Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeetta

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Shanty or Chantey?

Related threads:
A Little-Known Shanty Collection (32)
The Advent and Development of Chanties (812)
French Shanty Site (8)
Lyr Add: Huckleberry Hunting (Pumping Chantey) (45)
Spanish sea shanties (24)
'Obscenity' in Chanties/Shanties (29)
What your favorite sea shanty? (83)
Lyr Req: One More Pull (41)
Chanties Helped Win World War I (25)
(origins) Origins: Yangtse River Shanty (32)
What exactly is a sea shanty? (26)
Sea Chantey Lyrics, MIDI tunes, & MP3's (54)
Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman (169)
sea shanties (98)
Cowell Collection Shanties (4)
Annotated Bibliography on Sea Shanties (5)
Info: The Shanty Book (Richard Runciman Terry) (18)
Tempo for Chanties (12)
Lyr Add: Windlass Shanty-Lincoln Colcord Rework (12)
Stories/Shanties of Hjalmar Rutzebeck (18)
The origin of Sea Chanteys (113)
What is a Shanty (79)
Help: What is a 'forebitter'? (54)
Lyr Req/Add: Alabama John Cherokee (12)
Happy! - July 30 (Doerflinger) (4)
Lyr Add: Larry Marr (shanty) (1)
Lyr Add: Windlass Chantey (8)
Lyr Add: Hi Rio, Randy-o! Shanty? (4)
Watered Down Shanties (33)
Who Said - Shanty worth 5 men? (30)
L.A. Times article on S.F. chantey sing (33)
Sea Chanteys (shanteys) part two (3)
Lyr Req: Shantyman (Bob Watson) (14)
shanty sessions in U.K. (12)
New England Shanty Sessions (31)
Lyr Req: Whalen's Fate (Doerflinger version) (6)
Shanty Gathering Ideas for New England (26)
Lyr Add: Seafood Shop Chantyman's Song (5)
Chanties in Southern Maine (5)
Musical question (chantey types) (30)
Lyr Req: Strike Up the Band, Here Comes a Sailor (7)
Baggyrinkle - To Hull & Back (Shanty Festival) (58)
Lyr Req: Sea chantey:'...wouldn't do me any harm' (34)
help: Moby Dick shanty thread? (19)
Shantyfest at Mystic Seaport (3)
help a struggling student! - triple meter chant? (10)
Lyr Req: Seeking: 2 Shanties & 1 Traditional Folk (9)
Shanty background: Portland's Tunnels (32)
Rum, Sea Shanties and Women (27)
William Main Doerflinger 1909-2000 (15)


Jack Blandiver 22 Nov 09 - 06:10 AM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 06:16 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 06:19 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Nov 09 - 06:22 AM
Young Buchan 22 Nov 09 - 06:25 AM
Leadfingers 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM
BobKnight 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 AM
beeliner 22 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM
Young Buchan 22 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM
Tug the Cox 22 Nov 09 - 07:51 AM
My guru always said 22 Nov 09 - 08:01 AM
Mr Happy 22 Nov 09 - 08:13 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Nov 09 - 12:28 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 01:13 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 01:39 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 01:42 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Nov 09 - 01:47 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 01:53 PM
Jack Blandiver 22 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM
KathyW 22 Nov 09 - 02:04 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 09 - 02:08 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 03:06 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 03:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 22 Nov 09 - 04:42 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 04:45 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 04:46 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM
EBarnacle 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 09 - 05:25 PM
Charley Noble 22 Nov 09 - 06:07 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM
Tattie Bogle 22 Nov 09 - 07:03 PM
Smokey. 22 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 PM
Lighter 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM
Smokey. 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM
Smokey. 22 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM
Q 22 Nov 09 - 07:49 PM
kendall 22 Nov 09 - 08:10 PM
Tug the Cox 22 Nov 09 - 08:31 PM
chazkratz 22 Nov 09 - 08:46 PM
EBarnacle 22 Nov 09 - 09:13 PM
kendall 23 Nov 09 - 02:28 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Nov 09 - 03:16 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 09 - 03:32 AM
Lighter 23 Nov 09 - 08:15 AM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 09:03 AM
Snuffy 23 Nov 09 - 09:44 AM
IanC 23 Nov 09 - 10:31 AM
kendall 23 Nov 09 - 11:58 AM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 11:59 AM
EBarnacle 23 Nov 09 - 12:16 PM
Q 23 Nov 09 - 12:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Nov 09 - 12:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 09 - 01:50 PM
Q 23 Nov 09 - 02:33 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Nov 09 - 02:36 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Nov 09 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,Songbob 23 Nov 09 - 03:59 PM
Q 23 Nov 09 - 05:00 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Nov 09 - 05:07 PM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 05:12 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Nov 09 - 05:48 PM
Jack Blandiver 23 Nov 09 - 06:01 PM
Q 23 Nov 09 - 07:47 PM
kendall 23 Nov 09 - 07:53 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Nov 09 - 08:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Nov 09 - 09:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Nov 09 - 09:32 PM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 10:09 PM
Dave Hanson 24 Nov 09 - 02:40 AM
Q 24 Nov 09 - 12:41 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 24 Nov 09 - 01:16 PM
Charley Noble 23 Feb 10 - 08:05 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Feb 10 - 08:18 PM
Charley Noble 23 Feb 10 - 08:44 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Feb 10 - 08:50 PM
Reinhard 24 Feb 10 - 01:20 AM
Dave Hanson 24 Feb 10 - 02:56 AM
Charley Noble 24 Feb 10 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Ruairiobroin 24 Feb 10 - 02:31 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Apr 10 - 03:04 AM
Charley Noble 06 Apr 10 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Joe_F (away from home) 06 Apr 10 - 05:39 PM
Gibb Sahib 11 Feb 11 - 06:41 AM
Charley Noble 11 Feb 11 - 08:09 AM
Lighter 11 Feb 11 - 08:41 AM
EBarnacle 11 Feb 11 - 12:33 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Feb 11 - 12:38 PM
Charley Noble 11 Feb 11 - 07:30 PM
EBarnacle 11 Feb 11 - 11:11 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 14 - 04:29 PM
Anglogeezer 11 Jan 14 - 05:03 PM
Joe_F 11 Jan 14 - 06:18 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Jan 14 - 07:14 PM
Lighter 12 Jan 14 - 07:52 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Jan 14 - 11:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Jan 14 - 11:37 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 14 - 08:14 AM
Lighter 13 Jan 14 - 09:49 AM
Gibb Sahib 13 Jan 14 - 02:37 PM
Q 13 Jan 14 - 02:50 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Jan 14 - 02:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Jan 14 - 10:38 PM
Gibb Sahib 14 Jan 14 - 07:42 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 14 Jan 14 - 11:34 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Jan 14 - 01:28 PM
Gibb Sahib 14 Jan 14 - 05:17 PM
Q 14 Jan 14 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,David C Kendall 17 Sep 14 - 06:50 AM
Lighter 17 Sep 14 - 07:35 AM
Airymouse 17 Sep 14 - 09:35 AM
Bat Goddess 17 Sep 14 - 11:07 AM
Bat Goddess 18 Sep 14 - 12:50 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Sep 14 - 01:40 PM
Q 19 Sep 14 - 01:17 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:













Subject: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:10 AM

All my life it's been Shanty; now it's Chantey. So what gives? Is this real or just more fake-lore revivalist pedantry?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:16 AM

It's always been CHANTY to me and I'm old.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:19 AM

Dictionaries tend to give both. Presumably the ch spelling alludes to the [speculative] origin in French chantez, while the sh one is a more faithful rendering of seamen's pronunciation — with perhaps some anxiety, among 'chantey'-users, to avoid confusion with songs sung in rude shacks ['shanties']. There isn't much ambiguity, whichever is used; so why not just regard it, as the dictionaries do, as optional; and find some more worthwhile object of worry to eat one's ♥ out over!?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:22 AM

fake-lore revivalist pedantry

Yes. Though spelling it with a C may be a trifle more authentic (Fr chanter = to sing.

Why not just call them "sea songs"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:25 AM

... jaws harp ... welsh rarebit...

It can't be pedantry, otherwise I would be using it myself. Leaving aside the late 19th century, which presumably wasn't part of 'all your life', it now seems to be essentially an American aberration no doubt aimed at taking our attention away from their inabilitity to spell aluminium and colour.

