi' a teer-a-noora neer-a-noora nandy-o."


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 05:48 PM

My favourite version of the Geordie song "Dance to thy Daddy" was by the late Jake Thackery -- it begins

Come here me little Jacky
Noo Aa've smoked me baccy
Let's hev a bit o' crackie
Till the boat comes in."


In the North east of England 'crack' means 'talk.' All you budding etymologists might want to remember that language was SPOKEN long before it was ever written down and the spelling of words is for the most part, well, bollocks / bollox / bollux.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 05:57 AM

Hear here Pinkie.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 07:06 AM

So if crack is chatter and talk, what on earth are you going to sessions for the crack for? Surely the object of going to a music session is to listen to and play music.... Not one of those definitions involve music making of any kind.... take the talking out to the bar!!!

At least now we can identify those who chatter and witter on all through a session without actually contributing anything vaguely musical, except making the bodhrain player play louder - they're the ones who come home and boast about the fantastic craic they had in the pub.


(Not reallly my opinion, but that of a disgruntled guest in a previous thread about talking during sessions!!!!)

LTS


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 08:43 AM

Liz, I see your point; an awful lot of crack goes on at Irish sessions and sometimes it's hard to hear the music./... though you can have crack when you're playing.

The following may be of interest even though it's somewhat repetitive of my second message. In fact, I believe the author's source of information was Ó Muirithe's column in "The Irish Times".
From "Craic", bi-lingual newsletter of Comhaltas an Chreagáin,no. 2 Jan.1993:

"What's the 'Craic'?
"Most of us use words every day that we accept as just 'Derry' or at least Irish-English. Usually they are really Gaelic, as in 'What's the bars?'. meaning 'What's the news?' from the Gaelic 'barra nuachta' - headlines.
"But it can work the other way too. Often now we see the 'craic' written in place of 'crack' - news, but also sport and fun. We are told that the word has spread into English from Irish speakers.
"In fact the opposite appears to be the truth. 'Crack' with exactly the same meaning as it has in Ireland today was in use in England, especially in the Midlands, 200 years ago at least, and spread north into Scotland, where Robbie Burns used it. Probably it was Donegal seasonal workers in scotland that brought the word to Ireland, mixing it with their native tongue so that it came to be written in the Irish spelling 'craic'!"
by Peter Mullan


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Cailleach
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 08:45 AM

I met this bodach who lived in a sean-tigh just below the torr. The place was in smidiríní, but the old man was proud of his brógaí, which he kept well-polished. He'd never married; he did fancy a cailín one time, but she diúltaighed him. He made his own poitín, but he wouldn't say no to a dram of fuisce (uisge beatha). We had crack go leor together.

We don't usually spell words that DO come from Gaelic in Gaelic/Irish spelling. Not that I'd mind - English orthography is complex or inconsistent enough, and we spell a lot of French words in French (though we pronounce 'a la mode' as if it were English). But can you imagine writing peristroika in Cyrillic and karaoke in Japanese letters in the middle of an English sentence?

I don't know if there is any evidence for Donegal people introducing 'the crack' to Ireland. Etymologists also rely partly on guess work. The issues are not so unlike what folklorists face when trying to trace connections between versions of a song or tale.

Maybe I shouldn't complain about a pretend Gaelic origin for "good craic", as I enjoy creatively deriving word derivations. Some theories for which I have not a shread of evidence are that 1)the toilet as "loo" comes from "an seomra is lú" (Scots G - an seomar is lùtha), the smallest room. Before the loo was built indoors, we used to have the outhouse (teach beag, taigh beag, ty bach ,little house in Celtic languages); and 2) kangaroo means a sharp red head "ceann gearr rua" - sometimes all you would see of the animal peering through tall grasses.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: JennyO
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 10:57 AM

Well, I think you should stick to the Gaelic version, if for no other reason than the thing that Artbrooks mentioned, to save confusion with the new meaning of "crack", as in crack cocaine.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: belfast
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 11:19 AM

"We are all met together here to sit and to crack
With our glasses in our hands and our work upon our backs"
The opening couplet of "The Work Of The Weavers".

