coise

< Previous | Next >

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Hi, everyone
Please kindly tell me what ''coise'' stands for in the following song (or peom), taken from ''Newsreel XXVII'', ''1919'' ("USA") by John Dos:

(Please note the above Newsreel is all about news of World War 1 around 1918)
Mid the wars great coise
Stands the red cross noise
She's the rose of no man's land
Oh that battle of Paree
Its making a bum out of me
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I've never come across that word before, Karoba. It doesn't appear in my (very good) dictionary. The only possible thing I can think of is this: it's a 'phonetic spelling' of an oddly-pronounced cause
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It could indeed be as ewie suggests.

    Alternatively, the OED gives this example - the only example - which is remarkably similar:
    1393 GOWER Conf. I. 100 And prively withoute noise He bringeth this foule great coise To his castell in suche a wise That no man might her shape avise.

    No definition is given - meaning and etymology uncertain - but the following comment:
    (Mätzner explains ‘ugly woman, monster’, comparing coisy; Halliwell says: = ‘body’; Pauli: ‘mistress’.)
     

    JBry

    Member
    English - US
    maybe curse? the phrase "stands a red cross noise" seems like a goofy mispronunciation of "red cross nurse" which would make a lot of sense, so i assume the "coise" word is supposed to rhyme.

    "Mid the war's great cause/course/curse" all still seem weird to me though
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Or even curse??? Don't some New Yorkers say (or once say) boid for bird?
    Where's a New Yorker when you need one!?

    Yay! question answered! problem solved! many thanks to JBry for this

    [War's great curse = the curse that is the great war]
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Please note the whole previous chapters are about experiences of Harvard students serving at Europe with Red Cross and Ambulance Service.
    Therefore, don't you think the song could be read like this:
    Mid the wars great curse
    Stands the Red Cross Nurse
    She's the rose of no man's land
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    It seems quite likely to me that "coise" is "curse" particularly because of the contrast that the writer seeks to establish between the nurse, as a rose, as an element of grace and mercy, and war.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Since "nurse" is pronounced as "noise" (soft, unvoiced "s", no doubt), the word is obviously a rhyme, and it is a dialectical pronunciation of "curse". This pronunciation used to be heard in New York City (although it has largely disappeared, and the reality was never as extreme as this); you would also hear a similar pronunciation in New Orleans. If you are familiar with the song "Proud Mary", the you will hear it in the verse "Proud Mary keep on boinin' "
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Please note the whole previous chapters are about experiences of Harvard students serving at Europe with Red Cross and Ambulance Service.
    Therefore, don't you think the song could be read like this:
    Mid the wars great curse
    Stands the Red Cross Nurse
    She's the rose of no man's land
    Yes, Karoba, we seem to be all agreed now that that's how it should be read.
    Apologies for not getting it sooner ~ it's a while since you posted on this subject and I'd forgotten exactly what 1919 was about:D
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Or even curse??? Don't some New Yorkers say (or once say) boid for bird?
    Where's a New Yorker when you need one!?

    Yay! question answered! problem solved! many thanks to JBry for this

    [War's great curse = the curse that is the great war]
    The explanation I have read for the New York dialect in which "bird" and "toilet" are taken to sound to others like "boid" and "terlet" is that the same diphthong was used in both words (something like the "oo" in "book" gliding into an "ee" (long "e") or "ih" (short "i"). It was only due to misinterpretation on the part of nonspeakers of the dialect that led to the belief that there were two diphthongs involved, that "oy" was being substituted" for "uhr" and "uhr" substituted for "oy."

    Of course, once nonspeakers of the dialect tried to imitate it (as in the case of some vaudeville comics), they pronounced the diphthong according to the misinterpretation rather than as an accurate imitation. The result is that when we hear a person in an old movie say "boid," he often actually is saying "boid"!

    Elsewhere in this thread, it was mentioned that this sound change is encountered in New Orleans. Recently, in The War (a documentary on World War II by Ken Burns shown on PBS stations here in the US) there was an elderly woman from Mobile, Alabama, being interviewed who spoke with this same sound change.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I think the "oy" sound of NYC and New Orleans is really a British-like "ur" sound with a "y" off-glide.
    I wrote what I did from memory. I tried to find a Web page that discussed the phenomenon of "bird"/"boid," "oil"/"erl" all having the same vowel, but was unable to find any such Web page.

    I did find a source which agreed with your point, however: Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, gives the schwa plus short "i" diphthong as an alternate pronunciation of the "ir" in "bird" and the "ur" in "purse" and "curse." The British pronunciation of "er" is, of course most often a schwa, which is why Americans are baffled when they see British pronunciation spellings like "Winnie ther Pooh."

    I have the paper edition of Webster's Third, and in the "Guide to Pronunciation" on page 37a it identifies the schwa-short "i" diphthong as "used in greater New York City and in a strip of the deep South extending from North Carolina to Louisiana." Unfortunately, it has no discussion of schwa-short "i" being used instead of "oy" in such words as "oil" and "toilet" (the common pronunciation spellings being "erl" and "terlet"), but I know I've seen it asserted by several authors.

    Another interesting point from Webster's Third: The use of the schwa-short "i" diphthong instead of "er" is considered more acceptable among educated speakers in the South than in New York.
     

    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Dear guys
    Just found the song titled ''The Rose of No Man's Land'' which was written as a tribute to the work of Red Cross nurses during the First World War: http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/t/theroseofnomansland.shtml
    which confirms that our find has been correct:
    It's the one red rose the soldier knows
    It's the work of the Master's hand
    'Neath the War's great curse stands a Red Cross nurse
    She's the rose of no-man's land
    You may also hear the song here: http://www.firstworldwar.com/audio/roseofnomansland.htm
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I did find a source which agreed with your point, however: Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, gives the schwa plus short "i" diphthong as an alternate pronunciation of the "ir" in "bird" and the "ur" in "purse" and "curse." The British pronunciation of "er" is, of course most often a schwa, which is why Americans are baffled when they see British pronunciation spellings like "Winnie ther Pooh."

    I have the paper edition of Webster's Third, and in the "Guide to Pronunciation" on page 37a it identifies the schwa-short "i" diphthong as "used in greater New York City and in a strip of the deep South extending from North Carolina to Louisiana." Unfortunately, it has no discussion of schwa-short "i" being used instead of "oy" in such words as "oil" and "toilet" (the common pronunciation spellings being "erl" and "terlet"), but I know I've seen it asserted by several authors.
    That dictionary lumps several things under the "schwa" label, but I'm referring to the sound /upside down lowercase epsilon symbol/ used for "bird" and "curse" in London, not the sound /upside down lowercase e symbol/ (schwa) used in "the" (and "bother" in London). The "bird" vowel is also distinct from the vowel of "bud" and, even with the "y" off-glide, from the vowel of "Boyd" - even in NYC.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top