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Shanty - Irish origin, or not?

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 3,185 asdasd


    The online etymology dictionary says not

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shanty

    Claims that it is from the French Canadian: Chantier.

    I would think, however, that the fact that the Irish for old house [Sean Tigh] exactly transliterates as Shanty , would tell in it's favour.

    Why would a builders house, or a log cabin be the source of a word for an decrepit building - since either could be fairly nicely appointed.

    OTH, I suppose, you could argue that shanty towns are new buildings, not old. But the term Sean Tigh was often used for decrepit buildings.


Comments



  • Chantier in French means works or work site, it may stem from be the temporary housing associated with some type of work like laying roads, railways, forestry etc. Typically shanty towns are occupied by poor migrant workers so that strengthens the link I think




  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary says the word is of 19th C North American origin and gives the same etymology as the website you reference.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_cognate




  • Quite possibly linked to the French-Canadian forestry industry.




  • Hagar wrote: »
    Quite possibly linked to the French-Canadian forestry industry.

    I'd be thinking either this or else the trapping industry (Hudson's Bay Company) where trading posts were set up on the trapping routes that were little more than modern day shanty towns. Though they spoke English... Maybe be French referred to their settlements like this is a perhaps derogatory way?




  • I think it comes very simply from the French word - chanter or chanté (to sing or sung) - (and Wikipedia agrees with me). In French it's called - un chant de marin and there are some that have come directly from English into French - Le Père Winslow for example.


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  • asdasd wrote: »
    ...I would think, however, that the fact that the Irish for old house [Sean Tigh] exactly transliterates as Shanty , would tell in it's favour...
    Except the Irish for old house is not Sean Tigh. In Irish the adjective comes after the noun i.e. big house = tigh (or teach) mhor




  • mathepac wrote: »
    Except the Irish for old house is not Sean Tigh. In Irish the adjective comes after the noun i.e. big house = tigh (or teach) mhor
    An tí mór/an tí beag, yes.
    But you wouldn't say "An tí sean", you'd say 'An sean tí" - wouldn't you??
    (even if spelled incorrectly)




  • slowburner wrote: »
    ...
    But you wouldn't say "An tí sean", you'd say 'An sean tí" - wouldn't you??
    ...
    Why, this is Irish, not "everything-obeys-its-own-rules- English, don'cha know"? :D

    AFAIK the only time an adjective precedes a noun in Irish is when you are making a new compound word which becomes a new noun. e.g. maragadh = market, all = giant or big, da bhri sinn, allmaragadh (or even allmharagadh?) = supermarket.




  • Hagar wrote: »
    Quite possibly linked to the French-Canadian forestry industry.

    I've just asked my Quebécoise sister-in-law, a professor of comparative linguistics, about this word, and she told me that it was derived from one of the more widely-used Quebéc French dialects to denote a temporary lumbercamp - chantiers - note that is was always used in the plural. She should know - her father ran a lumber haulage trucking business up-river from Montréal for about forty years.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that she is talking a load of total carp - we never got on in the last thirty years, even though I'm the only other French-speaker in our family.

    Edit - I got called back at three this morning by Marie-Christine to tell me that 'chantiers' were a kind of a crane used to move lumber about. SHE didn't care about waking me up - we have a mutual loathing of each other, just like any self-respecting Canadians of two different cultures.

    tac




  • I made a mistake, I thought you were talking about the songs sailors sing (or sung) and the man who led the singing - you're talking about buildings.
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=shanty


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  • mathepac wrote: »
    Why, this is Irish, not "everything-obeys-its-own-rules- English, don'cha know"? :D

    AFAIK the only time an adjective precedes a noun in Irish is when you are making a new compound word which becomes a new noun. e.g. maragadh = market, all = giant or big, da bhri sinn, allmaragadh (or even allmharagadh?) = supermarket.

    "Sean", like "droch", is an Irish adjective that always (or at least in every instance I've ever come across) attaches and makes a compound word, appearing before the noun it describes and not after.

    To say "the old road" in Irish, *an bóthar sean is incorrect; it's an seanbhóthar.




  • Yes, sean always attaches to the front of a word. Old house would be seanteach, often spelled "sean-teach" or "sean teach". Tí is the genitive case of teach and tigh is the dative, so:

    doras an tseantí = the door of the old house
    ar an seantigh = on the old house

    It's unlikely English would borrow a genitive or dative form, so the word is not from Irish.




  • Ah - 'chantiers' - a manually-operated gantry crane used in the logging industry. A 'plural' word, like scissors, trousers, gallows.

    SHE has spoged.

    tac




  • Enkidu wrote: »
    Yes, sean always attaches to the front of a word. Old house would be seanteach, often spelled "sean-teach" or "sean teach". Tí is the genitive case of teach and tigh is the dative, so:

    doras an tseantí = the door of the old house
    ar an seantigh = on the old house

    It's unlikely English would borrow a genitive or dative form, so the word is not from Irish.

    Good point.