Stan Hugill spelt it Shanty, and since he made them all up ....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM

I am with Young Buchan on this - It seems to be another creeping Americanisation !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:28 AM

Why not just call them "sea songs"? >

Why, becoz not all seasongs are shanties/chanteys/whatevers, Diane; & the distinction from forebitters/focsle-/watchbelow-songs must surely be preserved. One comes across enough non-folkies who will call every song with any nautical connection a 'sea-shanty': even most educated people like Philip Howard who used to drive me crazy doing it when I reviewed folk-books for The Times when he was Literary Editor, & he just wouldn't be told — & that is something worth worrying about, I should say.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM

Sea songs would be ok to a point, but not all sea songs are chanties. Some are "fore bitters" or foc'sle songs (Forecastle) others are homeward bound songs.

"A rose, by any other name"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM

Thanks, YB - that's all I need to know.

Although...

Some are "fore bitters" or foc'sle songs (Forecastle) others are homeward bound songs.

Who came up with these terms anyway? Sailors or folk-revivalists?

BTW - Jaw's Harp, it would seem, is a corruption of Jew's Harp by some centuries...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: BobKnight
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 AM

This might make your mind up - Chanty is a toilet receptacle which in days of old went under the bed.

However, my "bible" A.K.A. Longman's "Guide To English Usage" gives the following explanation.

"A shanty is a crude hut. The similiar word for a sailor's work song is SHANTY, or SHANTEY in British English, but CHANTY, or CHANTEY in American English."

So, ye ken noo!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: beeliner
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM

I was walking through the run-down section of the city yesterday and heard a catchy song of the sea emanating from one of the hovels there.

It was only a chanty in old shanty town.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM

"Who came up with these terms anyway? Sailors or folk-revivalists?"

Whall, who was a sailor, in Ships Seasongs and Shanties said 'As to the spelling of 'shanty', I see no reason why, because shore people have fancied a derivation of the word and written it 'chanty', I should follow. It was not so pronounced at sea, and to spell it so is misleading'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:51 AM

Ch is pronounced as sh in french derived words, as in Charlotte. There was a lot of mixing of language and culture at sea.The terms are equally old, and can both be found in 19th century texts


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: My guru always said
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:01 AM

And some sea songs are ballads....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:13 AM

Preferisco Chianti!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 12:28 PM

The thing we are talking about is a type of work-song, or work-CHANT if you like, that developed amongst African-American laborers and which, by the 1830s, had been adopted by sailors of various nations. Before then, there had been a patchy tradition of work-songs aboard ship. However, although nowadays we conveniently label all maritime work-songs as chantey/shanty/shanty (especially to distinguish them from maritime NON-work-songs), one could argue that before this period there was no "chantey" per se. The African-American based genre has a distinct-enough form and character that one can see the "chantey" (in whatever erstwhile spelling/pronunciation) as something fairly new – a new addition to the previous (though as I said, seemingly patchy) practice of shipboard work-songs. Indeed, a "chantey," strictly speaking, was not restricted to work aboard ship. As such it was a label for a particular mode of coordinating work through chanting that was developed in African-American trades and later found useful by those of other ethnicities engaged in similar work.

The word seems to originate in America then, amongst stevedores. (Note that "chant" or "chaunt" had been in use to describe songs with the particular connotations of being sung by African-Americans.) The earliest citation known to date is the description of the cotton-stowing stevedores of Mobile Bay of the 1840s, where their practice is referred to as "chanting" and their lead man is called "chanty-man" (Nordhoff 1855). P.H. Gosse (1859) observed the same practice in 1838, but gave it no name. In 1867, Clarke (SEVEN YEARS A SAILOR'S LIFE) used "chanty" for both stevedore-type and shipboard work.

The practice of using this new-ish form was completely established by then, though to what extent the term "chanty" was used is debatable. I also want to re-iterate that whatever the earlier references to maritime work-songs, they may not have been what was originally known as "chanty". The really short hauls ("yo heave HO!") were probably existing in some form among "all" maritime nations long back. And the merely pace-setting, spirit-keeping capstan songs that could easily come from shore ditties and fiddler's airs are a distinct form from the stuff that was first called chanty. That stuff was especially suited to the long halyard pulls and windlass heaves (though also adapted to capstan, as nearly any song could be). It seems that while THIS kind of work-song became common aboard ship, worksongs became a way of life there, and subsequently the various forms, ancient and more recent, from the African-American paradigm and the European ballad-type paradigm, were all lumped…and eventually subsumed under the term "chanty."

"Ch" is by far the common spelling of the 19th century. Before one starts talking about "fakelore" and "American aberrations" one had better check all the sources. I am looking at a chronological bibliography of texts about or mentioning chanties and rarely does "shanty" appear. The "sh" form does not appear in a big way until Whall's 1910 book. However, in the English vs. American debate, one would be wise to note that Cecil Sharp (ever heard of him?) called his 1914 book ENGLISH FOLK-CHANTEYS.

The turning point seems to have come with Englishman R.R. Terry who, in an address to the Royal Music Association on 18 May, 1915, advocated for the spelling of "shanty." He cites two reasons, the main being that it should be spelled "as it sounds." That is a fairly absurd notion if one considers the changes that would need to be made to English spelling all around is one were to apply that idea uniformly. Nor has there been a problem with pronouncing the sound in chandelier and chamois and other words with French orthography. And not to mention that Noah Webster's very same initiative to "spell as it sounds" gives us the divide between colour and color – "American aberrations." Seems Terry was creating an "English aberration." His other, weak reason for the "sh" spelling was his idea that "shanty" was called so because of the West Indian practice of shifting shanty homes with work-songs. The strength of that argument speaks for itself! In the discussion following his address, the chair of the panel states his disagreement.

Now, how did "SH" begin to stick? My hunch would be that Terry's works had become the popular source for the first Revival – or so Hugill has claimed that the drawing room chantey-singers of the 20s-30s were mostly influenced by Terry.

"CH" still persisted as the most common spelling in publications into the 1920s, when Terry's books were published. However, Colcord adopted the "SH" in here 1924 ROLL AND GO. From reading her text, it is clear that she was in correspondence with Terry and used his works as a basis of comparison (at that point only the first had been published).

The confusion happens after then. Take these 2 article titles for example:

1928        Broadwood, Lucy E. and A.H. Fox-Strangways. "Early Chanty-Singing and Ship-Music." Journal of the Folk-Song Society 8(32)

1928        Thomas, J.E., Lucy E. Broadwood, Frank Howes, and Frank Kidson. "Sea Shanties." Journal of the Folk-Song Society 8(32)

Same journal issue; 2 different spellings.

While "CH" persisted from then, now in especially American publications, there is no consistency. Doerflinger (1951), based in New York, used "SH", although I wonder how much that had to do with creating his clever title SHANTYMEN AND SHANTYBOYS (the latter being a term for lumberjacks, who lived in shanty huts!).

Hugill's work certainly spread the "SH", but it was already well established by then in the post-Revival era.

For further reference, see
Lyman, John. 1955. "Chantey and Limey." American Speech 30(3): 172-175.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM

Chant is old as an English word, used by Chaucer (1386, Miller's Tale, 'chanteth').

Nordhoff (1856) was the first to use the ch-form for a sailor's song, as "chantey-man" for the leader of the work songs.

'Shanty' applied to a sailor's song first appeared in Chamber's Journal (Dec. 1869). "Said to be a corruption of the French 'chantez' ...."
(Above notes from Oxford English Dictionary)

This has all been gone over in previous threads.

Shanty should be reserved for the original Canadian and U. S. meanings, "an establishment ... organized in the forests in winter for the felling of trees; later something built of lumber, usu. temporary. Corruption of French 'chantier'. Canadian Dictionaries.
In U. S., first mentioned in print in 1820, a hovel called a shanty, "somewhat in the form of a cowhouse."
Oxford English Dictionary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:13 PM

Q — Why 'SHOULD' the word "shanty" 'be reserved' for the single meaning you postulate. English is full of both homophones and homonyms, sometimes etymologically connected, sometimes not. Why shouldn't the 6 letters S H A N T Y, taken in combination, be subject to more than one definition, any less than, e.g., the 4 letters W E R E [or do you imagine a 'werewolf' to be an erstwhile wolf verbalised in the wrong number?]; or the 4 letters R O S E, or - or - or - [continued page 94], if that's the way the spirit of the language wishes?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM

MtheGM- because, as an old curmudgeon, I insist on my preferences and everyone else is wrong. Harrumpff!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:39 PM

Oh, yes sir, sorry sir, forelock tug sir — slurpslurpslurp


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:42 PM

Careful with the slurp- I just emptied the slop jar.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:47 PM

Wasn't a slurp - it was a slurpslurpslurp - you slopslopslopjarjarjar


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:53 PM

Bon appétit!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 01:56 PM

Cecil Sharp (ever heard of him?)