I would say that there is a good chance that the word originates in Scotland and the north of England and the info given by Philippa provides some ammunition for that point of view. Though it should be noted that most of the English usages have the word as a verb: in Ireland it is always a noun. Another small possibility that I don't think has been mentioned is that both English and Irish derived it from some common Indo-European source.

But why do some spell it with a gaelicised form and why does this irritate others?

The word seems to have changed its meaning somewhat in Ireland. As noted earlier in the thread Irish-English Dictionary (Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla) edited by Niall Ó Dónaill gives the following: "Craic, ….2. conversation, chat …" (And in the days of my youth it also meant "news", as in "Have you heard the crack about Billy?")

But it has acquired further connotations. When Christy Moore sings the Barney Rush song, "The Crack Was Ninety In The Isle Of Man" we do not understand him as saying "When visiting the Isle Of Man we had a rather interesting conversation".   (Perhaps our American friends would take it as a discussion on the cost of recreational drugs on a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea.) The song itslf will give you some idea of what the narrator considers to be good crack.

One justification for the spelling "craic" could be that the writer is making clear that he is using the word in its Irish sense. If the word with an extended meaning is introduced into English texts, is the English language somehow demeaned or diminished? Perhaps it is enriched.

So why does this spelling irritate some? I can't imagine that is some obsession with etymological exactitude. If you were to go through one day's postings at this website looking for word misuse you could spend a week correcting the mistakes. It would be interesting to know why this particualr word annoys.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 01:34 PM

I think I am with belfast on this one. I find the word to be contextual within a given conversation. Jim Duffy, an ex pat from Derry and a very close friend, will always start a conversation with "What's the crack, Mick?". Several other expat friends of mine from Tipperary use it in the context mentioned above "Did you hear the crack about........?". All of the Irish ex pat's without regard to where they are from, use it to describe a grand time had by all as in "The crack was grand at Billy Quinn's party.....". As to how old it is, I have no doubt that it is old, but I can tell you that I never recall it being used by the old immigrant crowd of friends of my grandparents. It seems that it wasn't until I was well into a group of friends of my own age that I heard it on a regular basis. As to spelling it, I find the "craic" spelling to be easiest when I am writing for the "casual" Irish American, as it eliminates any confusion, but I usually point out that it is not a word from Irish.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 26 Jan 03 - 02:30 PM

Big Mick: As a "casual" Irish-American, I would agree that craic is a useful solution.
The OED, the standard for English-speaking peoples, accepts gossip, news, as part of the meaning of crack, nothing new there. It is evident here that Irish writers have been using the spelling craic for some time, and it appears in an Irish-English Dictionary, pointed out in this thread. If one calls the attention of the OED compilers to this spelling and cites a place where it was used in print, it would appear in the next edition or supplement (if it has not already been entered in an edition later than my 1987).
As pointed out above, crack brings to many minds the drug. Use of that spelling will become more confusing as time goes on.

Has the other spelling, crake, appeared in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,johnson
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 06:56 AM

Is it possible that people get annoyed with the spelling "craic" because the Irish seem to think that they invented having a good time, that nobody had any crack before they invented it.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Pied Piper
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM

Does any one know why Gaelic spelling is so bulky?
The Scots Gaelic word Piobaireachd (piping) is anglicised as Pibroch.
Does this mean that a book translated into Gaelic from English is significantly larger than the original?
All the best PP


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 09:09 AM

Big Pink Lad -- you left out 'bollix' -- and that's the Irish spelling!

BJ


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Strupag
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 05:57 AM

Hi Pied Piper,
MacLennans Gaelic dictionary has pages 1 to 365 Gealic/English and pages 367 to 613 English/|Gaelic so you might be right. Mind you if both Gaelic and English are given in both sections I don't see why.
God I'm getting sad! I'm off to get on with my day job!


