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Posted: 20 February 2013 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Are younger Britons really completely unaware of the older linguistic usage?  That strikes me as unlikely, or at least surprising, since it is so ubiquitous in pre-decimalization books, movies, etc.; it’s not some obscure bit of information you “had to be there” to know.  I mean, modern Russians don’t shake their heads in puzzlement when serfs are mentioned, even though there haven’t been serfs for a century and a half.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Modern young Russians are obviously superior. QED.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I’m sure modern Brits are “aware” of shillings but to automatically understand that “one and two” refers to shillings and pence is a different matter. Couldn’t it just as easily refer to other denominations?

“Serf” is a well known word with a stable definition, I think it’s unfair to compare it to a rather open expression like “one and two” that could have lots of possible interpretations.

Just my two cents....

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Posted: 20 February 2013 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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"One and two” may have been an everyday expression in Ireland, but I don’t think it ever was one in England. Two shillings and sixpence would have been “two and six”, admittedly; but one shilling and two pence would have been “one and tuppence”. I never before saw, or heard, the term “one and two” (gave up on Finnegan’s Wake on page two --- lack of moral fibre, or of literary appreciation, or of both, I guess)

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Posted: 21 February 2013 01:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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"One and two” for 1s 2d sounds all right to me, but “one and tuppence” does too. 1s 1d would usually be “one and a penny” and to my ears “one and one” doesn’t sound right, but its meaning would be clear in the right context.

Given that it’s 42 years since the UK went decimal, I’m prepared to accept that memories are a touch hazy!

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Posted: 21 February 2013 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I agree with you, Doc; ‘one and two’ sounds perfectly natural to me.

There’s so much in 20th-century British popular culture that’s probably a mystery to anyone less than 50 years old. How many young people could make sense of this George Formby song lyric ?

Now there’s all sorts of medicines that you can buy
No matter what ailment you’ve got
But I know a special one you ought to try
You’ll find it’s the best of the lot
Its my Auntie Maggie’s home made remedy, it’s guaranteed never to fail
That’s the stuff that will do the trick
It’s sold at every chemist for one and a kick.
Now if you’ve got lumbago, rheumatics or gout, or a pain in your Robert E. Lee
Don’t kick up a shindy, you’ll never get windy with Auntie Maggie’s Remedy

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Posted: 21 February 2013 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Well, I bow to the greater experience of you native anglos. I remember George Formby and his banjo very well - but how much is one and a kick?

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Posted: 21 February 2013 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I never before saw, or heard, the term “one and two”

Nor have I and I suspect it’s an Irish regionalism.  It was always, as you say, “one/a shilling and a penny/one and tuppence/threepence (pronounced thruppence), fourpence, fivepence, sevenpence, eightpence, ninepence, tenpence, elevenpence, but I suppose halfway is a marker, hence “one and six”.  On the other hand, I’ve heard “one pound one/two/three (occasionally with “shillings") etc and a penny/tuppence/threepence etc.”

More to the point, in the UK we’d say “one and tuppence a pound”, not “the” pound.  Again, I suspect Irish dialect which sounds unfamiliar.

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Posted: 21 February 2013 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I’m told by a slang website that kick is old slang for sixpence.  I have no idea how reliable the website is, as it gives no citations, but it seems plausible FWIW.  I suspect a pun is at play, too, as kick can also, of course, refer to a “thrill.”

I also had to look up “Robert E. Lee” (I guessed it was rhyming slang, but couldn’t guess what it referred to) which the same website indicates is rhyming slang for things including “knee”, “key”, and “pee.” “Knee” seems like the obvious choice, but, again, a play on words does not seem out of the question, as key is a slang term for a certain part of the male anatomy (I refer, of course, to the Adam’s apple.)

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Posted: 22 February 2013 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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I suspect a pun is at play, too, as kick can also, of course, refer to a “thrill.”

I don’t think it can be, because according to the OED the ‘thrill’ sense of kick is only recorded from 1840, whereas ‘sixpence’ sense is defined (as thieves’ cant?) in a book entitled Street-robberies Consider’d, published in 1700.

[ Edited: 05 March 2013 01:16 AM by Syntinen Laulu ]
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Posted: 05 March 2013 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Going back to VB’s excellent citation from At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien:

I surveyed my uncle in a sullen manner. He speared a portion of cooked rasher against a crust on the prongs of his fork and poised the whole at the opening of his mouth in a token of continued interrogation.

Description of my uncle: Red-faced, bead-eyed, ball-bellied. Fleshy about the shoulders with long swinging arms giving ape-like effect to gait. Large moustache. Holder of Guinness clerkship the third class.

I do, I replied.

He put the point of his fork into the interior of his mouth and withdrew it again, chewing in a coarse manner.

Quality of rasher in use in household: Inferior, one and two the pound.

- last weekend I was in Spain for a historical re-enactment (the liberation of Zaragoza from the French, FWIW) where I encountered a group of Irish re-enactors. One of them, who said he was from Leinster, remarked that the Irish Army’s role in WWII had consisted of ‘sitting around in coal-scuttle helmets, looking out to sea with binoculars, drinking tea and cooking rashers’. And that’s something we wouldn’t generally say in the UK; we’d say ‘cooking bacon’. So it does seem as though the word has a slightly wider application in Ireland.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 01:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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"Kick” is defined as sixpence in Bailey’s Canting dictionary of 1737.

KICK, Six-pence: Two, Three, Four, &c. and a Kick; Two, Three, Four, &c. Shillings and Six-pence.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 02:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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The New Canting Dictionary of 1725 has the same definition. It’s probably one of Bailey’s dictionaries too, although his name does not appear on the title page.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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I don’t think it can be, because according to the OED the ‘thrill’ sense of kick is only recorded from 1840, whereas ‘sixpence’ sense is defined (as thieves’ cant?) in a book entitled Street-robberies Consider’d, published in 1700.

But Formby was writing much later.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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One and two sounds fine to me, such constructions (one and three, two and four, five and nine) were common then, at least in London and the South, living happily alongside one and tuppence, one and thruppence. Of course, if a smaller coin was involved it was always the latter form, eg three and fivepence ha’penny, tuppence farthing.

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