Yeah - he's the founding father of the fake revival ain't he?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: KathyW
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:04 PM

The best argument-- now-- for using "chantey" instead of "shanty" that I've heard is that if you are doing a word search with Google or something like that, "chantey" only gives hits relating to the type of song, but "shanty" also gives hits relating to the type of structure. As such, "chantey" is more precise.

To add to Gibb's remarks regarding the discussion of how to spell the word in Joanna Colcord's (1934) book "Songs of the American Sailormen," I think Colcord's reasoning is interesting. She writes that she prefers "chantey" because "it looks better on the page, cannot be confused with other meanings of the word, and the in the subtle sense of word-feeling seams to suggest more closely than 'shanty' the spirit of a sea-song." But she nevertheless chooses to spell the word "shanty" in her book because she is afraid that if the word is spelled "chantey" people will mis-pronounce it with a hard "ch" and this horrified her.

Personally, I've developed a liking for the "chantey" spelling, but in some contexts people don't know what I'm talking about if I spell it that way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:08 PM

Gibb pretty much sums up what we know. One wonders idly whether Nordhoff originally wrote "chanty" for "chant," which was then "corrected" by a copy editor.

No matter; "chanty-man" is "chanty-man."

Another formerly common spelling is "chantie."

My own preferred etymology is from "chant," via "chantie" (the Scots especially love diminutives) rather than from anything French, particularly since the French for "song" is "chanson." And why would English-speaking sailors pick up a French command like "Chantez!" (An English "Sing now, ye lubbers!" or something similar would do just fine!)

In tht case, the switch from a "hard" to a "soft" "ch," while not predictable, would not be difficult either.

However, there's no decisive evidence one way or the other. It's all conjecture.

Most landlubbers insist on the hard "ch," BTW. Proving their landlubberhood.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM

Cicely Fox Smith (UK) in her early poetry books (1914) used the term "chanties" and even "chantys" but then switched over to "shanties" (1927) for her book of traditional nautical work songs.

Joanna Colcord (US) in her book of sea songs (1924) also used the term "shanty" for the nautical work songs.

Use either spelling but have some sense of why you have decided to do that.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 02:16 PM

I prefer the hard CH and I'm no landlubber! I've wrung more salt water out of my skivvies than most "Shanty" singers ever sailed over.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 03:06 PM

Kendall-

That does raise the point of whether anyone can train an old sea-dog to spell!

Sheerily,
Sharley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM

As posted above, chant has been a common English word lo! these many years; Chaucer with chanteth in 1386.

Now all you saltwater wannabes, chanteth a weigh heigh...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 03:25 PM

Q-

Weigh heigh diddle dum day!

Heigh knotty knotty!


I like it!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM

Hi David Harker, er, I mean Suibhne :)

Cecil Sharp (ever heard of him?)

Yeah - he's the founding father of the fake revival ain't he?


Sure, that's one view. But I doubt C. Sharp's book is what you were referring to when you said that all your life it had been "shanty" and "now" it's "chantey." My point is that C. Sharp, indeed, was a figurehead of English "folk" music and was very influential all round. So..his use of "chantey" messes up any claim that English English spelling has any historically-acquired authority to seize upon "shanty" as correct. It illustrates that there was no divide between British and American usage until later.
If anything, Terry's actions were of a "fake-lorist" in striving to change something based on his personal theory and desire.

Hi KathyW
But [Colcord] nevertheless chooses to spell the word "shanty" in her book because she is afraid that if the word is spelled "chantey" people will mis-pronounce it with a hard "ch" and this horrified her.
Interesting! Well, her reasoning is not far off from Terry's.

Hi Lighter,
...particularly since the French for "song" is "chanson."
I don't dare speculate too much about etymology, but just to this point: It may not be so relevant to think of these as "songs" in any case. Were they really conceived of as "songs" by their originators? Point to ponder: if they were "songs," why didn't they just call 'em that? Clearly there was something about them, more at the level of "chant" that distinguished them, and IMHO it was not just their context of being used during work -- it had more to do with character and form (for example, short couplets in non-narrative structure). Just a thought, though.

Perhaps someone could elaborate on why "chaunt" -- AROUND THAT TIME (Q!)--was used to designate some kinds of Black singing. Doerflinger had cited examples of "chaunt" in such 1840s songs as "An Original Negro Chaunt", "A Southern Negro Chaunt" and "sing de nigger's chaunt."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM

Thanks, Kendall. Your sea-dog pronunciation supports a derivation from "chant." It seems to undermine the very common claim that "real" sailors only say "shanty."

Of course, it would be even better evidence if you were about 175 years old, but one takes what one can get.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:42 PM

I always thought it was Shanty, but I dont really mind either way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:45 PM

It begs the question, what the hell difference does it make? Does anyone really give a damn?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:46 PM

You say chanty and I say chaunty,
Chanty, chaunty, tomato, tomahto-
Lets call the whole thing off.

Apologies to George and Ira Gershwin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM

Charlie, what's wrong with my spelling?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 04:55 PM

Are they songs? Of course they are--in the same sense that ballads are songs. A significant percentage of of the chanteys have a story line, especially when brought to a concordant condition. What Mark Lovewell and I did in "Songs of South Street--Street of Ships" was exactly that. We took all of the versions of a chantey we could find and developed what we considered a unifying story from them.

This is a prefectly valid approach because, if you examine other collections, such as Child's works, it is obvious that many of the "Popular Ballads" derive from a common source and diverged due to differences in the singer's memory, also known as the folk process.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 05:25 PM

As has been pointed out, it's just a case of Americans spelling thing differently from other people.

No problem, except that the ch spelling tends to encourage people to mispronounce the word.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:07 PM

C. Fox Smith has a whole diatribe as she describes some "revivalists" attempting to sing shanties from the stage: " Quoth one of these worthies to another 'Let's have a tchahntey!' and amid encouraging cries of 'A tchahntey -- yes, a tchahntey!'"

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM

Hi EBarnacle,

There is no question as to the validity of your approach to performing chanteys. I was suggesting something different, however. I'm speaking with respect to the form of what "chanty" seems to have first referred to.

I'm also speaking from a position of experience with instances where what one person may perceive as a "song" is not so by the people who perform it. For example, there are plenty of verses sung by Punjabis that, nonetheless, do not fall under the category of song. To cite a more familiar example, Quranic chant or the Islamic call to prayer is not a song, though listeners from other cultural backgrounds sometimes cant help feeling like it "sounds like" one. Is what a rapper does a "song"? I say no, but for lack of other terms, people might label "rap songs." Too bad, then you have people who don't get the aesthetic of rap who then say it is not "music", probably because it is not a "song" in their sense...though the rapper never claimed it was!

Songs were adapted for use as chanteys, so now we have that significant percentage of chanteys that are...songs. But let's think back, and distinguish the style of different chanteys. There ARE the ballad types. Those are the type I am suggesting were not the original item described as "chanty."

If you take "Blow the Man Down" as an example of a hybrid: As "Knock a Man Down," quite possibly an adapted cotton hoosier's "chant," it had its one-off verses, "Were you ever in Town X", a chorus that didnt mean much of anything (didnt relate to verses), and a repetitive, call and response structure. The basic couplet form of the verses, however, allowed ballad themes like "Ratcliffe Highway," "The Milkmaid" "The Fishes" etc. to be spliced onto it.

A subject for a different discussion, but to my mind it is quite clear that the needs and desires of singing chanteys as "folk songs" ...to audiences, ....for entertainment, ....by a different class of people than historically sang them...has weighted or biased our impression of chanteys towards their interpretation as ballad-like "songs" in the Anglo-European sense.