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 06:21 AM

The word "crack" is used in colloquial english at least in my locality (Berks UK)- and I've never yet heard it confused with a drugs reference.
It is used in "having a crack" (having a good time), "just did it for the crack" (just did it for a laugh), "what's the crack, then?" (what's going on?).
In those contexts I'd spell it as in the english - having assumed craic to be a different word.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Interested arís
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 06:37 AM

Hello there,

I was away at the weekend so i didn't get round to checking out the site until now. Little did i know that my comments started up such a discussion!

Thanks to all for the info, some pretty convincing arguements. I've always just taken for granted that 'craic' is of Irish origin. Just to make sure, i'm going to ask some of my lecturers anyway to see what they know.

Pied Piper: Regarding the length of Gáidhlig words, i suppose it does seem that they are on average longer than the standard english translation. However, there are a good few short words that translate into a larger english phrases;
For example, 'cách' meaning 'everybody else'.

Cailleach: Have you heard that the Australian Didgeridoo may also have a Gaelic origin, dúdaire dubh? (ciallaíonn sé black trumpeter, nó rud inteacht mar sin, ach níl mé cinnte faoin litriú).

Agus sibhse atá ag dul chuig an rud i bPort an Phéire, tá súileas agam go mbainfidh sibh sult as is go mbeidh craic ar dóigh agaibh!

Slán go fóill,
Tommy


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 06:37 AM

Bullfrog, you beat me to it. But the "-ix" spelling seems mainly reserved for the word as term of abuse to describe a person.

When rubbish or nonsense is referred to, the "-ocks" spelling seems to be preferred. Socio-ethnoetymologists please discuss.

Good thread, Philippa, and lots of solid research to sustain the judg(e)ment that, on balance, "crack" is the more valid spelling. Time will tell whether "craic" will differentiate itself sufficiently to make it into the OED, which is more prescriptive than Merrriam-Webster (cf. historically correct entries on "concentration camp"). But I do find "craic" a bit irritating, mainly because its principal perpetrators are pub owners trying to snare innocent tourists and convince them that the Irish did indeed invent fun (we didn't invent it: we're just one of the last Western European nations to lose our sense of it, but a bit of economic prosperity and associated McCreevy-style arrogance should soon fix that).


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 06:49 AM

Words in Irish, of course, often look longer than they sound! That's because of what in my day was known as séibhiú or buailte whereby certain consonants become silent.

Some time ago, I checked a few 19C. Irish dictionaries for evidence of "craic". It ain't there.

I've seen the claim re didgeridoo - but no evidence. I remain sceptical. Where are our AUssie friends?

Many Irish Gaelic words have, of course, found their way into English - and not just Hiberno-English.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: JennyO
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 08:01 AM

I heard some discussion on a thread (don't remember which one) not long ago, about this supposed Gaelic origin of the word didgeridoo, and got the impression from other posts that this was a bit of a myth.

I'm certainly not aware of anything like that, and I'm an Aussie.

Bob Bolton might know.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 10:46 AM

Thought I had posted a comment on didgeridoo earlier - but our system went down somewhere along the way.
The argument was based on the word dúdaire meaning pipe - its the root word for the Hiberno-English word dudeen meaning a small clay pipe. I don't recall seeing any evidence cited.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM

BigPinkLad and Bullfrog - yous forgot that in Norn Iron it's spelt "ballix"!


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 10:52 AM

It's almost certainly pure fantasy, but you can write phd theses about almost anything nowadays! The quote came from a newspaper article, though, so in fairness we can't judge without seeing the relevant passage(s) and supporting evidence; if any. Regrettably, assertions of the kind can swiftly assume the status of received wisdom simply by virtue of being repeatedly stated; the myth that the bagpipes were banned in Scotland is a well-known example, and the internet has ensured that the process can now take place with surprising rapidity (for example, the apparently imaginary "broadside original" of Fields of Athenry).

It appears that "crack", has existed as "craic" only just long enough to have begun to appear in the most recent Irish dictionaries, and is clearly a loan-word from English, where it has a long documented history of use; though obviously many people badly want it to be Irish of long-standing. Romantic over-estimation of the age of custom and practice is something which has bedevilled folklore studies over the years; consider how many people insist that the bodhran is some sort of ancient war-drum, or that Henry VIII wrote Greensleeves.

