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Books and Odd Words

June 10, 2012

"thoughts from the corner"

Again we, here, at ‘Experienced Tutors‘ welcome back Professor Serendip for his regular look at book culled and books experienced. As one giving private English tuition it is not very often that I have the opportunity to consider carrots – especially ‘Dirty Carrots’! The Prof. now gives us all the opportunity. Grab it (the opportunity, not the carrot) with both hands.

"private english tuition"


Excerpts from

Books that have been unnecessarily culled by libraries

Books that have been serendipitously encountered

Books that need to be saved for browsers


Edward Moor Suffolk Words and Phrases; or An Attempt to Collect the Lingual Localisms of that County (Woodbridge and London 1823) pp. 217-218

Though this passage describing Londoners’ finicky preference for utterly straight carrots may just be arch humour [didn’t we witness the E.U. in a panic over bendy bananas some years ago? – Ed.], there may be some factual foodways described here that might otherwise elude us. Some retailers’ standards and specifications might be thought of as at this point. This book on regional speech was culled by a library.

‘. . . the contempt (I beg pardon) which I was taught to entertain for the ignorance of the Lunnonners, compared with ourselves, in one particular. It was their preferring , long, straight, regularly shaped carrots, to the furcated cringled, skranshlin diminutive ones, which we (who filled ourselves once or twice every day with the raw article while in season) knew by the best of all tests, to be so much superior. To see our people pick out ship loads of the well shaped roots, to send to town, rejecting for us, as it were, those above described, so much superior, was a standing joke; and, as I have said, excited both our contempt and our pity.’

Serendipists who doubt that the whole of knowledge can be derived from books and digitised sources will tell you another facet of carrot lore which was discovered by walking along a street in Nantwich in Cheshire. In a Pepper Street greengrocer’s display was a heap of carrots. Over it a sign proudly proclaimed ‘Dirty Carrots’. A passer-by said that it was ‘well-known’ that unwashed carrots kept longer when stored.

Some would like to receive som information about cringled, and skranshlin. The compiler was too idle to chase around for a library that has on open shelves the six volumes of Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary.

"long distance learning"

Food for thought indeed!

Although in private tutoring, whether it be home tuition in an actual one to one situation or even long distance learning via Skype, email or the  the telephone, I have never discussed the words ‘cringled’ or even ‘skranshlin’. Perhaps now is the time!

Prof. Serendip. will return in the near future to rescue, from the skip, further words of wisdom.

From → Books

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