But that's water under the bridge, as they had already begun to undergo that form during their historical period. My question, however, seeks to get at how people would have first understood those early chanteys, with respect to how they classified other sung-expressions, by different groups of people, in their world at the time. Only then can we understand why "chantey" might derive from "chant" (as Lighter suggests, and I'm inclined to agree with).

kendall,
You may not give a damn, but as usual, those who do, discuss. I know your statement may be in the spirit of "don't worry about it; and let's all get along," but I don't think anyone is worried, nor are they not getting along -- it is just a question of interest.

I think investigating the development of the word tells LOADS. It has already told me something about the dynamics of the folk revivals, and how the manipulation of terms has had its effect on perceptions of the national affiliations of chantey singing. If mis-information means that some people are being perceived by others as "pedantists" or less "authentic" in some way, or if some people from one nation feel they have more God given rights to something than people of another...if you've ever met someone, from any nation, who thinks chanteys are somehow inherently "British", or that they belong with "Irish music"...then having some correct info out there is important. Most importantly, the discussion has the potential to tell us about the nature of the chantey form and where it came from, which helps to interpret it in the present. Knowledge gives you options, while "don't think about it, just do it" means you're almost certain to be doing what someone else has set for you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM

I don't think I've ever met anyone who thought shanties were particularly British let alone Irish. No doubt they exist.

I can't see how the spelling gives much of a clue where the word came from - sailormen weren't necessarily too interested in spelling.

As it happens, though it seems more likely that the name comes from the French chanter, or just from English chant, one of the origins that has been suggested is that it comes from the songs used when hauling huts, or shanties in the West Indies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:03 PM

Hi BobKnight
"Chanty is a toilet receptacle which in days of old went under the bed."
I thought that was a gazunder: but the latter is now a term used in the big bad financial world (so my son-in-law tells me) for trying to get someone to drop their price!
So language evolves, n'est-ce pas? Eh bien, chantez, vous marins!
Slop, slop!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM

It's always been 'shanty' to me. Chantey or chanty is the Scottish word for a guzzunda.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:14 PM

In the U. S., a thunder mug.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM

Also conceivable, McGrath. In that case, "shanty" was presumably short for "shanty song."

But "shanty song" is pretty uncommon in print, and so far as I know first appears decades after "chanty" and "shanty."

So it's inconclusive either way.

If we had "shanty song" in, say, 1800, and "(sea) shanty" in 1850, it would be different. But we don't.

Interestingly enough, "shantyman" also meant a lumberjack - because he occupied a woods shanty.

Quite a tangle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:21 PM

Thunder jug over here, Q. Perhaps it's due to anatomical differences. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Smokey.
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM

Also known as the 'Edgar Allen".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 07:49 PM

Shanty, meaning a rude hut, in print in New Zealand in 1860s. OED.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:10 PM

Shanty. a small hut on or near a beach. This is what Admiral W.H. Smyth KSF,DCL,&c. of HM Navy says. Thats good enough for me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:31 PM

Thanks Gibb, some good reading amongst a morass of chit.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: chazkratz
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 08:46 PM

What is a "hard _ch_"? I don't regard it as ch as in chant--or tCharley, for that matter. I'd say a hard ch is one as in Christmas, Michael, charisma. A soft one, of course, is pronounced the same as sh, as in Michelle, Charlene, or chanty/chantey. _ch_ as in chant or chart or Charley is neither hard nor soft--I'd call it gelatinous.

Charles (gelatinous from the get-go)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 09:13 PM

Considering that when the word was first put into circulation, there was no such thing as standardized spelling, the question is really moot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:28 AM

Point well taken. English was not my major. In my lingo CH is spoken as CHANT, not SHANT.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:16 AM

Interesting that among all the writers cited only Stan Hugill actually was a ' shantyman '

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:32 AM

But I take it Captain Whall would have known shantymen who would have served on his ships


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 08:15 AM

People who read the word "chant(e)y" before they ever heard it spoken will naturally pronounce it like "chant."

Whall (who went to sea in the 1850s), Hugill, Doerflinger, and all other writers on the subject go out of their way to say that, in their experience, "shanty" was the only pronunciation used by sailors.

Which, of course, is the biggest strike against a derivation from "chant."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 09:03 AM

Lighter et al-

"Whall (who went to sea in the 1850s), Hugill, Doerflinger, and all other writers on the subject go out of their way to say that, in their experience, "shanty" was the only pronunciation used by sailors."

Which was also the rationale that Joanne Colcord and C. Fox Smith used for their eventual use of "shanty" and "shantyman," as did Doerflinger.

Frederick Pease Harlow, however, went with "chantey" and "chanteyman" but makes the point that sailors pronounced the word "shanty."

I was also struck by Richard Dana's mention of the nautical worksongs ("singing out at the ropes") in his Two Years before the Mast (1840) as he described his experience as a sailor in the 1830's, with no mention of any particular term such as "shanty, chanty, chantey, or even tchahntey."

I also agree that the term, however spelled, originated among the stevedores in the Gulf ports of Mobile and New Orleans, and then was adopted by the sailors.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Snuffy
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 09:44 AM

Is it not possible that both meanings of shanty/etc (work song and hut), are derived from neither English nor French, but get their name from where Europeans first encountered them - the Ashanti coast of West Africa? It's a very short step from "Ashanti" to "a shanty".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: IanC
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 10:31 AM

Problem with that snuffy is that it's not the place where Europeans first encountered shanties.
:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 11:58 AM

The typical work song is more of a chant than a shant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 11:59 AM

Dana also observed in his book, p. 134, that his messmates had no work songs for lightening their rowing efforts from their boat to the shore of San Pedro, California. However, an Italian ship was also in the harbor and her boat crews always sang as they rowed. Of course Dana didn't mention what the Italian sailors called such singing but perhaps they sang "chianties."

You got to love this erudite research and discussion!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 12:16 PM

Charley, See reference "The Music of the Waters."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 12:22 PM

The ships Nordhoff (c. 1855) was speaking of made the voyage from the great basins of Liverpool to the American ports, Mobile being one of them. On the voyage he cites, the return cargo, after unloading the cotton, was railroad iron and crockery-ware.

*Leaving Liverpool, "our chaunty-man was called for. "Said he, 'Now, just wait; I'll set all the men and women crying before you know it.'
He struck up to rather a slow and plaintive tune an old capstan song, which begins as follows:

'We're going away from friends and home,
Cho- Oh, sailors, where are you bound to?
We're going away to hunt for gold
Cho- Across the briny ocean.
Father and mother say goodbye,
Cho- Sailors, where are you bound to?
Oh, sisters, brothers, don't you cry,
Cho- Across the briny ocean.
...............
*Charles Nordhoff, "Seeing the World, a Young Sailor's Own Story" (Nordhoff issued about three versions, with added or deleted portions).

I believe it more likely that the 'chaunty' originated among the English sailors leaving the ports of England; a work song requiring the form of call and response which is not confined to any particular group of workmen doing a task which requires cooperation and a rhythm.
I see nothing that ties the term to Mobile or other cotton ports.

Moreover, the screwers at Mobile were commonly Liverpool and other men from the UK, mostly seafarers, who earned more money at cotton-screwing than at sea-faring.

Other threads, not linked yet, have similar content to this thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 12:24 PM

There is a city in northwest India where I have lived called Chandigarh. Now, Indian place names are rendered with an eye towards Anglophones. So I'd think there was no problem in knowing to pronounce the name with the affricate "CH". But whenever I got a call from my moms over there, it was "So, how's it going in SHandigarh?", with the fricative "SH." Note: she is someone who knows no foreign languages.

Based on my experience, I don't see what the big deal is with "CH" being read as a fricative. It happens a lot, and it seems silly that people would change spelling, rather than just insist on proper pronunciation. English spelling is so inconsistent, the words having come from so many sources (especially French), that one learns to expect variability....and the need to hear an unfamiliar word spoken. I have no idea if I heard "chantey" spoken first or saw it written first, but I know I must have been a very young child. There has never been any conflict in my mind about the "ch." There are just so many foreign (French) words in English that I'm sure my brain already processed the fact that such exception to rules are frequent. AND, those words may be coded as "foreign" or "special" words. Which is why I imagine, when seeing the foreign word "Chandigarh", my mom unconsciously jumps to the conclusion that it should start with a fricative.

