Friday, March 25, 2011

Gimme Shelta: Win a copy of Falling Glass

Adrian McKinty's novel Falling Glass is, as readers of this blog may know,
  • A meditation on aging
  • A dream of escape from urban life
  • An expression of love for Ulster
  • An expression of disdain for professional `Oirishness'
  • A hard look at what economic disaster means to those not at the top of the heap
  • A scathing attack on the cynical oligarchy of money, power and protection that crosses Northern Ireland's sectarian lines
  • A similarly scathing attack on the cult of the self-made millionaire
  • A reminder that politics is personal
  • A series of homages to Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, the Coen brothers, Ken Bruen, Ernest Hemingway, The Godfather, Sergio Leone, and Warren Zevon
  • A globe-hopping tale of quest that manages the difficult feat of seeming alternately leisurely and fast-paced, as necessary
***
Now you can win a copy of the book, signed and personalized by McKinty himself, if you're the first to answer this skill-testing question:

What is Shelta? (Hints: 1) The answer is relevant to the novel, and 2) Be as specific as possible.)
***
We have a winner! Kathy from Texas knew that Shelta is a language spoken by Travellers in Ireland and also Great Britain. The protagonist of Falling Glass is himself an Irish Traveller and spends a fair bit of quality time among an encampment of Travellers in the book. Congratulations to Kathy, and here's a bit about Shelta and its history.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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12 Comments:

Blogger Kathy said...

Shelta is a language spoken by a transient group of people such as those in Ireland and Great Britain.

March 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Right you are. Congratulations, and enjoy the book. Here’s a bit about this odd and interesting language.

March 25, 2011  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Oh, darn, I wasn't fast enough.

This book sounds fascinating on all points.

I'll look for it at the library, or raise heck for them to purchase it, or else turn to the infamous Book Depository.

By the way, did you track down your order from them?

March 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy d., it's worth tracking down, though you might be unable to order a copy shipped to the U.S. through the Book Depository.

They responded promptly to my inquiry and suggested I wait a while longer before pursuing the matter further. It had been about eleven days since my order, and they said the normally allow up to fourteen days for overseas shipments, if I recall correctly. So the grace period lasts a while longer.

March 25, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I had to do some research on Shelta for the book, but what stumped me was when the audiobook narrator Gerard Doyle asked me how it was pronounced. I had no idea and he had to track down a linguistics professor at Queens University Belfast who took him through every Shelta word in the book. It was apparently a very long and drawn out process. Doyle made me promise him that I will never use any Shelta dialogue ever again.

March 25, 2011  
Blogger Solea said...

Is this like Brad Pitt's character in Snatch, when he's a Pikey? Is he speaking Shelta? His performance was the most memorable/hilarious part of that movie.

March 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, express my admiration to Gerard Doyle the next time you speak to him. He's admirably thorough even if he's a pain.

March 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solea, I've also thought of that enjoyable performance since I read Falling Glass. At the time I recall thinking that he was just speaking gibberish.

March 25, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, this bit from the Wikipedia article om Shelta leads me to sumpathize with Gerard Doyle:

"Irish Travelers use a secret argot or cant known as Gammon. It is used primarily to conceal meaning from outsiders, especially during business transactions and in the presence of police. Most Gammon utterances are terse and spoken so quickly that a non-Traveler might conclude the words merely had been garbled. Most Gammon words were formed from Irish Gaelic by applying four techniques: reversal, metathesis, affixing, and substitution. In the first, an Irish word is reversed to form a Gammon one - mac, or son, in Irish became kam in Gammon. In the second, consonants or consonant clusters were transposed. Thirdly, a sound or cluster of sounds were either prefixed or suffixed to an Irish word. Some of the more frequently prefixed sounds were s, gr, and g. For example, Obair, work or job, became gruber in Gammon. Lastly, many Gammon words were formed by substituting an arbitrary consonant or consonant cluster in an Irish word. In recent years, modern slang and Romani (the language of the gypsies) words have been incorporated. The grammar and syntax are English."

Muni kon.

March 26, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Solea

Exactly. Its actually supposed to be Shelta whether it is or whether its just gibberish I have no idea.

March 26, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Yeah its pretty complicated and its even trickier when you're dealing with Irish Travellers who've spent most of their lives living in London so the Shelta is mixed with a good bit of gangland argot and cockney rhyming slang.

March 26, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian: Since Shelta apparently includes features intended to conceal meaning from outsiders, having Pitt speak in gibberish, if that's what it is, is especially clever.

March 26, 2011  

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