aboard of a ship,

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)
If it simply means "going to tea in the ship" should not it be “aboard of the ship, or this ship?”

When supper was over, for they never talk about going to tea aboard of a ship, the watch to which I belonged was called on deck; and we were told it was for us to stand the first night watch, that is, from eight o'clock till midnight.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    'Tea' the meal, not 'tea' the drink.

    The meal that might be called 'tea' elsewhere, or that the speaker would naturally call 'tea', is called 'supper' on a ship.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    But supper was over, he says, so after supper, they would drink tea or coffee, right?
    Read post #2 and #4 again. The sentence doesn't say anything about any beverages. When supper was over, his duty shift (watch) started. He went to work.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Read "for they never talk about going to tea aboard of a ship" as if it were in brackets/parentheses.

    After supper (on a ship they refer to what I call 'tea' as 'supper'), the watch . . .
     

    enkidu68

    Senior Member
    turkish
    Never. Because, I don't understand why does he say "for they never talk about going to tea aboard of a ship," since you say think of it as in a bracket. What I understood is, that Redburn (that is Melville) ironically says this.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    All he's saying is that on board ship ("aboard of a ship"), they don't call the afternoon/early evening meal "tea", they call it "supper".

    As heypresto has said several times;).
     
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    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    what confuses me is "going to tea"
    "Going to tea" means "going to the meal called 'tea' ". Melville writes that they never say this on board a ship. The reason they never say this is that no meal is called "tea" on a ship.

    This has nothing to do with drinking the beverage called "tea." Sailors drink tea. They call it tea, because it has no other name.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The main sentence is:
    When supper was over, the watch to which I belonged was called on deck​

    Redburn then adds a little aside to explain the unexpected word "supper" (unexpected in terms of the life Redburn used to lead), saying that what on land he was used to calling "tea" is, on board, called "supper". The "going to" part may be a little confusing, and you need to understand it as "for they never talk of going to tea on board ship, they talk of going to supper instead".
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ah, I see! Think of it as "going to have tea" or, if you prefer, "going to the mess-deck to have tea".

    Aboard ship, they don't talk about "going [to the mess-deck] to have tea"; they talk about "going [to the mess-deck] to have supper".

    Doubly cross-posted:)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm not sure anyone has said this exactly although many examples are given.
    We can say "I'm going to breakfast/lunch/dinner/supper." In this case, the meal is "tea."
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    In Britain tea was (and still is in some regions) the name of the last meal in the day . It could be quite substantial. Melville is just saying that this meal is called supper on a ship. There are many threads here about the difference between lunch, dinner, tea, and supper.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    There are other threads about the names of meals elsewhere in this forum. What you need to understand is that for Redburn, the practice at home was to call the first meal of the day "breakfast", the main meal of the day eaten at noon "dinner", and the third meal of the day eaten in the evening "tea." (This, by the way, is still a common practice in England: there are many, many people who call their evening meal "tea", even if they don't drink the beverage called "tea" at all. ) However, on board ship, no one uses the word "tea" to name the last meal of the day eaten in the evening. Instead, they called this meal "supper".

    Understand the sentence to mean this:
    When the evening meal (which they call "supper", because no one on a ship uses the word "tea" as a name for that meal) was over and everyone had finished eating, the watch to which I belonged was called on deck...
     
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