[Ads-l] For want of an apostrophe ... [correction to the OED]

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Tue Mar 28 18:16:04 EDT 2017


The original text in Richard Head's _The English Rogue_ (1665) reads:

(Head)   "Some of the men were all bloody, and their Mobs Scarfs and Hoods all
rent, and
none of them sober: ..."

The OED repunctuates thus:

(OED)   "Their Mobs, Scarfs, and Hoods all rent."  

[Actually, what I hadn't noted before, the OED also decides to capitalise
"Their", so the OED makes three changes to Head's original text, against my one.
 That's not even counting the colon-to-full-stop change in the OED.]

(Hamilton)   "Some of the men were all bloody, and their Mobs' Scarfs and Hoods
all rent, and
none of them sober: ..."

Both repunctuations make sense -- they do, however, make a different sense.  

Context is all, quoth the Preacher ...

Robin

[Also, there's this, which I hadn't known till I thought to check in the wake of
Joel's post:

Nouns and adjectives

As in modern English, the only regular noun inflection was the -s ending of the
genitive and plural: irregular plurals were mostly the same as those that have
survived into recent English. The use of an apostrophe in the genitive singular
was optional in the sixteenth century; it was frequent in the seventeenth, but
only became established around 1700. *In the genitive plural the apostrophe was
not used in this period.* [My emphasis.]

Coincidentally, that's from elsewhere on the OED website --
http://public.oed.com/aspects-of-english/english-in-time/grammar-in-early-modern-english/

R.]


> 
>     On 28 March 2017 at 22:14 Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> 
> 
>     Yes, a mob cap.  My first interpretation.  And no apostrophe -- they're
> all plurals.
> 
> 
>     Joel
> 
> 
>     From: Amy West <medievalist at W-STS.COM>
>     To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>     Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 8:04 AM
>     Subject: Re: [ADS-L] For want of an apostrophe ... [correction to the OED]
> 
>     On 3/28/17 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
>     > Date:    Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:51:52 +0100
>     > From:    Robin Hamilton<robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
>     > Subject: For want of an apostrophe ... [correction to the OED]
>     >
>     > Not quite a hanging matter, but the absence of an apostrophe causes the
>     > OED to
>     > provide a false citation for MOB, n1, "†2. A loose informal garment for
>     > a woman;
>     > = dishabille n. 2. Also mob-dress. Obs."
>     >
>     > The problem with this entry is the first citation.  This reads, as the
>     > OED gives
>     > it:
>     >
>     > "1665 R. Head Eng. Rogue I. sig. F5v, Their Mobs, Scarfs, and Hoods all
>     > rent."
> 
>     There's a style of historical cap called a "mob cap". "Mob" here makes
>     sense to me not as a garment but as a cap: The list would then be all
>     headgear.
> 
>     ---Amy West
> 
> 
>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> 
> 
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