For myself, I find the insistence on spelling "crack" as "craic" (and "session" as "sesiun", come to that; perhaps more so) rather silly and pretentious when writing in English, though both -recent loan-words though they are- are perfectly properly spelled in that way when writing in Gaelic. Probably the majority of those who use these modern transliterations have little or no Gaelic, however, and are simply following fashion or what they have been told is "correct". I wonder how many, when writing of buying stamps, say that they have been to the "Post Oifis"?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 11:03 AM

Malcolm:
Is that first paragraph of yours in reference to didgeridoo? I see some of the newspaper articles on line, alright. A Google search on Gaelic and Didgeridoo throws up enough to suggest the myth could grow alright!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 11:25 AM

Yes, it was; Fibula and I posted almost simultaneously.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Nerd
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 01:21 PM

Ahh, great Craic! I remember a day in the catskills at an all-day Irish music festival. The sound system went out during someone's set and a big burly technician came out to have a look. As he bent over the monitor, his butt to the audience, his jeans rode halfway down his ass. A guy I know, thinking on his feet, yelled out:

GREAT CRAIC!

Not a dry seat in the house...

as for the didg, it just sounds so much like an Autsralian word(Kangaroo, Jackaroo, wallaroo, boomerang, billabong, etc) that it would be an awful coincidence for it not to be Australian, don't you think? Not that that makes it impossible, but it certainly warrants skepticism...


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 02:45 PM

According to the OED (1987 Supp.) didgeridoo is imitative of the sound. In 1924, Macartney in the Sidney (Aust.) Bulletin wrote: "Didjeridoo! Didjeridoo! A blackfellow blows through a length of bamboo...." Apparently this is the first evidence of the word in print. Need Bob Bolton here.

I am afraid that in American cities, crack cocaine is the first thought that comes to mind when someone says crack. I would imagine that the same thought would come to the minds of a lot of young city people in the UK and Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 03:15 PM

All that didgeridoo business was extensively discussed in an earlier thread, BS: Digeridoo Irish, Official, which includes information from Bob Bolton.

Somebody started another one later on, digeridoo etymology, but fortunately it expired before all the same jokes were repeated again.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Felipa
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 03:56 PM

re discussions of didgeridoo (probably a MOCK aboriginal word), it's worth looking at messages at http://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?S1=gaidhlig-b - click on archives and do a search for Didgeridoo, or just look at the archives for June and July 2002, the main thread is called "Dudaire Dubh = Didgeridoo ?". Most of the messages are in English.
You can also find the gaidhlig-b site for Gaelic learners via www.smo.uhi.ac.uk , click on Gaelic-L in the column on your right.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 09:42 PM

G'day JennyO, Martin Ryan, Malcoln ... Uncle Tom Cobbley and all ...

JennyO said: "I heard some discussion on a thread (don't remember which one) not long ago, about this supposed Gaelic origin of the word didgeridoo, and got the impression from other posts that this was a bit of a myth."

I think it's well covered above. There is no eveidence of the word in Nyungar languages of the didgeridoo's origin ... and (despite cracks about etymologists 'guesswork') the only surving evidence is usually printed accounts. The earlier for didgeridoo (various spellings) all suggest 'imitative' sources ... describing the sounds of the instrument.

It intrigued me that the first written use was from the Franklin Times, in Tasmania ... about as far from the heartland of didgeridoo as you could get and still be in Australia ... but it's always the outsider that comments on what is commonplace to the locals. In this case, our Tasmanian journalist/newspaper proprietor (the Times came from a small shed by the river ... I stood outside it, a few months back!) was talking about the crew on a ship moored at the nearby wharf ... not Nyungar, but Straits Islanders who had picked up didgeridoo from them.

Felipa: I doubt that the first usage even aimed to be "mock" Aboriginal ... it just described the sound ... and the sound eventually described the source.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: JennyO
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 12:31 AM

G'day Bob. I thought you'd have something to contribute here and you have, as always!