(Next do we need to change Beijing to Baydjing and Taj Mahal to Tadj??)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:50 PM

"it seems silly that people would change spelling, rather than just insist on proper pronunciation.

Agreed. But surely no one is suggesting changing the spelling, rather than exchanging information about which spelling is used in other parts of the world.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:33 PM

In high school English we read a book called "Erewhon," by Samuel Butler.

One section described the schism between the Big Endians, and the Little Endians, who fought over which was the correct end of an egg to crack.

I will have to find and re-read that classic. A parody on Victorian England, it still applies in many ways to present-day society.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 02:36 PM

I suspect that Q has confused Samuel Butler's Erewhon with the Lilliput section of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, in which the BigEnd/LittleEnd controversy leads to war between Lilliput & the neighbouring island of Blefuscu.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:31 PM

But surely no one is suggesting changing the spelling
Oh no, I don't mean in our discussion, I meant re: the act of RR Terry back in 1915, and the subsequent similar decision of Joanna Colcord. As discussed above, though there was no "standard" spelling, "ch" had emerged by that time as the most common -- common enough that they were worried about mispronunciation.

Even though sailor-commentators had earlier spelled it most often with "ch", these authors decided to change it. Mind you, I do understand that if it was not completely standardized, it was not a "change" per se. But we've enough references with "ch" to argue that "ch" had indeed been customary.

Now, the point that "However you spell it, it's still the same word" is well taken, naturally -- though I don't think we need to resort to characterizing sailors as illiterates or people who never cared about any such things.

But the question still remains, one where spelling IS relevant: why did the early writers spell it with "CH"? There must have been some reason. Either:

1) It was at first pronounced with the affricate sound (as in "church")
or
2) It was pronounced (always) with the fricative sound ("shut"), but...for unknown reasons, they felt this sound should be represented by /ch/.
If #2, what were those reasons? Possibilities:

-- There really was some French influence going on. The setting in the French-Creole areas of the South has been cited.
-- It was done to mark off the word as somehow belonging to a special class, be it "foreign," "special" or whatever. Like the way "Chandigarh" (mistakenly) fits into such a "class" of words in my mother's mind!
-- There was some existing term, the same or similar, that already favored that spelling. I have already mentioned the way "chaunt" was used as a way to label songs of a perceived AFrican-American style, while admitting I have no knowledge about why that was so.
-- Visually , they wanted to maintain the connection to "chant," even though it may have been diff
-- Something to do with the backgrounds of the people who were writing
-- ???

1855 Nordhoff: "chanty-man", "chants"
1867 Clarke : "chanty-man"
1869 Alden: "shanties"
1883 Luce: "chanty-song"
1886 Davis and Tozer: "chanties"
1888 Smith: "chanties"
1893 Hill: "shantier" "from French chanteur"
1903 Webb: "chanties"
1904 Bradford and Fagge: "chanties"
1906 Bernard: "Chanties"
1906 Hutchinson: "chanties"
1906 Masefield: "chanties"
1909 Whidden: "chanties"
1909 Williams: "chanties"
1910 Whall : "shanties"
1914 Beckett: "shanties"
1914 Bullen: "chanties"
1914 Sharp: "chanteys"
1915 Terry: "shanties"
1915 Derby: "chanties"
1915 Lubbock: "chanty"
1915 Meloney : "chanty man"
1916 Sharp et al : "chanties"
1917 Brown : "shanties"
1917 Robinson: "chantey man"
1918 King: "chanties"
1920 Wood: "chantey"
1920/1 Terry: "shanties"
1924 Colcord: "shanties"
1924 Frothingham: "chanteys"
etc.
I realize they are a little meaningless without full context cited.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 03:59 PM

"BTW - Jaw's Harp, it would seem, is a corruption of Jew's Harp by some centuries... "

Actually, the first written reference was "Jaw-harp," then "Jew's Harp," and both from the 14th Century. Jugdetromp(sp?), in German, Scatiati Pensieri(sp?) in Italian, Dan Moi in Vietnam, etc.

I love 'em.

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 05:00 PM

"The Merchant Vessel," 1855, Nordhoff
Chaunty-man or chanty-man? Not seen.

"The Merchant Vessel"
1894 edition, a New York printing by Dodd Mead. "Chanty-man"

"Seeing the World"
No date but 1868 MS inscription by Capt. McNeil Boyd, Edinburgh printing by Nimmo.
"Chaunty-man"
"Seeing the World" no date, online, Edinburgh printing by Nimmo.
"Chaunty-man"

"Seeing the World" is a variant revision of "The Merchant Vessel."

The online edition of "The Merchant Vessel" is a late American printing, 1894.

What spelling appeared in the original 1855 edition? Was the spelling changed by various editors?? Was "chaunty-man" used in the UK editions and "chanty-man" in the American editions?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 05:07 PM

Actually, the first written reference was "Jaw-harp," then "Jew's Harp,"

I'm basing what I said on Michael Wright, who states that the earliest written reference is Jues Harp in 1481 - see HERE. What's your sources?

Dan Moi simply means metal instrument but the wonderful Scacciapensieri means scatterer of thoughts. Like many players today I go with Trump in general, but will use the correct name for the various types I play - kubing, doromb, khomus, kou-xiang (or Ho-Ho), rab ncas, murchang, moorsing etc. etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 05:12 PM

Gibb-

For the record here's a list of dates for Cicely Fox Smith's use of the terms as well in her book titles:

Songs in Sail and Other Chanties, Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1914

Small Craft: Sailor Ballads and Chantys, Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1917

Songs and Chanties: 1914-1916, Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1919

A Book of Shanties (traditional sea songs), Methuen & Co, London, UK, © 1927

Smith ridiculed the term "sea shanties" by some since in her opinion there were no "air shanties" or "land shanties."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 05:48 PM

Q,

Good point about the different editions.

A 1856 edition of THE MERCHANT VESSEL is online at Google Books. It has "chanty-man", "chanting" and "chants".

Under the title of SEEING THE WORLD, it has "chanting-man" in place of the first reference to "chanty-man" (in Mobile) and it has "chaunty-man" in place of the second reference (on the Liverpool ship).

Charley, thanks! Seems like the movement towards preferring /sh/ really grew in the 1920s.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 06:01 PM

I must admit I started this thread in a mood of weary flu-induced cynicism, but it's been a real bounce to my spirits. Anyone for a virtual chorus or two of Essequibo River? Thanks all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 07:47 PM

"The Merchant Vessel," Nordhoff from google is the 1895 New York Dodd, Mead printing, not the original 1856 edition; thus the question of whether Nordhoff used "chaunty-man" or "chanty-man" originally is not answered.
Later printings often had changes made to suit the editors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: kendall
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 07:53 PM

you say tomaaato, I say tomahto


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 08:13 PM

Hey Q,

I answered your question! I took the time out to compare both versions -- how else would I have been able to give you the detailed info? I will await your apology :)

1856

Suibhne,
Nice! I'll join in! Essequibo Bagels


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 09:27 PM

The Borchester Echo asked:

Why not just call them "sea songs"?

Because not all sea songs are (s/c)hanties! Those are work songs, but there's a lot of sea songs that aren't for that purpose.

The others have various names in various places and times, but the name for the others that I'm most familiar with is "forebitters".

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 09:32 PM

Nor are all schanties sea songs ;-0


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 10:09 PM

Gibb-

You certainly did a very convincing job in Photoshop re-editing the Nordhoff text. ;~)

It really looks like a great read; I'm only seen excerpts before.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 02:40 AM

According to Sid Kipper ' Blood Red Roses ' is a gardening shanty.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 12:41 PM

Sorry Gibb- I googled the book and the 1895 edition came up. The 1856 has chanty instead of chaunty in the first citation, so that seems to have been Nordhoff's first choice.

Many apologies!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 01:16 PM

Also, reference "Origin of Chantey"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:05 PM

And I just reviewed this whole thread hoping for a new recipe for chutney, or should that be shutney?

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:18 PM

Charley,

In my academic style Hindi orthography, I'd write it "catni"! :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:44 PM

Arrrggghhhh!

Sharley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Feb 10 - 08:50 PM

om śanti om.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Reinhard
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 01:20 AM

Don't pun on foreign languages or, like Napoleon, you'll find your Vindaloo!

