bally [a place]

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Kaiapó

Senior Member
Portuguese
Hi everyoneThis word pops up many times (in The Shinig Girls, by Laure Beukes), around page 220. As far as I could figure out it is some sort of space where one can make a performance at fairgrounds (in the 30's and 40's).Have you ever heard it? I suppose there must be a translation for that, but first I have to know what it means.Thanks for your timeK
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Can you give us an example of a context in which it's used, Kaiapó - including a complete sentence?
     

    Kaiapó

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Sure, Loob. And thanks for your attention. Just thought it would be easier referring to the book on the web. Guess I was being selfish. There we go:

    "B-a-l-l-y, ladies! Five minutes 'til bally."

    "There is a smattering of boos and jeers, but Joey has them hooked before any of the girls have set so much as a toe on the bally steps."

    "Joey lower his voice, conspirational, so that the audience has to edge closer to hear. He circles Alice on the bally."

    Hope it will help.

    As you see, maybe I'm not too far from the real meaning, but a native speaker's opinion would surely be useful.

    Thanks again

    K
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'd never come across this usage before. But Google took me to a book entitled Secrets of the Sideshows, by Joe Nickell, which relates it to the word ballyhoo:
    The term ballyhoo, meaning sensational or flamboyant publicity, comes from [...] the Midway Plaisance of the 1893 world's fair, in which spielers (as they were then called) used interpreters to summon the entertainers using a certain Arabic term which has been variously reported. [...]
    Ever since, outdoor showmen have used the term, often shortened to bally, to call their performers out front. Bally is also the term for the free entertainment given outside a sideshow on an elevated stand called a bally platform.
    So it's
    - a call summoning sideshow entertainers (as in the first part of your first example)
    - the entertainment itself (as in the second part of your first example)
    - and also, it seems, the raised platform on which they perform (as in your second and third examples).

    You live and learn!:D
     

    Kaiapó

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Thank you so much, Loob.

    It's going to be hard to find na equivalente term in Portuguese, but that's up to me.

    Cheers

    K
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    This, from the OED may help you. It relates bacvk to Loob's post #4
    ballyhoo, n.2
    Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌbalɪˈhuː/ , U.S. /ˈbæliˌhu/
    orig. U.S.
    Originally (at a carnival, etc.): a showman's touting speech, or a performance advertising a show. Hence (as mass noun): bombastic nonsense; extravagant or brash publicity; noisy fuss.
    This was given from the platform/stage, and the ballyhoo would be the speech and the bally would be the place from which it was given.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ... the ballyhoo would be the speech and the bally would be the place from which it was given.
    The source I found was saying something slightly different, Paul: that the original Arabic phrase sounded like "ballyhoo" to a Western ear, and so the word "ballyhoo" - shortened to "bally" - was used for (a) the call to performers (b) the performance and (c) the platform. And Kaiapó's novel is evidently using "bally" with all three meanings.

    That said, the OED does say "origin uncertain" in its entry for ballyhoo - so who knows where the truth really lies!;)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Kaiapó's novel is evidently using "bally" with all three meanings
    I'm willing to bet the vast majority of (native) readers were as baffled as Kaiapó ... and me.
    :idea: Maybe the term is well-known in the author's native South Africa:confused:
     
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