This groundbreaking comparative study of dangerous-class slangs in use across ten countries, from Europe to the Americas, brings to light the common influences that have helped to shape them over the last five hundred years. (Facing French and English translation)
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Alice Becker-Ho has written extensively on the etymology and history of European slang. Her Les Princes du Jargon, L'Essence du Jargon and Du Jargon, heritier en bastardie are all published by editions Galliamard. She has also published translations of Edgar Allan Poe and a collection of her own poems (all editions Le Temps Qu'il Fait, Cognac). Her Paroles de Gitans is published by editions Albin Michel, Paris in their Paroles series. John McHale has translated Alice Becker-Ho's Les Princes du Jargon [The Princes of Jargon], L'Essence du Jargon [The Essence of Jargon] and Au Pays du Sommeil Paradoxal [In Slumberpuzzleland]. He has also translated Guy Debord's La Veritable Scission dans l'Internationale [The Real Split in the International] (Pluto Press) and Panegyrique Volume 2 [Panegyric Volume 2] (Verso Books).Review:
"It is always controversial to challenge the minimalist view of borrowings from one language to another, and even more so when the challenge comes from someone outside academia. In The Princes of Jargon, Alice Becker-Ho argues that the mere twenty acknowledged borrowings from Romani to French argot should be expanded by one hundred or so, and if any of her suggestions turn out to be valid, her work will have value for both Romani and French argot studies. John McHale has performed a service by making Becker-Ho's book accessible to an English-reading audience. I welcome its publication." Professor Gerald Cohen, University of Missouri-Rolla "One of the most challenging and rewarding achievements for the etymologist and/or lexicographer is to discover a new origin for an old word..... The etymologies of slang words are without doubt the most slippery of lexical eels to catch and hold on to: associations, metaphors, deformations and importations all muddy the water. And so it is a pleasure to follow Alice Becker-Ho in her etymological meanderings through the influence of Romani on the jargon of dangerous classes." - (From the Preface) Malcolm Offord, University of Nottingham "While it has long been acknowledged that among the sources of slang, especially cant or criminal slang, Romani, the Gypsy tongue, had a role to play, that role has never yet been properly explored. Now, in the Princes of Jargon, Alice Becker-Ho has created a groundbreaking and illuminating remedy to this omission. Romani, to her, is not just a contributor; it is the very 'mother tongue' of European canting. As readers will find, Ms Becker-Ho is a welcome rarity among most of those who write on slang: she not only understands the language, she admits to appreciating it.....Becker-Ho revels in her gypsy coiners: it is to his credit that John McHale, in translating her work, has ensured that those who enjoy slang and its stories may now revel in her work." - Jonathon Green, Author of Cassell Dictionary of Slang"
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