20170424

Burmese Days Glossary 4

1. Shok de  Untrustworthy  (Burmese)
2. Thugyi  Headman  (Burmese)
3. Ingyi  Long sleeved shirt  (Burmese)
4. Jaldi  Quick, fast  (Indian)  Chapter 23: "To the station, jaldi!"
5. Wallah  (in combination) person in charge of or employed at a particular thing (e.g. book-wallah)    Chapter 23: "grass-wallahs"
6. Min Gyi  Term of respect (Burmese)  Chapter 22: "We have no quarrel with you, min gyi", Burmese man to Mr Macgregor 
7. Puttee  Bandage for a covering for the lower part of the leg from the ankle to the knee  (Indian)  Chapter 22: "Their pagris were gone and their puttees were trailing yards behinds them, but they had no damage worse than bruises."
8. Pagri  Cloth worn wrapped around the head or headdress Chapter 22: "It was the Military Police subahdar, a Rajput, very fat, moustachioed, with his pagri gone.";
9. Subahdar  Indian officer of a company of sepoy
10. Rajput  Highly dominant and renowned royal warrior caste

Burmese Days Glossary 3

1. Thakin Master (Burmese). Eg Chapter 9: "She turned a face full of fury and despair towards Flory, screaming over and over, 'Thakin! Thakin! Thakin! Thakin! Thakin!' 
2. Salaam  A very low bow; literally "peace"  (Arabic)
3. Maidan  An open space in or near a town
4. Pariah  Very low caste; outcast
5. Memsahib European woman spoken to or of by Indians
6. Kit-kit  Nagging (Indian) Eg Chapter 9: "But I would sooner serve ten years under Colonel Wimpole sahib than a week under a memsahib with her kit-kit."
7. Tuktoo  Lizard Chapter 4: "A tuktoo clung to the wall, flat and motionless like a heraldic dragon."
8. Paso Burmese item of clothing. Eg  Chapter 25: "There were Burmese officials in blazing Mandalay pasos, and Indians in cloth-of-gold pagris, and British officers in full-dress uniform ..."
9. Durbar  Ceremonial court assembly full of pomp and circumstance 
10. Sowar  Private soldier of the Indian cavalry  (Indian)  

Burmese Days Glossary 2


1. Chokra Young man, boy "The invisible chokra who pulled the punkah rope outside was falling asleep in the glare."
2. Eheu! fugaces labuntur anni Alas! our fleeting years pass away (Latin) "Ah well, eheu fugaces! Those days are gone for ever, I am afraid."
3. Havildar British Indian Army rank equivalent to Sergeant, next above Naik (Indian)
4. Bo-kadaw A white man's wife (Burmese)
5. Machan  A safety platform in a tree used when hunting big animals such as tigers and leopards Indian)
6. Catlap Milk or weak tea, "only fit for the cat to lap" (English)
7. Dudh Milk? (Indian)
8. Talab Payment; wages? (Burmese?) "...wail something about his 'talab', which was eighteen rupees a month."
9. Civis Romanus sum I am a Roman citizen (Latin) "Good gracious, no one would believe anything against ME. Civis Romanus sum. I'm an Englishman - quite above suspicion."
10. Durwan A live-in doorkeeper (Indian)
(Also Pax Britannica The British Peace (Latin); Pukka Genuine; authentic (Indian) B.F. Bloody Fool? (English) "With the curious air of spite that some men can put into their tiniest action, he re-pinned the notice on the board and pencilled a tiny, neat 'B. F.' against Mr Macgregor's signature.")

Burmese Days Glossary 1


I'm currently reading George Orwell's Burmese Days. He uses quite a few unfamiliar terms. Here are a number from Chapter 1
1. Dak Bungalow - A traveller's rest-house (for a postal service)
2. Topi - A light-weight hat
3. Sahib European man spoken to or of by Indians
4. Burra Great, used as title of respect; e.g. Burra sahib: important official, manager, chief. (Indian)
5. Pwe Burmese dance (Burmese)
6. Punkah Large fan consisting suspended from the ceiling
7. Longyi/Longyi Coolie  Sheet of cloth worn around the waist/Unskilled labourer (Burmese)
8. Dah Large knife with curved blade?
9. Sepoy Private soldier of the Indian infantry
10. Mali Gardener
(Also Rickshaw Two-wheeled cart for one passenger; pulled by one person; Dacoit Armed robber)

20170422

10 Italian musical terms


1. Calando (getting softer, dying away)
2. Giocoso (playful, humorous)
3. Incalzando (getting quicker)
4. Legato (smoothly)
5. Ostinato (persistent)
6. Rallentando (gradually getting slower)
7. Rubato (with some freedom of time)
8. Sforzando (forced, accented)
9. Stringendo (gradually getting faster)
10. Volti subito (turn the page at once)

Purfle, purfling

1. To finish with an ornamental border.
2. to decorate (a shrine or tabernacle) with architectural forms in miniature. noun
3. Also called purfling. an ornamental border, as the inlaid border near the outer edge of the table and back of a stringed instrument.

