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Thread: The jargon of stalking

  1. #1

    The jargon of stalking

    There’s endless discussion about points of law, reloading technique, and the kit in use on SD so I’ve moved on to deerstalking jargon.

    In a post on another thread I pointed out that as “gralloching” was a made-up word the misspelling of it was excusable and understandable. Everyone knows what it’s meant to mean, and it is definitely slang whether or not it appears on Google or in Wikipedia.
    Some of the folks on here including Admin from over the border have posted that this is a valid word, even an English word. It falls to the English to maintain that no matter what’s online it’s wrong, and that this is a dubious Scottish addition to the lexicon.

    You can switch off now if you want to because you might find the next bit a bit boring, but others might have something useful to add if they read it through. There might be an expert out there. I’ve tried my best to explain things by highlighting some bits.

    The useof the term “gralloch”can only have come from the gaelic noun “greallach(guts,intestines). I think this term has been corrupted and widened over time by the Scots, and accepted unwittingly by the English. It’s easy to see how. Delivered in a heavy accent by a celt eviscerating a carcass it could be remembered as “gralloch”. It sounds authentic, and is suitably rugged & Scottish.

    Now, in English we can take our own noun “the guts”, derive the verb “to gut” from it, and use “gutting” as a description for the whole process. In the field of deerstalking someone has done the same thing by taking the gaelic noun greallach”, mispronounced it as “gralloch”, come up with a collective noun “the gralloch”, the infinitive “to gralloch”, and then called the whole business “gralloching”.

    The problem is that the original gaelic word has been hijacked and anglicised, because the Scots have forgotten their own language where it wouldn’t suffer such misuse. That needs some explaining, but Scots Gaelic is primarily a spoken language where the spelling and the sound of words constantly changes to clarify speech and meaning. The grammar and the order of words in a sentence is very different from what we know. Generally sentences begin with a verb.

    The word “greallach” used in any other way in the native tongue changes in both form and sound. Depending on use the other words in the sentence may also change. I can put this in a stalking context using another gaelic noun “fiadh”
    (a deer)


    In gaelic– ‘to gralloch (a) deer’ would be:-

    Thoir a’ghreallach a feidh (take the guts from a deer)

    As you’ve used the indefinite article (‘the’) the noun is aspirated, the g(h) is elided, and the noun is then pronounced “a-reel-ach”. The word for deer also has to change. The ‘a’ preceding it means ‘from’ - not the English ‘a’ by the way.

    In the present tense – ‘I am gralloching a deer’ would be:-

    Tha mi a’tabhairt a’ghreallach a feidh (I am taking the guts from a deer)

    No matter how you use “greallach” it remains a noun, and loses the ‘G’sound. It can never be a verb in gaelic so nor can it’s equivalent be. In other words it can’t be transposed now or ever, and never should have been.... if you get my drift.

    You can now see why it was easier to come up with such a snappy cod-gaelic word rather than struggle with the rules of grammar. The ‘g’ word isn’t in my 1996 edition of the OED, but might have made it now as it’s in common use. All the same every use of it is wrong, and it’s a *******isation born from an unholy union of Scots and English.
    Last edited by Sinistral; 05-07-2012 at 16:47. Reason: squashed up text
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  2. #2
    Thank god I'm Welsh after all that

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinistral View Post
    You can now see why it was easier to come up with such a snappy cod-gaelic word rather than struggle with the rules of grammar. The Ďgí word isnít in my 1996 edition of the OED, but might have made it now as itís in common use. All the same every use of it is wrong, and itís a *******isation born from an unholy union of Scots and English.
    Interestingly, 'gralloch' is in my 1962 Chamber's 20th Century dictionary as a noun meaning the entrails of a deer and a verb meaning to remove them. The origin of the word is given as the Gaelic 'greallach', as described above.

    I wonder whether the 'unholy union of Scots and English' or perhaps more accurately 'of Scots Gaelic and English' referred to is in fact the widly-recognised language known as Scots English?

    Hellish complicated!
    Last edited by Dalua; 05-07-2012 at 17:38.

  4. #4
    All sounds a bit too modern for me.

    Of course the correct term for cutting open a deer is "to undo". For disembowelling it would be "making the aber".

    The cut it up would be to "break up" or "brittle".

    Although the Roebuck was hardeled and carried to the kitchen entire.

    The Gentleman's Recreation - Nicholas Cox 1697
    Le Art de Venerie - William Twici c.1323
    The Master of Game - Edward, Duke of York c.1410

  5. #5
    The word is missing from the Chambers 2003 edition.

    Many people are confused with basic English without the added complication of Gaelic.
    You would certainly confuse my farmer friend who has just left, however if I said to him`pull oot its puddings`there would be no problem.

    Language can be a problem, try this pair :- I need dough [cash] and I knead dough.

    HWH.

  6. #6
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    As a point of order: Scots speak "Scots" not Gaelic. It's the Gaels that speak that.

    Naturally we (Scots), like the English, take words from many other languages and make them our own. Often we "alter" the original meaning, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly and extremely, such is the way of living language... it evolves. The word gralloch has become popular and thus valid, a bit like "head" seems to be doing at the moment. Though most of us in the heart of Scotland's population, if not "educated" to use this word "gralloch", would still tend to just gut a deer or "howk its puddins oot".

    However getting back to your somewhat abstruse point... what is your point, exactly?

  7. #7
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    Sorry Stag, didn't see your post... You, being pratically a border's man, clearly share language with us.

  8. #8
    In this case, I'd deem it acceptable. I'm a bit of a stickler for grammar and would only consider myself to be moderately educated!

    Ginormous is my pet hate. Surely that is gigantic or enormous!?!
    I've started using the word excisely, hoping that it will catch on.

  9. #9
    Talking of jargon, it would be jolly handy to have a "Stalking Dictionary" thread on this site as a sticky somewhere, so whenever someone puts a post somewhere else that includes stalking terminology they could also put a post in the dictionary, to explain the term.
    For a beginner, quite a lot of the posts on here are double dutch, and one doesn't always want to feel like a twit for asking what something means, wheneveryone else seems so familar with the language.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tamus View Post
    Sorry Stag, didn't see your post... You, being pratically a border's man, clearly share language with us.
    Aye, a Cumbrian geriatric.
    I speak the old language, `hooster dyern ?, ister gaily thrang ?`. [ How are you doing ?, are you very busy ? ]

    HWH.

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