There's so much stuff on the internet now that anybody can put on and it's easy to lose sight of the fact that just because somebody has written it, doesn't necessarily make it the truth. Very fertile ground for myths to take hold!

Bob, do you remember Mick Griffin - from Folk'n'Didgeriblues? I haven't seen him for quite a while, but I bet he'd know a lot. I remember he used to tell a story from the Dreaming about a bad spirit he called Yidiki(sp?) who was hostile to women and lived inside the didge, therefore explaining why women are traditionally not supposed to play it.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 08:02 AM

G'day JennyO,

Interestingly, I was told by a Koori didge player, doing a smoke ceremony/didge recital at a gig I attended with a BMC group, that the basic reason, apart from such tales, was to avoid spontaneous abortion in child-bearing women. Lots of explanations cover cold hard facts.

(BTW: This is the bloke who listened to my tale of Alan Dargin offering me didge lessons, in exchange for accordion lessons. I told him I decided didge just wasn't my instrument. He looked me up and down ... and said: "Yeah ... Reckon you're Koala totem!"

...Hey! He must have been talking to the early 1990s Bush Music Festival Committee that reckoned I was ideal to get into a koala suit and act the part of "Cooee" - our concertina-playing koala festival mascot!)

Further thoughts: I notice that the proposed Didgeridoo Master Class at the National Folk Festival will accept women.

Regard(les)s,

Bob (I'm on a strict exercise/diet regime!) Bolton


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: JennyO
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 08:43 AM

ROTFLMAO, Bob, trying to picture you in a koala suit.

Mick used to teach women the didge too, but it wasn't on real ones. He had PVC pipes, and he said it was all right on those. He even had ones made out of two different thicknesses of pipes, one inside the other, which you could slide up and down to raise or lower the pitch, like a trombone. A tunable didge!

Good luck with the diet and exercise! That's what I need to do, but I'm finding it hard to get started.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Felipa
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:44 AM

I forgot to say that the old man I was céilidh-ing with spoke with a barróg.
The ''Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology'' doesn't give a derivation for this type of 'brogue', as opposed to the brogue from 'bróg' for a shoe; except to suggest that perhaps brogue as an accent is related to the preceding word brogue as a shoe 'in playful allusion to the foot-gear of Ir. or Sc. speakers.' Playful, my foot! A more likely, though hardly flattering, derivation is 'barróg cainte', a speech impediment!
The Irish word for an accent is 'blas' and if someone speaks with a 'blas na Mumhan', in the Munster dialect, s/he will put the stress on the second syllable of 'barróg' so it does sound rather like 'brogue'

The website from which D Ó Muirithe was quoted in message 2 of this thread, contains a novel (to me) suggestion about the origin of bunny rabbit and buns for buttocks. The big OED and the concise dict. of Etymology, just say the origin of the term bun or bunny for a rabbit is unknown. The 'novel' suggestion is that rabbits are called bunny's because they flash their white behinds as the run off, and that 'bun' for a buttock comes from the Gaelic. Well, usually for that type of bottom, we use the word 'tón' or 'tóin'. Although a naughty English phrase is translated as 'Póg mo thóin', there is nothing offensive about the word and if anyone says to you, 'Bí i do shuí ar do thóin', s/he is just saying 'sit down.' The word 'bun' is used for other types of bottoms; a base, a pedestal, a beginning. - more likely your feet than your rump, as in 'bun os cionn', 'upside down' or head over heels'. It's not at all impossible that some Gaelic speakers somewhere have used 'bun' in the way most use 'tón', and I did find a term 'bun-abhas', meaning 'rump' in Dwelly's Gaelic dictionary. But I haven't come across any bunny-like Irish or Scottish Gaelic word for a rabbit. The Irish for a rabbit is cóinín, related to 'coney' in English.

