[DWJ] offtopic dialect question

Elizabeth Bentley elizabeth at wardrobe-on-the-web.com
Thu Mar 2 15:01:27 EST 2006

I once read a book which had a reference to Kenwigses, which made it clear
that it was plaits that were being so described. I checked this out and
found this is a Dickens reference - Nicholas Nickleby: "Mrs Kenwigs, too,
was quite a lady in her manners, and of a very genteel family,
having an uncle who collected a water-rate; besides which
distinction, the two eldest of her little girls went twice a week to
a dancing school in the neighbourhood, and had flaxen hair, tied
with blue ribbons, hanging in luxuriant pigtails down their backs"

Elizabeth Bentley, Head of Learning Resources
Northbrook C of E School, London, UK
mailto:elizabeth at wardrobe-on-the-web.com
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 On 27/2/06 11:50, "minnow at belfry.org.uk" <minnow at belfry.org.uk> wrote:

> When I think about this, it occurs to me that I haven't ever met a pig with
> long, loose hair for a tail.  Tightly plaited hair sticking out sideways a
> little just does *look* more like the tail of a pig than hair fastened with
> a band near the head and then allowed to hang loose does.
> I'm grateful to the list for making me think about this: I am now in the
> process of mentally evolving the Tuft-Tailed Hairy Lapp Pig, which seems a
> charming creature and one that probably would have long hair like a pony's
> for its tail; I have no particular use for such a creature, and it would be
> the devil and all to groom, but I am getting rather fond of it.  Any
> suggestions about colour?  I don't think it's black like a Vietnamese pig.
> It does have a tip-tilted snout, though, as the Chinese and Vietnamese pigs
> tend to.  Says "runk" rather than "oink", lives indoors by choice and is
> fully housetrained from birth or a very short time afterwards.  Likes being
> stroked or combed, and gruntles continuously when this is done.  Too large
> to be a comfortable lap-pig, so no puns on the name are appropriate.
> Erm... back onto the original question!
> Just to complicate things a bit, the 1933 S.O.D. doesn't allow of more than
> one pigtail on an individual, giving the definition as "(1688) a plait or
> queue of hair hanging down from the back of the head, applied /spec./ to
> that worn formerly by soldiers and sailors, and still occasionally by young
> girls, and now /esp./ to that customary among the Chinese (1753)".  (A
> "queue" is "a long plait of hair hanging down behind".)  So having more
> than one pigtail would be a bit strange by their standards, and what they
> would make of one of those beautiful Negro many-tiny-plait hairstyles I
> can't begin to imagine.


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