  • tac foley wrote: »
    Ah - 'chantiers' - a manually-operated gantry crane used in the logging industry. A 'plural' word, like scissors, trousers, gallows.

    SHE has spoged.

    tac
    Do the québecois pronounce the "s" in plurals?
    I ask cos they tend not to in France!




  • No they wouldn't usually, as far as I know.




  • Enkidu wrote: »
    Yes, sean always attaches to the front of a word. Old house would be seanteach, often spelled "sean-teach" or "sean teach". Tí is the genitive case of teach and tigh is the dative, so:

    doras an tseantí = the door of the old house
    ar an seantigh = on the old house

    It's unlikely English would borrow a genitive or dative form, so the word is not from Irish.

    Why not ? they might not have known that they were borrowing from the Genative or Dative, just the word that the poor migrants were using to describe the dwellings.

    Given there were Hundreads of Thousands more poor Irish migrants living in Shanty towns in England and North America at that time than there were Canadian Lumberjacks , it is far more likely it comes from Irish.

    There seems for what ever reason to be very poor recognition of words of Irish origin in English.




  • deirdremf wrote: »
    Do the québecois pronounce the "s" in plurals?
    I ask cos they tend not to in France!

    Non.

    tac




  • Me, I like the Irish derivation. The 'ould house' has a certain resonance about it.

    Like Baltimore...

    tac




  • daithicarr wrote: »
    Why not ? they might not have known that they were borrowing from the Genative or Dative, just the word that the poor migrants were using to describe the dwellings.
    In Irish, the nominative form is used ~80% of the time. Outside of personal names, English has not borrowed the genitive form of any Irish word outside of two possible cases.

    Tigh, the dative, would have been pronounced seanatigh, which under normal borrowing rules between Irish and English (g -> c) would have produced Shanatic, a bit far from Shanty.

    So it could only have been borrowed from the genitive, which is quite unlikely given the relative frequency of the forms (keep in mind that it is a universal property of word transfer between languages that the most common case form is transferred, although there are exceptions, it is rare.)

    Considering this and the fact that the word has an attested etymology from French, I'd say it probably isn't from Irish. English actually has surprisingly few borrowings from Irish given their proximity.


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  • daithicarr wrote: »
    Why not ? they might not have known that they were borrowing from the Genative or Dative, just the word that the poor migrants were using to describe the dwellings.

    Given there were Hundreads of Thousands more poor Irish migrants living in Shanty towns in England and North America at that time than there were Canadian Lumberjacks , it is far more likely it comes from Irish.

    There seems for what ever reason to be very poor recognition of words of Irish origin in English.

    I've just read this post again - 'Shanty towns in England'?

    Where?

    Are you referring to the accommodations for the Irish navigators [navvies] who built the canals or the Irish who built the railways?

    If so, then I'd agree with you, especially where large projects like the tunnels and viaducts on both systems were concenred that required a pool of workers located handily for long-term work habitation.

    But apart from those, there were no 'shanty-town's in England.

    tac




  • daithicarr wrote: »
    Why not ? they might not have known that they were borrowing from the Genative or Dative, just the word that the poor migrants were using to describe the dwellings.

    Given there were Hundreads of Thousands more poor Irish migrants living in Shanty towns in England and North America at that time than there were Canadian Lumberjacks , it is far more likely it comes from Irish.

    There seems for what ever reason to be very poor recognition of words of Irish origin in English.

    Prejudice that most today thankfully can't even imagine, would be the main driver for writing the Irish out of history.

    Think your ideas of origin are much more likely, I always thought the historical use of shanty was originally used to reference the poor or temporary shacks in the 'West Indies' where the Irish in numbers certainly were and certainly left a influence on dialect and language.
    If you asked someone in 1970's Ireland or for that matter England 'where a shanty would be'? they would typically say in Jamaica or somewhere in the West Indies, no one would be even thinking Canada.

    As for the song term!
    An actual study of history reveals that the Sea Shanty song is definitively from old Irish origins, regardless of the regurgitated supposed French origins guesswork on Wikipedia.




  • The word originates in North America in the 1820s, well before the mass immigration of poor Irish migrants who ended up living in anything that could be called a shanty-town. It comes from Canada and the upper midwest of the United States, which was then lumber country, and this reinforces the view that its origin more likely to be in the lumber industry, and not in slums teeming with Irish migrants. There are also the rare but attested words shanty-man (a lumber worker); shanty-gang and shanty-team (in both cases, an organised group of lumber-workers). It comes from the french chantier, a wood-store or wood-yard, later a lumber-camp, later the buildings erected in a lumber-camp, and "shanty" comes from the last of these senses.

    Shanty, in the sense of a sailor's song, is a later arrival. It doesn't turn up in English until about 1870, it orginates in British English rather than American English and some of the earliest citations spell it "chanty". It has always been regarded as derived from the French chanter, to sing.




  • This is an old thread, but it is still relevant, so...

    Shanty towns did not imply old buildings, the word shanty implies temporary, rough built buildings.


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