Can anyone tell me when 'buttocks' started being called 'buns'. I think the latter is an American slang term and I think it's relatively recent; I certainly didn't hear it as I was growing up. I never intuitively related the term to bunny rabbits, even Playboy bunnies. Rather I thought first of the sound being similar to the word 'bum' and then as the buttocks being shaped something like bread buns (like baps or blaghs in Ireland). And I would think that 'bum' is a contraction of 'bottom', though the ''Concise Oxford Dictionary of Etymology'' states that the word, 'bom' on Middle English, is of 'unknown origin'.
For 'bottom', on the other hand (or foot) it gives Old English 'botm' and 'bodan' back to Indo-European bhudhme (hence Latin 'fundus', Sanskrit 'budhna' - I imagine the Gaelic word 'bun' also has this derivation in common with the English word 'bottom').


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Cailleach
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:46 AM

that message above was from me!


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:51 AM

Cailleach

Hadn't heard that derivation for brogue .

Regards


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 08:15 PM

G'day JennyO,

ROTFLMAO, Bob, trying to picture you in a koala suit.

Yes ... and I'm doing my best to keep the picture totally restricted to the realms of imagination!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 08:38 AM

From MCCARTHY of Trinity College at Gaelic-L, Feb. 1992:


"Seo an spoirt a bhí acu fado -

       'Áirneáin   go Féile Pádraig agus cuartaí maithe go Bealtaine.'

"This was how they made fun in the old days -

       'Yarning late until Patrick's Day and then out visiting until Mayday.'

"Note 'Áirneáin'   carries a sense of social intercourse - talking, singing,
playing cards; I wonder does it relate to the English "yarning" at all? They
seem to have a similar sense."


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 09:00 AM

Yarning probably comes from English, not from "airnean"
We also have the expression "to spin a tale" or "to spin ayarn"
Maybe spinning is metaphor for drawing out the story, or else for creating something
Story-telling was a feature when women got together to spin and knit; the expression could possibly have originated from spinning parties.
According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Englsih Etymology, edited by T. F. Hoad, the use of the word 'yarn' for a 'story' is from a nautical slang phrase "spin a yarn", while the word "yarn" as in a spun fibre derives from older words referring to intestines.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 11:36 AM

Just a thought, all the British 'Filk' conventions (sci fi/folk) have musical names to some extent. The first 'Contabile' was a one off pun on convention/cantabile. Thereafter they managed to also work in the number of the convention.
2,Con2bile
3,Treble
4, Fourplay
5, Pentatonic
6, VI braphone
7, Transept
8, Obliterate/ Obliter8
9, Harmon IX
10 Decadence
11 XI lophone
12, (and this is the link to this thread) Didgeri douze!
13, Conthirteena


Nigel


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 01:24 PM

Mr?Miss johnson, piedpiper, bullfrogJones, made me curl up in whoops of laughter. If the thread was not intended to make readers laugh then I must apologise.

To my casual reading this is like complaining about 'emocracy' instead of e-democracy. I think the word 'craic' is fine since though new it is very usefull when we do not want to give the impression the context is narcotic.

The complaint then is worse than pedantic, it is dangerous.

Can I now say I had great 'kraik' on the mudcat reading the 'Pedantic Crack' thread?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 10:32 PM

As I recall, the use of "buns" as a synonym for buttocks is ca. 1950, and comes from the gay community. An apt synonym, though:

There was a young lady named Kroll
Who had an idea rather droll
   To a masquerade ball
   She wore nothing at all
And backed in as a Perker House roll.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 06:31 AM

(Prudish: please look away now)

The phrase "having a buttered bun" was Victorian slang for having sexual intercourse with someone who had just done it with someone else, for obvious reasons which I need not elaborate on.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: belfast
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM

To revert briefly to the original topic. I was in Dublin recently and I saw a poster advertising a comedy club. It was called "The Craic House". I think we can all agree that the gaelic spelling is absolutely necessary for that one.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 11:21 AM

Greg

As you probably know, several 18/19 C. slang dictionaries have "bun" for backside or front-side (! to be circumspect). Some of the more academic ones relate it to the Gaelic word for bottom or base. Plausible, certainly.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM

Then there is the "bottom loaf". they say this is so-called because it is baked in the bottom of the oven, but there could be an alternative theory.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Oct 03 - 08:28 PM

can somone translate "dropkick murphys" into irish gaelic?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Oct 03 - 09:13 PM

That kind of thing is apparently called "roasting" by today's English star footballers. A food metaphor once again, I note.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 12:28 AM

Haw haw. The word currach, means a boat of some kind. A good trip, a good crossing, a good one - slang curaic or craic.

