Tag Archives: language

Resources: Canting Dictionaries

To round off this series of posts on canting language, here are links to those pre-Victorian cant, slang and jargon vocabularies freely available on the internet. More are to be found in various subscription archives; these are not listed here … Continue reading

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Shadwell’s Glossary

As the online version is missing it, I present here the glossary that accompanied Shadwell’s The Squire Of Alsatia, comprising the cant terms used in that play. Taken from the 1688 text, and checked against the critical edition by J.C. … Continue reading

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The Language of Alsatia: earliest uses

When was the word ‘Alsatia’ first applied to Whitefriars? Cunningham’s Handbook of London (1850) states: “ALSATIA. A cant name given before 1623 to the precinct of Whitefriars, then and long after a notorious place of refuge and retirement for persons … Continue reading

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The Milford Lane Bermudas

The major problem with the historical slang discussed in the previous post is that our main source for it, the canting vocabularies, cannot be taken as proof of what was actually voiced. Not only do contemporary dictionaries dramatically transform the … Continue reading

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The Language of Alsatia: Cant, Analogy and Toponyms

‘Alsatia’ was not only a name for Whitefriars and a generic term for places outside the law, but also an example of a linguistic practice of ‘toponymic analogy’: bestowing a foreign place name upon a local area on the basis … Continue reading

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Laroon’s “Squire of Alsatia”

Marcellus Laroon was born in 1649 in the Hague, and brought to Britain by his father, an artist, around 1660. After serving an apprenticeship as a painter and working in Yorkshire, he settled in London around the mid 1670s, setting … Continue reading

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