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Jackspeak: A Guide to British Naval Slang and Usage Hardcover – 6 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Conway Maritime Pr (6 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844861449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844861446
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.5 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The A to Z of words at sea There aren't too many books, let alone in the nautical world, which generate a succession of chuckles. Open Jackspeak at any page and you re pretty much guaranteed to laugh. A labour of love for more than four decades, Falklands veteran Rick Jolly has produced the third edition of his legendary guide to naval slang and terminology. It's by far the nicest produced of the editions to date a retro hardback stretching to more than 500 pages, packed with a good 200 illustrations from the sorely-missed Tugg. There are more than 4,000 terms defined within since the last edition a decade ago, correspondents and serving personnel have helped to plug gaps and update various phrases...grab a wet, maybe a Julie Andrews or neaters, lie down in your pit and flick through Jackspeak. You'll have dipped in it s a book which should be on the shelf of every matelot. --Navy News, November 2011

About the Author

Rick Jolly is a former RM doctor. His first book told the story of the medical base at Ajax Bay in the Falkland Islands, which he commanded throughout the 1982 campaign. A legendary figure in the Navy, 'Doc' Jolly remains the only serviceman to be decorated by both sides: he received an OBE from the Queen and the Oficial Orden de Mayo from the Argentine Government. Rick is also the founding chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association for Falklands veterans.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Seaweed on 19 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
"There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, And every single one of them is right!" - Rudyard Kipling

This is undoubtedly the best work of this nature that has ever been produced, in a genre stretching back to 1626 to Pocahontas' friend Captain John Smith`s "A Sea Grammar", via many other works including Admiral William Henry Smyth`s "The Sailor's Word-Book" of 1867. The author should need no introduction; if he does, read his "The Red and Green Life Machine" and reflect on the large number of lives saved because of his leadership and organisational and clinical skills in the Falklands in 1982. Meanwhile, here we have Surgeon Captain Jolly as the Navy's Dr Johnson, the Great Lexicographer.

Successive editions have profited from input from many hoary old shellbacks and now this third edition contains four thousand entries, still laced with many, many brilliant illustrations by the late Tugg Wilson, MBE. It's not just a dictionary; it is a memorial to Jack, Jenny and Royal as they were in the second half of the twentieth century and as we must all hope they still are, in spite of the reduction of the Fleet, the disappearance of the broadside mess deck, and the (perhaps) civilising influence of women serving at sea, which I fear may have done for the Two-deck Dash, and This Old Hat of Mine. I enjoyed the first edition, but the economy and apposition of Jack's language still amuse (as do Tugg's cartoons). The sheer scope and size of this work show how inadequate are the two-page `glossaries' commonly included in many books about the Royal Navy.

My own interest in this field stems from a period of intense boredom in hospital in 1976, during which I attempted to list all the naval slang I could remember from the 50s and 60s.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. S. Lawrence on 28 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewer about most points. I bought this recently as a present for my Brother-In-Law who is in the Navy and he loved it.

As a long time bookseller and bibliophile I would add that this book is beautifully bound, being a rather nice hardback cloth cover. It's full of cartoons much like the illustration on the cover and rammed full of Naval slang words, as you'd expect.

Definitely for Naval servicemen and women, but also for fans of language and wordplay.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pompeyrider on 28 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I left the Pusser in 1990, having completed my 2nd engagement and casting a Mark One eyeball over the pages of this BR, brought the memories flooding back.
Like the morning after a run ashore in foreign parts, when you spot your oppo with a can of goffer; "Sippers shippers...me mouth's as dry as the flip-side of Gandhi's prayer mat!"
Or when the stokers come off watch from the Boiler Box;..."It's as redders as a Jan docky's starboard Oggy pocket!"
Not to mention the dreaded duty roster; "It's enough to make a Bishop burn 'is books and bimble down Bugis Street for a bag-off!"
It's true what they say, you can take the man out of the Mob but you can't take the Mob out of the man.
So cheers Doc and no doubt Tugg is smiling down on us through that scuttle in the sky, a tot in one hand and a DF in t'other!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick G Cox on 1 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having grown up with a naval father and surrounded by his ex-RN friends, I grew accustomed at an early age to such phrases as "Stand from under" or "Is the Church Pendant flying?" and "Making my number." This book has these explained and many, many more in a witty and informative collection. Some of the phrases are definitely not PC, but anyone hearing of a "technicolour yawn" should be able to work out what Jolly Jack means without too much imagination as should having someone described as "handcarted" after a run ashore. Of course a sailor in that condition usually winds up having a "Crusher" descend on him to schedule an appearance on "defaulters.".

Anyone who is not a seafarer but loves books and stories of naval action, escapades or history will find "Jackspeak" invaluable. For writers who want to add a taste of reality to dialogues this book has all the authenticity you need.

Not only does it provide an explanation of the expressions, it also explains the origins of them and sometimes provides some technical background. The illustrations by the famous Naval cartoonist "Tugg" are an added bonus. It is perhaps worth mentioning for those who have never encountered Tugg's work, that he is the RN's equivalent of Giles, the cartoonist who created a generation of commentary on the British social and political scene from WW2 to his death in the 1990s. Now, lest I drive anyone to carrying out a "deckhead inspection" while reading this, I will add only that I commend this book wholeheartedly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. E. B. Cowell on 1 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have the earlier editions of this delightful book. The New edition by Conway is even better. Fun, informative and a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By katester on 24 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this as a gift for my Dad who is an ex naval officer. He loved it and said that it was very accurate - he even learnt some fleet air arm slang he didn't know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. J. Herbert on 8 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are ever grabbed by the press gang take this with you if nothing else and you'll be all right!
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By RH on 12 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say about JACK SPEAK, written by a saw bones, as a former 20 year Vet (STOKER PO RNZN) who served a year in UK picking up HMS Dido I could have done with a book like this for translation purposes, a lot of the sayings did transfer to the RNZN, good dit well recomended, just dont give it to a civy it would be wasted.
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