BTW The Gaelic for the english slang word 'crack' is 'mbeal' as in Cam - beal or Campbell - that one means 'wrymouth'


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: s&r
Date: 19 Oct 03 - 03:28 PM

Ages ago I was following through the origins of "sally" as in sally gardens; I found salix(Latin) sallee(native Australian) and sally (Irish). All meaning willow.


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Subject: Cric Crac
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 04:23 PM

"In Haiti a story teller will say 'cric' if he has a story to tell. If the audience want the story teller to continue they say 'crac'."

from Jennifer Loughton, Speaking Works. Hemel Hempstead, UK: KCP Publications, 2002

part of a series of books for secondary school English classes, it looks quite interesting if basic; with information & exercises about voice production, theories of language origin, story telling, collecting and using oral history, public speaking and 'loaded language' (connotations and gender bias).


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Subject: getting to the bottom of things
From: Felipa
Date: 15 Feb 04 - 06:00 PM

this discussion is continued at Pogue Mahone


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 06:08 AM

Does anyone know who lead the Pedant's Revolt?


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 07:06 AM

However you spell it or pronounce it , Portaferry was great fun and is happenning again the first weekend of February 2005 !!


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 03:44 PM

Robbie

What - not who!?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Snuffy
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 08:35 AM

If it was the Pedant's Revolt it could only have been the Pedant.

But the Pedants' Revolt ....


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: dianavan
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 10:57 PM

Phillipa - I had never heard the word 'craic' used to describe lively conversation until I was in Ireland. It was used as in, "There was some mighty craic in that pub last night." Some pubs were well known for the craic. As a visitor, thats what I wanted (in addition to the music and a pint).

Crack has many other English meanings but I have never heard it used to describe converstion.

In fact, I have come to think of it as particular to the conversational ability of the Irish which is highly developed when compared to the English, Canadian or American.

Go for craic! Its unique.


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 12:05 PM

Who lead the Pedants Revolt.--Which Tyler


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 09:51 AM

Are you saying that the spelling "craic" is not all it's cracked up to be?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:17 AM

G'day dianavan, Phillipa et al,

dianavan states:
" I had never heard the word 'craic' used to describe lively conversation until I was in Ireland ... Crack has many other English meanings but I have never heard it used to describe converstion."

I'm refreshing this topic because, in another thread, I said I was chasing a tune set to Australian poet Banjo Paterson's poem Santa Claus in the Bush, which begins:

It chanced out back at the Christmas time,
When the wheat was ripe and tall,
A stranger rode to the farmer's gate --
A sturdy man and a small.

"Rin doon, rin doon, my little son Jack,
And bid the stranger stay;
And we'll hae a crack for Auld Lang Syne,
For the morn is Christmas Day."

............................

I have this poem in the 1921 book The Collected Works of A B Paterson ... a combination of his 1895, 1902 and 1917 published collections, so the very latest Paterson could have written that line is 1917 ... and his use in a humorous poem, set in the Australian bush, must mean he expected the expression to be immediately recognised (in this case, as a good Scots term) by the average Australian.

Whatever the history of the transliteration as craic ... this indicates that Australians of a century back recognised crack as a familiar term for a Scot's pleasurable yarning ... 'for old times' sake'.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Pedantic Crack
From: GUEST,gearoid
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 09:17 AM

i watched a programme the other day about viking ancestors in england. i showed people in the wirral, near liverpool, speaking a dialect derived from viking people which used the word 'crack' (not sure how they spelt it) to to mean conversation. seeing as the word is used a lot in the north of england and mainly on the coast, newcastle area and north yorkshire, where other close to norse dialects are spoken i wonder if the word is from a viking word brought to england, scotland and ireland when the viking landed on these shores. makes sense to me!


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