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RESEARCH PROJECTS
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Games, Rhymes, and Wordplay of London Children

N. G. N. Kelsey (Author)
Janet E. Alton and J. D. A. Widdowson (Editors)

February, 2019: lvi, 835pp, ISBN 978-3-030-02910-4
e-book: £17.99; softcover: £22.99

https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030029098

KelseyCover
  • Makes available a unique and extensive fieldwork project conducted with London school children between 1962 and 1984
  • Presents a detailed snapshot of changes in the traditions and language of young people through an overview of traditional play and lore, illustrating development over a period of some twenty years
  • Provides a valuable new resource on childlore and points to directions for further research, exploration and analysis of the data
  • Offers a representative range of material from a specific age-group to allow for exploration of factors such as geographical spread, broad social groupings and the gender of individual contributors
  • Contextualises the data within a range of existing studies in Britain, Ireland, and other parts of the English-speaking world

The book presents a unique annotated collection of some 2000 playground games, rhymes, and wordplay of London children. It charts continuity and development in childlore at a time of major social and cultural change and offers a detailed snapshot of changes in the traditions and language of young people. Topics include: starting a game; counting-out rhymes; games (without songs); singing and chanting games; clapping, skipping, and ball bouncing games; school rhymes and parodies; teasing and taunting; traditional belief and practice; traditional wordplay; and a concluding miscellany. Recorded mainly in the 1980s by primary schoolteacher Nigel Kelsey, transcribed verbatim from the children’s own words, and accompanied by extensive commentaries and annotation, the book sets a wealth of new information in the wider historical and contemporary context of existing studies in Britain, Ireland, and other parts of the English-speaking world. This valuable new resource will open new avenues for research and be of particular interest to folklorists and linguists, as well as to those working across the full spectrum of social, cultural, and educational studies.

Topics include: starting a game; counting-out rhymes; non-singing games: chasing, catching, seeking, and racing games, contests and tussles, ballgames, jumping, leaping, and handstands, muddles, rough games, jacks, cat’s cradle, marbles, hopscotch, indoor games and pranks; singing games; clapping rhymes; skipping rhymes and chants; school rhymes and parodies; teasing and taunting; superstition; rhymes and verbal play "just for fun", including football rhymes and chants; and writings for albums.

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