Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Vocabulary

Prince Caspian

Chapter 1
  • Term-time. In American schools, we usually refer to “semesters,” “trimesters” or “quarters.” In college, though, we still refer at times to “term papers,” but usually the word “term” is reserved for a prison sentence. For the Pevensie kids, this just meant it was time to go back to school.
  • Boarding School. Sure, we all know this is a type of school you go to live at. But why “boarding”? Because “board” is what we now refer to as “meals.” A “boarding house,” in which many of our grandparents and great-grandparents lived in the years following the Great Depression, offered both “room” and “board” for the price of rent.
Chapter 2
  • Dais. Okay, the big deal here is not what the word itself means. It’s a raised platform. The question is, how do you pronounce it? The answer: “day-iss.”
  • Jiggered. To be confused or confounded; from archaic British. Perhaps, to be lost or taken advantage of in a back alley.
  • Pomona. A wood-nymph known for her cultivation of fruit. She is the principal character of a fable recorded by Bulfinch.
  • Electric Torch. A two-dollar word for “flashlight.” Of course, we easily forget than fifty or so years ago a flashlight was a much bigger deal than it is now.
Chapter 3
  • Schools Baths. Swimming pools. Swimming pools!
  • Wars of the Roses. Not a reference to that movie starring Michael Douglas, just so we’re clear. This is reference to violent struggles over the succession to the British throne.
Chapter 4
  • Apartments. Rooms within a dwelling space. In America, we’d just say “apartment,” probably.
  • Siccus. An ancient and learned medical doctor.
  • Buskins. Soft, slipper-like leather shoes.
  • The Leads. Flat roofed areas of a castle, covered in sheets of lead.
Chapter 5
  • Recorder. Not a primitive MP3 maker, but a musical instrument of the whistle family.
  • The Orbo. A large lute. Not very helpful? Okay, I’ll also tell you that the lute was a forerunner of the mandolin. So since the mandolin is like a small violinish (but strummed and picked) guitar, the orbo must have been a violinish guitar.
  • Wallet. Not the thing you stick in your back pocket. Heavens, no. Caspian’s pockets couldn’t have been that big. No. A wallet of this sort is a knapsack (or backpack, of you don’t know what a knapsack is).
  • Career. A full-speed run.
Chapter 6
  • Water-butt. A portable water container. Think of a Gatorade barrel, only made out of wood.
  • Gay. Just happy. My, wasn’t life simpler fifty years ago?
Chapter 8
  • Seneschal. The main butler or steward.
  • Sucks. Wow. I was kind of surprised to see Lewis use this expression. I really don’t know how he intended it. Possibly, this is a shortened version of the aphorism about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, which would make it an expression conveying uselessness.
  • Cricket-bat. Okay, it’s kind of odd to be discussing the game of cricket in connection to Narnia. But this is a reference to the revered British game of bat-and-ball, not a reference to a device designed to injure insects.
  • Poop. A section of the deck of a ship; specifically, a weather deck at the stern (back). So a “feast on the poop” isn’t what it sounds like at first. Think context!
Chapter 9
  • Bally. Used kind of as a substitute for the stronger “bloody.” Think of a mild term that a polite child might use instead of an expletive.
Chapter 12
  • Cantrips. A trick.
Chapter 13
  • Monomachy. Single combat, usually in the form of a duel.
  • Pomely. Dappled, or spotted.
  • Dastard. Not a misspelling. Think “dastardly.” A coward.
Chapter 14
  • Football. Everywhere but America, this means soccer. So I suppose that’s the case in Narnia, too!
Chapter 15
  • Mazers. A large drinking bowl, probably wooden.
  • Canny. Careful and shrewd. Not really the opposite of “uncanny.”

2 Comments:

Blogger Teacher24_70 said...

Just curious about the vocabulary lists that you include. At the end of the article, you list vocabulary words by chapter. On the right hand side of the web page, you include another (different) list of vocabulary words. They are not alphabetical and I'm not sure the significance of the order.

What's the difference between the two different lists and what's the order for the right-hand column list?

7/08/2005 5:37 PM  
Blogger Greg Wright said...

Each month, I assemble a vocabulary list for the book we're covering. The current list appears in the blog sidebar. I do it this way so that the current vocabulary list will run with each of the month's articles. The words and phrases are listed in the order they appear in the book.

When the current month's articles are archived, I then turn the vocabulary list into a separate post that's archived with that month's files.

So, in this case, the vocabulary list above is for Prince Caspian, being archived with June's articles, and the sidbar vocabulary is for Dawn Treader.

The system is by no means perfect, but the blog technology is not terribly flexible.

Does that help?

Thanks for at least paying attention to the vocabulary! I have an awful lot of fun preparing it.

7/12/2005 9:35 PM  

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