Tuesday, 22 January 2013


In a new production of The Winter's Tale (whose actress was interviewed on this morning's Woman's Hour), Falstaff's doxy/moll/squeeze/whatever is called 'Doll Tearsheet'. Well, she's always been called that, but it's /teə/ as in tare - not /tɪə/ as in 'teardrop'. When I 'did' it at school (a painfully [in at least two senses] RC one) it was the not the 'tare' sort - and the archaic tare, incidentally, was a word that we good Catholic boys were well acquainted with; we were going to be the world's wheat, not its tares.

The version of that name that we were taught was the sort redolent of wronged chastity, like Desdemona or (a heroine we studied a year later) Hermione - in The Winter's Tale. Which brings us back neatly to Woman's Hour - another interview had mentioned the 'new' trend of 'slut-shaming'. New? When accused by Leontes of infidelity, Hermione bewails her condition: 'myself on every post proclaimed a strumpet' (which, by the way, recalls that adolescent tendency I have mentioned before of latching onto a situation in culture [there it was music, here it is literature], but this is not A to Markworthy* and I shall draw a veil over the details.)

But this production calls Ms Tearsheet  /teəʃi:t/, which has a couple of possible meanings, with reference to a working-girl's life: one is the one mentioned on the radio this morning - referring to damage to bedlinen. This is quite possible, though it seems to me that wear (in both its senses - treating bed-clothes as if they were working clothes, and causing damage by, ahem, repeated movement) might have been a more apt choice. The meaning that appeals to me refers to a book of customers or invoices. She services one, and then tears off a sheet before proceeding to the next.

Enough of this. The Schedule calls.


*The title of my once-planned (and indeed started - if three or four thousand words counts) autobiography, named after the first volume of the two-volume SOED, to be written before I was forty. I'm afraid now it would have to be called Marl to Z.

Update: 2013.10.02.16:05
Header updated:

 Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V4.0: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs – AA-AU, EA-EU, and  IA-IU, and – new for V4.0 – OA-OU.  If you buy it, contact  @WVGTbook on Twitter and I'll alert you to free downloads of the forthcoming volumes; or click the Following button at the foot of this page.)
And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: nearly 32,400 views**,  and  4,400 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1570 views/700 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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