Wednesday, December 23

The Vulgar Tongue

Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue
by Francis Grosse

A Book Review by Tony Gerard

There are probably few re-enactors unaware of this little gem! Originally published in 1785, it was republished again in 1796, and then again in 1811. I found reprints of all three versions available. The book is a wonderful collection of English slang, mostly lower class, used in the later 18th and early 19th century. The 1811 printing was added to by college students of the time, but they usually identify their college slang as such when it appears.

The value of this little text for first person interpretation of a "lower decks" sailor is beyond measure -and it's fun! It amazing to see how many slang expressions have made it into the 21st century- for example "pig" for a policeman. Many expressions are identified as sailors slang, and Grosse was not shy about including lots of sexual terms!

If you're a first person re-enactor doing an English persona this book is a must have!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent recommandation, thank you very much! The electronic version can be downloaded for free on Amazon by the way.

    Best regards,