20170317

Crumpets or Pikelets

Crumpets for tea is a treat I reckon. My mother always called them pikelets.
Crumpets are griddle cakes made from flour and yeast and are apparently an Anglo-Saxon invention. There is a Middle English reference to them in Wycliffe (1382). He mentions the "crompid cake". Early crumpets were hard pancakes cooked on a griddle without yeast, rather than the soft and spongy crumpets of the Victorian era and beyond.
The term itself may refer to a crumpled or curled-up cake, or be Celtic with links to the Breton, Cornish and Welsh words meaning a "thin, flat cake" (in Welsh crempog) a type of pancake.
In Britain crumpets are generally circular, roughly 8 centimetres (3 in) in diameter and 2 centimetres (3⁄4 in) thick. Their shape comes from being restrained in the pan/griddle by a shallow ring. They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a chewy and spongy texture. They may be cooked until ready to eat warm from the pan but are frequently left slightly undercooked so that they may be cooled and stored before being eaten freshly toasted. They are often eaten with a knob of butter (the only way as far as I am concerned) or an alternative, such as jam, honey, Marmite, etc.
A regional variation of the crumpet is the pikelet, whose name derives from the Welsh bara piglydd or "pitchy [i.e. dark or sticky] bread", later shortened simply to piglydd; the early 17th century lexicographer, Randle Cotgrave, spoke of "our Welsh barrapycleds". The word spread initially to the West Midlands, where it became anglicised as "pikelet" and subsequently to Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and other areas of the north. The main distinguishing feature of the Welsh or West Midlands pikelet is that it contains no yeast as a raising agent, and was traditionally cooked without a ring, making it rather flatter or thinner than a crumpet.

20160917

Words from my childhood

I put this on my main blog some years ago. Today I chiefly speak standard English but as a child growing up in South Wales I spoke a variant of what is sometimes known as Wenglish (ie English but with some influence from the Welsh language). We were not valleys Welsh so we spoke little real Wenglish but we heard it and spoke a little too. Most of the words below are in Wenglish dictionaries but not all. See here and here for more on that. Here is a list of words I was familiar with as a child but now rarely hear or use. In two cases I have used a Welsh 'w' which has a sort of 'ou' sound.

1. Cwpi down - to squat (cwpi down by 'ere a bit while we wait)
[We had a teacher in Secondary School called 'twti' presumably because, coming from elsewhere in Wales, he asked boys to twti down rather than cwpi down]
2. Scram - scratch (I'll scram yer eyes out you come near me)
3. Wisp - a stye (I think I've gorra wisp coming in me eye)
4. Daps - plimsolls (Miss said we've gorra bring daps today for PE)
5. Scag - snag (I just scagged my jumper)
6. Obstropolous - Obstrepereous (She was an obstropolous type, always causing trouble)
7. Ashcart - Refuse lorry (You'll end up working on the ashcarts if you don't buck up yer ideas)
8. Cwtch -To be fondled and snuggled up in an especially loving way (Come and have a cwtch with yer mam/dad)
9. Caibosh - messed up (That's put the caibosh on that then)
10. Dobber - ballbearing used as a marble ('E lost 'is 10-er dobber to a kid in Standard 4)
11. Conflab - long discussion or meeting (Come up about 11 and we'll have a good old conflab)
12. Ructions - big trouble (There'll be ructions if your father sees it like that)

13. Skewiff - Awry not straight (You've stuck it in the album all skewiff)
14. Tampin' - Angry ('E 'ad it on 'im, aye, when 'e realised. 'E was tampin')
15. Parched - Gasping for a cup of tea (Get that kettle on love, I'm parched)
16. Jibbons - spring onions (My dad used to like jibbons with his salad)

20160808

Learning to pronounce Welsh

The Welsh alphabet has no k, q, x, z or v. (Not even English needs the first four absolutely - cing, cween, ecsecution and sip would work fine. More on the v sound below).
It also has several letters not found in the English alphabet. There are 8 diphthongs - 
ch, dd, ff, ng, ll, ph, rh, th.
Ll is famous and though certainly hard to pronounce can be mastered.
Ch is always as in loch not chin.
Ph and th are obvious, as is ng to some extent.
The Dd is used for voiced th. In English we make no distinction in writing between the sound th, as in thin, and th (or dd) as in this (with a word like cloth, I'm never sure which is correct).
The ff is necessary as f is pronounced like an  English v. Even in English the difference applies in the words of and off, pronounced ov and off.