Sailors' Language - Mutinous Songs p.x

This extract introduces a number of sailors' songs. Each of the songs tells of the hardship of life at sea: 'I snubb'd skipper for bad grub, rotten flour to eat'; 'Sue the swindling dealer who'd our health destroy'; 'our mercantile marine, cramm'd with measly pork'. The threat of mutiny bubbles beneath the surface of these lyrics. You may also detect a hint of xenophobia.

About Sailors' Language


This collection of sea-terms is a fascinating lexicon of odd words and phrases. Most of words listed in the book would be incomprehensible to 'landlubbers' - as the author states in the preface, ' sailors' talk is a dialect as distinct from ordinary English as Hindustanee is, or Chinese.' As well as technical terms referring to various parts of the ship, the book is full of language that reveals the hardships of life at sea.

Taken from: Sailors' Language
Author / Creator: W Clark Russell
Publisher: Gilbert and Rivington Ltd
Date: 1883
Copyright: By permission of the British Library
Shelfmark: 2278.b.4