Anyway, if shanties were sung on ships, do you sing chanteys on chips?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:56 AM

If ' shanty ' was good enough for Stan Hugill, it's good enough for me.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 07:47 AM

Reinhard-

You should know better:

"Loose chips sink ships!"

Sheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: GUEST,Ruairiobroin
Date: 24 Feb 10 - 02:31 PM

Chanteys were gozunders (Po's for the benefit of those born to indoor plumbing)when I was growing up and were often full of sh*&e naw ..... that's hardly the link.....Shanties are enchanting


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 03:04 AM

Books with the word "chanteys" in the title:

"Folk-Songs, Carols, Ballads, Chanteys" by Cecil J. Sharp.
"Words of Folk-Songs (Including Ballads and Pulling Chanteys)" by Cecil J. Sharp.
"Words of Folk-Songs (Including Carols and Capstan Chanteys)" by Cecil J. Sharp.
"Folk-Songs, Chanteys and Singing Games" by Cecil J. Sharp, C. H. Farnsworth, 1909.
"English Folk-Chanteys" by Cecil J. Sharp, 1914.
"Chanteys and Ballads" by Harry Kemp, 1920.
"Twelve Sailors' Songs or Chanteys" by R W. Saar, 1927.
"Chanteys" by Bill Adams, 1934.
"American Sea Songs and Chanteys" by Frank Shay, 1948.
"Salty Lullabies and Sea Chanteys" by Mrs. Ellis Taylor, 1951.
"Chanteys" by Søren Claussen, 1956.
"Sea Songs: Sea Chanteys, Foc'sle Songs, Ballads" by Cutty Sark Club. Winnipeg Watch, 1957.
"Songs of the Sea: Chanteys, Historical Songs [and] Ballads" by Louis C. Singer, 1966.
"Songs of the Sea & Sailors' Chanteys: An Anthology" by Robert Frothingham, 1969.
"Songs of the Sailor: Working Chanteys at Mystic Seaport" by Glenn Grasso, Marc Bernier, 1970.
"Chanteys: For Orchestra" by Ronald Perera, 1979.
"Three Chanteys for Violin, Clarinet and Piano" by Ridgway Banks, 1989.
"An American Sailor's Treasury: Sea Songs, Chanteys, [etc.]" by Frank Shay, 1991.
"Sea Chanteys and Sailors' Songs" by Stuart M. Frank, 2000.
"Sea Chanteys" by Rush Williams, 2007.

Books with the word "shanties" in the title:
(excluding books about buildings)

"Ships, Sea Songs and Shanties" by W. B. Whall, Roughton Henry Whall, 1913.
"Folk Songs of the Sea: 'Sea Shanties'", 1921.
"Six Sea Shanties" by S. Taylor Harris, 1925.
"The Shanty Book: Sailor Shanties" by Sir Richard Runciman Terry, 1926.
"A Book of Shanties" by Cicely Fox Smith, 1927.
"Manavilins: A Muster of Sea-Songs, as Distinguished from Shanties..." by Rex Clements, 1928.
"Shanties with Descants Set 1" by Richard Runciman Terry, 1928.
"Sea Songs and Shanties: The Songs" by W. B. Whall, 1930.
"Three Shanties for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon" by Malcolm Arnold, 1952.
"Shanties and Fo'c'sle Songs" by Edgar Waters, 1957.
"Shanties" by Jürgen Dahl, 1959.
"Song Book. Community Songs, Plantation Songs, Sea Shanties, Etc", 1961.
"Shanties from the Seven Seas " by Stan Hugill, 1961.
"Sea Shanties" by Shiplovers' Society of Victoria, 1964.
"Sailors' Songs and Shanties" by Michael Hurd, John Miller, 1965.
"Shanties by the Way: A Selection of New Zealand Popular Songs and Ballads" by Rona Bailey, Herbert Otto Roth, Neil Colquhoun, 1967.
"The Sea, Ships and Sailors: Poems, Songs and Shanties" by William Cole, 1967.
"Australian Boy Scouts Song Book: Songs, Shanties, Rounds,..." by Australian Boy Scouts Association, 1968.
"Shanties and Sailors' Songs" by Stan Hugill, 1969.
"Shantymen and Their Shanties: An Address" by A. E. Smith, 1971.
"Shanties" by Hermann Strobach, Jens Gerlach, 1971.
"Sea Shanties and Fo'c'sle Songs, 1768-1906" by John Holstead Mead, 1973.
"Sea Shanties" by Stan Hugill, 1977.
"Anglo-American Shanties, Lyric Songs, Dance Tunes and Spirituals" by Alan Lomax, Wayne D. Shirley, 1978.
"Songs My Father Taught Me: Shanties of the Square-Riggers" by Heather Margaret Vose, Stephen Murray-Smith, 1987.
"Sea Shanties and Sailors' Songs: A Preliminary Discography" by Robert J. Walser, 1989.
"Ten Shanties: Sung on the Australian Run 1879" by Graham Seal, George H. Haswell, 1992.
"All at Sea: 3 Famous Sea Shanties Arranged for Strings" by Daphne Baker, 1996.
"American Sea Shanties" by Ann-Lis Eklund, 1998.
"Shanties" by George Marston, 2001.
"Sea Shanties of Old Vermont" by Aaron Tieger, 2003.
"Yarns and Shanties (And Other Nautical Baloney)" by Jim Toomey, 2007.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 08:37 AM

Jim-

Nice list.

Here's some more sea music books:

Songs of Sea Labour: Chanties, Frank T. Bullen and W. F. Arnold, 1914

Songs and Chanties: 1914-1916, Cicely Fox Smith, 1919

Chanteying Aboard American Ships by Frederick Pease Harlow, 1962, 2004

Shantymen and Shanty Boys, William Main Doerflinger, 1951; republished as Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman, 1990.

Joanne Colcord also uses the term "shanty" in her book Songs of American Sailormen but not in the title.

No one seems to use the term "Tchantey" in a book title.

Sheerily,
Sharley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: GUEST,Joe_F (away from home)
Date: 06 Apr 10 - 05:39 PM

A lot of English words that came from French have "ch" in the spelling. If they came over with the Conqueror, they were pronounced with the tch sound at the time, and English kept that sound, tho (standard) French replaced it with the sh sound later on. More recent imports from French mostly have the ch spelling and the sh sound. Compare "chair" & "chaise" -- the same French word, two English words! (Never mind how the s got there -- it was silly.) Likewise, "chant" came from Old French, and "chantey", if indeed it came from French (which is likely but not proven), came from modern French. There is therefore nothing wrong with assimilating it to the many modern imports (machine, charade, douche, etc.). Nor, on the other hand, do we need anyone's permission to respell it with sh if we please. A bizarre example is "flour", which we took from (Norman) French without change in a subsidiary sense, but respelled "flower" in its main sense; who would want to undo that now?

Given the choice, I go for "chantey"; I find "shanty" distracting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 06:41 AM

bump


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 08:09 AM

In Amharic, one of the major languages of Ethiopia, the "ch" sound could be reproduced as "tch" with an explosive glottal stop. You should not attempt this pronunciation while drinking beer in the presence of friends.

Tcheerly,
Tcharley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 08:41 AM

The most detailed evidence yet discussed anywhere on earth (AFAIK)concerning the word "shanty/chantey/chantie" is right here in Mudcat in the thread "Advent and Devlopment of Chanties."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 12:33 PM

Consider Roger Abraham's book, "Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore," in which he discusses West Indian chanteying. Among the points he makes is that a) there were work chants used for for moving houses [shanties] from place to place and b) the origin of the word goes back to a period when spelling was not regularized.

Bear in mind that the English language has been described as "two cultures divided by a common language." The American group generally spells it as "Chantey" [except for Charley Noble]and the English group
tends to spell it as "shanty" with variations in both groups according to the user's inclinations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 12:38 PM

100


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 07:30 PM

Eric et al-

Oh, I have some good company, with regard to the correct spelling of "shanties", here in the States, Joanna C. Colcord for one. But it's not a question that keeps me awake at night.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 11:11 PM

That's why I wrote "generally." I had you in mind and, as you say, there are others. I, too, have more critical issues to obsess over, especially late at night.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 14 - 04:29 PM

Now, .... far be it for me to resurect a thread that died in Feb 2011 ... BUT ...

Here are some references concerning the discussion re: chanty/shanty.

