As a writer of historical fiction my goal is to take the reader back in time and make him or her feel as though they are actually there. In my case I'm referring to mid nineteenth century America. I have to do a lot of research to achieve this feeling and I find it to be a lot of fun. One of the most interesting aspects of my research is the language and speech patterns. To have authentic dialogue I try to find and use words and phrases that were common at the time but are little known and almost never used today. Here is an example of some obscure words that were commonplace in mid nineteenth century America :
1. Balderdash : nonsense, ridiculous, meaningless babble
A. I believe Everything he said was complete balderdash!
2. Chirk : happy, cheerful
A. My mood was chirk and lively at the party last night.
3. Corned : drunk, inebriated
A. They all got corned last night and slept all day today.
4.Groggery, grog shop : a bar, usually a dive
A. He always goes to the grog shop alone but he never leaves alone.
B. The town groggery burned down last week.
5. Plug-ugly : a rowdy or rough-neck type of person
A. The cities are full of dangerous plug-uglies on every corner.
6. Sockdologer : a powerful punch or blow
A. I'll give you a sockdologer you'll never forget !
7. Shut pan : shut-up! shut your mouth!
A. The man would not shut pan and let her speak.
This is just an example of some of the words I've rediscovered in my research. I find them interesting. If you heard someone use any of them today what would you think?