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BTT: Vocabulary

April 18, 2008

Suggested by Nithin:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

Most of the time, I try to figure out the meaning based on the context. I will look words up if that fails. Though picking up a dictionary is dangerous, because I have a habit of browsing thought it.

But what do you do when you’re reading Georgette Heyer, and haven’t taken “Regency Speak 101”? I just finished April Lady. Nell’s brother, Lord Dysart, tells his sister her owes his friend Mr. Fancot a monkey. Normally, a reader would think “small mammal with a banana fixation” — and why would Nell care if he did. And knowing Dysart’s involvement in schemes for the sake of a bet, it would have seemed logical to assume it did.

Except it doesn’t. Not in this case, anyway. In context, I knew it had to relate to money and/or gambling. “Monkey” in this case it means £500.

I’m slowly making my way through Heyer’s historicals, so I’m getting better at comprehending what the characters are saying to one another. Fortunately, there are sites like Good Ton and the Georgette Heyer fan site that lits of many of the terms. However, I’ve yet to discover what the title of the book means. I’m assuming that “April”, in this case, means more than “the fourth month in the Georgian calendar.” 😀

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2008 6:39 pm

    I just learned something new! A “monkey” means 500 pounds. I love that. 🙂

  2. April 18, 2008 6:54 pm

    I often try to figure out the meaning of a word in context too. And I treasure books that include a glossary if there are a lot of technical or foreign words I’m unfamiliar with.

  3. misscz permalink
    April 20, 2008 12:41 am

    Maree – pony in “Regency speak” means 25 pounds. 😀

    Wendy — Glossary’s are good. A must for the multi-book epic fantasies.

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