If they don't settle anything, they may be grist to the mill!

As Confucious said - The pebble of fact thrown into the pool of debate spreads wide the ripples of knowledge. -

The SAILOR'S WORD-BOOK: AN ALPHABETICAL DIGEST OF NAUTICAL TERMS by ADMIRAL W. H. SMYTH. pub 1867/1996
Contains more than 14,000 nautical terms.
for chanty/chantey it has NO entry.
for shanty it says "a small hut on or near a beach".
But then it is concerned with important technical terms.

THE LOOKOUTMAN by DAVID W BONE. PUB 1923. Has a glossary to explain certain nautical words to a land-lubberly readership.
He has -
"Chanteyman. (pronounced Shanteyman) . The soloist in the singing of a sailor's hauling song or 'chantey.' "
[Captain Sir David William Bone (1874-1959) began his sea serivce on windjammers in Australia in 1890 and joined Anchor Line in 1899 where he ended as Commodore and retired in 1946.]

THE SEVEN SEAS SHANTY BOOK by JOHN SAMPSON. pub 1927. Being the standardised reportoire of THE SEVEN SEAS CLUB which met in London for monthly dinners followed by a sing around of the old familiar songs! the members being retired and serving members of the MN.
This book has throughout, shanty & shanties, including the forward by John Masefield.

In passing .... in the twenties this "choir" was featured in early BBC broadcasts.
e.g: "Friday June 25th 1926.
LONDON, 2LO (355 metres). 09:30 (PM). Weather. News. Sea shanties sung by members of the Seven Seas Club at the Anderton Hotel."
Hows that for an early folk revival???

MANAVILINS by REX CLEMENTS. pub 1928. Being a collection of sailor songs that are NOT shantys.
For his own use has shanty & shanties. Though he does remark:-
" ... Sailor's shanties - or 'chanteys' as some prefer to spell it ....."

CAPSTAN BARS by DAVID BONE. pub 1931. A collection of shantys before "their purpose may be forgotten"
Refers to chantey/chanties & chanteyman


What I come away with is that there are TWO ways of spelling "this word" but ONE way of saying it!!

regards
Jake
Pay no attention to "Confucious" - he's confused!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Anglogeezer
Date: 11 Jan 14 - 05:03 PM

That was me without a cookie!

Jake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Jan 14 - 06:18 PM

The reason I said, a few years ago, that I found the spelling "shanty" distracting is that, as an American, I have long associated "shanty" with a rude dwelling. There used to be shanty Irish & lace-curtain Irish, and during the same period "shanty" was the usual word for a lumbermen's barracks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Jan 14 - 07:14 PM

I have drafted a chapter on this topic for a book I'm working on ... which is sorely behind schedule (but I'm doing as much as I can!)...

Anyway, to summarize:

1. As we all know, a variety of spellings are found in 19th century accounts.
2. Precursors of "chanty man" and "chant" come in Nordhoff 1855. I am of the opinion that "chantyman" may well have come before "chanty." The argument for that is complicated, however.
3. Clark's "chanty" comes first in publication (1867), followed by "shanty" in _Once a Week_ article of 1868...an article that is mostly plagiarized or rehashed in _Chambers's Journal_ of 1869. The latter was Oxford Dictionary's "earliest appearance" for the term, rather than Clark.
4. Though the spellings were various, ones with "ch" were more common in 19th c. sources, and this was generally the received spelling then used by early 20th c. folklorists (mainly British).
5. A few influential non-academic writers of the early 20th c., also mainly British, were uncomfortable with the "ch" spelling and advocated for "sh" in spite of common use. These include: Whall (1910), Terry (1915), C. Fox Smith (1920s). The American Colcord, who took a lot of influence from Terry, followed suit.
Their reasons:
5A. The term needed to be 'spelt as pronounced' (i.e. from a specific lingocentric view).
5B. The "ch" spelling was too evocative of French for some British writers. It suggested the popular French derivation of the term, which they thought was popular nonsense, and which they rejected because they could not fathom what they believed to be the implication of a French derivation: that English sailors got chanties from French sailors. (In my own belief, the possibility of a French derivation owes to French Creole, from the stevedores in the U.S. South.)
6. Britain's Oxford dictionary kept "sh" as the preference due to its 1869 Chambers's Journal reference, and USA's Webster's kept "ch," perhaps due to that being the actually dominant "in use" spelling at the time.
7. The works of the above-named reformers, particularly Whall (less so), Terry, and Colcord, were far and above the most influential in chanty literature of the first half of the 20th c. They were basis of early revivals and much other discourse on the topic, popular recordings, etc. Doerflinger and Hugill - the final seals on the chanty collection cannon - inherited this discourse. Hence "sh" is now the most common spelling globally, while many in USA hold onto the tradition of "ch" that predates the reform and was used by people involved with our library institutions (like RW Gordon, JM Carpenter, Alan Lomax).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 14 - 07:52 PM

Nice summary, Gibb.

My only suggestion is that "from a specific lingocentric view" seems either gratuitous or too vague. The spelling represents a word in English, and as we know, the almost inevitable pronunciation of "chantie/ chantey" would have been like the sound in "church" or "chant."

The "sh" spelling, which I used to prefer, makes clear the actual pronunciation (of everyone who's ever commented on the pronunciation).

Oh, yeah. A better word is "linguacentric." But even plain "linguistic" seems to work here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Jan 14 - 11:26 PM

Lighter,

I just made up that word in my post, haha! Neither it or the idea appear in my actual writing.

I disagree with the supposition that a "church" pronunciation was/is almost inevitable. Though I might agree more if we limit that to the environment to that of the authors who advocated "sh" for that reason. It's a minor point, and probably not relevant at all in any case.


What *may* be relevant:

The English environment of the "chanty," at other times/places, was quite possibly, I think, influenced by the French way of interpreting "ch," so pronunciation may have been up for grabs - an environment where the urge to "Anglicise" (however that's interpreted!) is not so strong. I submit that, in America, we have both the tendency to Anglicize and French-ify unfamiliar or foreign-seeming words.

I think I've mentioned before that, however many times I tell my mother I lived in an Indian city called "Chandigarh," she will see the word and pronounce "Shandigarh". As in chandelier, chamois, chantilly, etc.

Out here in Southern California, there is a native people called Chumash. Guess how "everyone" says it ?: Shumash. Another common toponym is Chaparral. People say "Shaparral."

All this is just talk though!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Jan 14 - 11:37 PM

P.S. In a recent radio interview I came across, with Mystic Seaport's Geoff Kaufman, the interviewer used the "church" pronunciation throughout! So, my experience might just be weird...or the Connecticut education system is not doing so good a job anymore!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 08:14 AM

Apart from the obvious interest of etymologists is anyone actually saying it matters that there are 2 spellings of a term? The history is very interesting but there is no problem to solve.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 09:49 AM

> but there is no problem to solve.

Hasn't stopped us yet.

The ultra-pedantic problem, however, is whether "shanty/ chantey" derives immediately from English "chant," French "chantez/chanter" or English "shanty."

The evidence shows that we can reasonably rule out the last.

Spelling and pronunciation only became an issue because chantey collectors cringed when they heard landlubbers say "tchanty." But now that the "shanty" pronunciation is well established, and the songs themselves in no immediate danger of being lost forever, I think we can afford to be more tolerant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 02:37 PM

You're correct, Steve, there is no problem as regards functioning nowadays... aside from the irksomeness of searching for "shanty" and getting results for other things, or the often encountered need to add the word "sea" to clarify "shanty." (By the way, I'm not being sarcastic!)

So yes, the interest in spellings presents mainly a historical/historian's "problem."

Terry, who very formally advocated for the adoption of "sh" spelling, was also the person to put forward the idea that "Maybe shanties come from people moving huts in the Caribbean." As someone interested in the historical development of the genre, I would like to be able to assess the likelihood of such a theory.

I think if Terry had all the information that "we" have now, he'd have had to dismiss his theory. But he didn't, and in fact another issues of spelling (the rejection of French) helped drive Terry towards the idea. So now Terry's idea stays there in books and people continue to consider it as the plausible explanation of an expert.

