Ok, I don’t really have a lot to put in here this time, but while working on the western novel I came across the Old West Writer’s Guide. If you like to practice your old-west slang on your Great-Grandparents, this is the place to get it from. I love that ‘bear droppings’ was slang for doughnuts.
This of course sent me out looking for more slang from the old west. I know, it’s easy to make up your own, but there is something about the real thing that feels authentic and inspires the mood in me while I write. Anyway, the next thing I found was Legends of America, where I found the largest collection of terms from the old west I have ever seen or heard of. I cannot recommend it enough if this sort of thing interests you. They have enough to have made the tourists’ pocket edition guide to the language for time travelers.
Don’t forget to check out their section on insults!
I also encountered the term ‘Berdache‘ there. A new one for me. We’ve all (those of us who watch westerns anyway) seen the depiction of the one American Indian in the tribe who was ‘different’. By different, I mean generally portrayed in a way that we see them as a stereotypical homosexual, if they were Native American and living in a tribe. Well, it turns out there was a place in the tribe and in the culture for that type of behavior, that type of person. They were generally seen as someone with special abilities, special magic, and understood to be ‘following a vision.’ Suddenly those characters finally clicked for me. They were real, and Hollywood really didn’t know why, or how to portray them very well, but they were in the story for historical legitimacy.
I seem to remember one movie that probably got it pretty close, but I am brain-farting on that… Dances With Wolves, maybe?
Keep chirkin’, don’t get euchered, and always fight like a Kilkenny cat!