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The new year, Samuel Pepy's style - 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Thomas

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The new year, Samuel Pepy's style [Wednesday 8th January 2014 at 10:30 pm]
Thomas

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I've not forgotten the annual The Year That Was meme, but the draft is on the laptop and I'm at my desktop so it'll have to wait a bit. However what I did spot the other day was Samuel Pepys' version of the meme. As with all of Pepys' writings it's in a rather curious English (simultaneously long-winded and terse), the language having mutated a bit over the past 350 or so years, but it's still very readable. Interestingly one topic he mentions that the more recent meme doesn't touch on at all is the current political situation, or "things of State" as he calls it.

I wonder what a modern version of it would read like...

At the end of the last and the beginning of this year, I do live in a recently built flat on the south coast of the county of Hampshire, and have done now about 3 and a half years. I am now pretty much settled; living on my own, with the remainder of my immediate family (being my mother, father and sister) still in the county of Sussex.

Myself in mostly good health, blessed be the NHS the Almighty God for it. As to things of state.—The coalition Parliament of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats continuing to grow more divisive, and Labour continuing to spend more time complaining than being constructive. The country of Scotland seeking independence, with a referendum to be held later this year.

I take myself to now be worth more than I was last year (unlike Pepys' I'm not saying how much!), and all my goods and all manner of debts paid, aside from the remaining student loan, which continues to decrease.

It's actually quite hard to write in his style, as both the word choice and the sentence patterns are quite different to the English that I learnt. The fun thing is that modern online English is itself also different to the style I learnt, as txtspeak with the lack of vowels, capitals and punctuation is rapidly taking over the Internet (just look at Facebook or tumblr!). In a way it's closer to the way Pepys' sentences go on and on, except instead of commas and semicolons you get maybe an ellipsis or more often just a space. Historians of the future are going to be really puzzled when they try to make sense of early 21st century writings.

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