One of the key "mysteries" of chanty history is how, in Nordhoff's late 1840s account of cotton-screwers, the "chant" and "chanty-man" were pronounced - especially since "chanty" does not turn up after that until 1867 on a New York ship. Had Nordhoff used the spelling "sh", then we could be sure about the pronunciation.
Unless we want to assume that he meant "ch" as "church" and that the pronunciation changed by 1868 - an assumption that has problems with it - we must guess that Nordhoff chose "ch" to represent "shingle" sound for a good reason. The reason may have had something to do with a French influence in the environment that bore chanties (or other reasons).
Some reformers advocating for "sh" were not aware of Nordhoff's account, etc, and they assumed that later writers - not as knowledgeable as themselves about "sea stuff" - had created a fanciful spelling.
So, spelling has very much to do with both locating the "flow" of the development of chanties in the early years, and with shaping the discourse produced by those who mediated the genre (e.g. change to "sh" is a small part of making the genre appear more "English"). It has little to do with how you or I function nowadays...though a little awareness of it wouldn't *hurt* for when we read the literature on the subject.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 02:50 PM

Whatever happened to shanty Irish?

Or lace curtain Irish, for that matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 02:55 PM

I'm very thankful for all of your researches, Gibb. Until solid evidence to counteract it comes up I'm quite happy to accept the French connection in the Gulf area and its spread from there.

I'd be interested to know what the people who described the early British accounts of things like 'Cheerly Man' called them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Jan 14 - 10:38 PM

Steve,

That's just the sort of question that I personally find interesting, too.

To be somewhat pedantic: I don't think there were too many things ~like~ "Cheer'ly Man." I would argue that it was almost in a class of its own. I think it was a rather innovative English/Anglo-American song, and that, as a shipboard work-song, it may have helped paved the way / set the ground (choose your metaphor) for the adoption of "chanties" on ships. (Embedded in that statement is my own belief that "chanties" as a genre did not originate on sailing vessels.) A "theory" of mine is that "Cheer'ly Man" was rather exclusively "attached" to its work task - that is, it was the primary, "go to" song used when singing was in order during those (hauling) tasks, rather than one incidental example of many songs of a particular type.

Anyway: Giving it a quick scan, most of the accounts of "Cheer'ly Man" in that early period (by no means limited to British accounts) call it a "song."

There are some other terms for various shipboard vocalizations, but it gets complicated. For example, it appears that French sailors did indeed use the word "chant" at one point in the 18th c.

The related interesting question is how/why did sailors eventually - or at least *some* sailors (because there is also the very nit-picky question of whether writers give a skewed perception) - start calling the work-songs "chanty". Even though I personally distinguish "Cheer'ly Man" as something belonging to a different category than what I would label a "chanty," there is much that I *would* label "chanty" that, nonetheless, is only described as "song" until late 1860s.

I believe that the lingo of "chanty" was borrowed from stevedores, and I think (I have evidence to support this somewhere, but it's too complicated to work out right now!) that the term "chantyman" had greater currency before "chanty." That is, the idea of a working song at sea was not new, though the concept of a masterful song-leader, in the style of Black American work gangs who retained such a specialist, was more novel. And so, the term "chantyman" became familiar to sailors as the person in those role in stevedore gangs, although at first what the chantyman and his crew sang were simply "songs."   

On a gratuitous side note: My feeling - enhanced by the times I have visited those places - is that New Orleans and Mobile (previously French part of Alabama) were such unique and amazing places that most people that have thought about chanties perhaps do not fully appreciate. I certainly have trouble doing so, beyond a vague "sense." When one stands in "Congo Square" - that unique meeting place that some people credit to the birth of all sorts of influential African-American musical forms - or when one walks around the French Quarter, with its buildings that feel (to me) like one could be on an island in the Caribbean... it's its own little world. The uniqueness and complexity of this world is easily overlooked when one tackles the broad concepts of "chanties" and "sailors" and "ships" etc. in the way that "we" have tended to do so, based on the various associations we've inherited having to do with those concepts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 07:42 AM

A bit of humor/humour related to this thread!

shanty man or chanty man


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 11:34 AM

Shanty, as would be defined as a dwelling, derives from the Gaelic "seann-taigh" (old house) pronounced something like "shawn-tie". Lumberwoods were heavily populated by Irish and Scotch Gaelic speakers using the words for the crude camps where they stayed while cutting logs throughout the winter. From that they came to be called shantymen, and although music and song was a vibrant part of their culture the term shanty may be simply a homonym to a sea chant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 01:28 PM

The only connections I have come across connecting the hut and the song are Doerflinger's book title and the claim of the songs sung by West Indian's when moving a shanty. I don't think there is a musical connection between the lumberjacks and seamen. Some men may have been involved in both trades but not using a musical connection.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 05:17 PM

The lumberjack's "shanty" has been derived from French "chantier" ( = work-site, camp) as well.

Believe it or not, the form /chantierman/ (sounds like "shantyman") appears in print at least a couple times, in reference to the lumbermen. IIRC, one instance makes a note about their particular musicality, and another brings up the word to show how French had been creolized (up North), the combo of a French word and an English morpheme.

I have so far rejected this information, as not particularly useful to the study of work-songs, however. There just aren't enough ties to context.

I have not rejected the possibility that "chantyman" is creolized French from another locale, or the possibility that the "chanty" component of it may derive from some familiar word like chantier (= dock) or chanteur (= singer) - e.g. to construct something like "singer-man" or "dock-man." To accept the latter as a possibility, it helps to consider my observation that "chantyman" may have been the word from which "chanty" is derived, rather than the other way around, and to remember that the first chantymen were stevedores.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 14 Jan 14 - 07:33 PM

Just been looking at the thread, "In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town." One of the first songs I learned as a kid back in 1932 (nine years old).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: GUEST,David C Kendall
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 06:50 AM

Well I'm going to have to join this group soon, because it's all just too interesting, and I thank you all for the lively debate, informative and entertaining. Having always heard and used the word pronounced as 'shantey' , I now live in France and I find that I am no longer a singer, but instead a chanteur, also pronounced in french with a 'sh'... I'm staying with the same pronunciation as always, with the assumption that 'chantey' is an adaptation of the french word 'chanson', which means 'song'... The french, by the way, have loads of sea chanties I would like to see eventually have better exposure in forums like these for their historical context at least. Thanks, all!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 07:35 AM

Somewhere on this thread (or a similar one) is nineteenth-century evidence (unearthed by us) that "shanty/chantey" is indeed related to French "chanter."

So I've mostly switched my own spelling.

Not that it makes any real difference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Airymouse
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 09:35 AM

You guys are way over my head, but here are a few random thoughts:
I've heard "chaps" (the leather kind) called "shaps". Somebody above used the word "schism". That word has a really hard ch (to pronounce) because it's silent. "Schism" gives history buffs fits, but luckily they seem to be able to handle the silent ch in "fuchsia." Finger's book of songs collected in 1897 is called "Sailor Chanties and Cowboy Songs." "Welsh rarebit" like "Jaws Harp" goes back centuries, but my favorite entry in Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary is,
RAREBIT, n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it must be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad-in-the-hole is really not a toad, and that riz-de-veau a la financiere is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she banker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 17 Sep 14 - 11:07 AM

How about Jerry Bryant's ditty to the tune of (and parodying) "A Shanty In Old Shantytown"?

If I post the lyrics, it WON'T be from my iPad!

Linn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 12:50 PM

ONLY A SHANTY IN OLD SHANTY-TOWN

by Jerry Bryant

It's only a shanty in old shanty-town
Away you, Santee, and blow the man down.
Where Haul Away Joe goes down to Hilo
And Stormalong's drinkin' with Reuben Ranzo.
Shallow Brown, Hieland Laddie, and Jack's in cahoots,
And so we will pay Paddy Doyle for his boots,
And with Boney we'll roll that old woodpile on down
To a shanty in old shanty-town.

I'm not losing any sleep over the spelling of the word referring to maritime work songs. And I think most agree it's pronounced "shanty" at least since sailors' use of the term in the 1850s.

Linn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 01:40 PM

Like Jon I moved quite a while ago to using 'chantey' which I was led to believe was older, and it doesn't get so confused, 'shanty' having other meanings which may or may not be related. But like Linn I'm happy to see either. Plenty of other words have alternative spellings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Shanty or Chantey?
From: Q
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 01:17 PM

This argument goes round and round.
In the words of the immortal Alfred E. Neuman, "What, me worry?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 October 5:16 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.