I have wondered whether 'the polite society' and 'Victorian values'
are/were merely affectations that proclaim one's public behaviour over
one private life.
'There are things you may do in private that you wouldn't do in public'.
Recently there was a video, in the public domain, of Prince William
looking somewhat embarrassed over his grandfather's use of the F-word
during a group photo at Buck House. I suspect Prince Philip's everyday
language is quite vibrant most of the time. I also suspect that the HM
isn't so alien to such behaviour, on occasions, behind closed doors.
I also wonder whether the term 'vulgar language' is misinterpreted,
and it doesn't mean so much as 'foul or unpleasant', as much as 'base
Vulgar language is the common tongue, not that of the Queen's English,
used by common peasant folk, and not the well heeled and educated
The expression, "How vulgar!" means how common and base it is, not how
disgusting it is.
On 10/19/15, Malcolm J Watkins <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, and various works on the canting
> language of the 16th-, 17th- centuries are worth consideration.
> But this does raise an interesting question-mark over mores of the past. I
> have, as a re-enactor, often wondered about the extent to which myths about
> bodily functions are truths. It has been argued that (I do 17th-century) men
> would urinate into the corners of fireplaces and even into their thigh
> boots, but is this factual or nonsense? Women's places in church are said to
> have been rich sources of saltpetre because they would urinate under their
> skirts. Were people coy about voiding, or was it as normal as eating and
> drinking? After all, if urine was collected for industrial uses, then it
> suggests that people viewed it in a rather different way than we tends to
> today, and of course the appearance, smell and taste of urine was an
> important part of the physician's repertory. The evidence in some paintings
> suggests that people were prepared to empty their bowels in plain sight, and
> such practices are still the (admittedly unwise and unhealthy) norm in parts
> of the world today, just as spitting is in others.
> Taking this in context, if urination and defecation were simply natural
> processes with as little embarrassment as if an animal were doing them,
> surely the approach to terminology would have been far less precious than it
> has tended to be in later years?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael
> Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2015 2:43 PM Subject: Re: Help me: Old English
> crude language
> John, Carol,
> thanks for the help.
> I finally found Robert Frank's "Sex in the Dictionary of Old English"
> itself within: "Unlocking the Wordhord: Anglo-Saxon Studies in Memory of
> Edward B. Irving, Jr."
> However, John raised an interesting point about whether references to
> sexual anatomy were or were not seen as "crude" (lewd, vulgar). And the
> riddles are just confusing me - as I can't work out whether they were
> more or less open about sex at that period.
> On 18/10/2015 11:50, Carol Primrose wrote:
>> They certainly enjoyed 'doubles entendres' . Once again I refer you to the
>> Riddles, see:
>> From: John Clark
>> Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2015 10:59 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Help me: Old English crude language
>> I just don't think you should expect to find Old English 'crude language'.
>> Why assume that they felt that certain parts of the human body and certain
>> bodily functions were so 'unclean' they must not be 'named' or that the
>> name must not be spoken in polite society? That sounds Biblical to me.
>> If on the other hand you are looking for words that they would use as a
>> matter of course but that WE regard as 'crude', then looking up the
>> etymology of the 'dirty words' in the OED is a good start.
>> John C
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