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Old 03-24-2009, 10:28 AM   #1
lighthead2toe
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Default The word "navvie also spelled navvy

This is a word that oft times comes into question as to what does it mean and Gord used it in "The Canadian Railroad Trilogy" (we are the "navvies" who work upon the railway).

On a recent gig in Ottawa during the St. Patrick's festivities the band I worked with had a song in the set list called McAlpines Fusillers and the word is also used in that song.

It talks about Sir Robert McAlpine, a ruthless construction contractor who shouted "I'm a navvy short" when one of his workers was killed in an accident on the job.

It seems that's the way things were in that era.

Here's to better times, RJ.
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

hope your gigs went as smooth as the Guinness did, Ron

speaking of Ottawa, i wonder if there were more workers killed during the CPR construction or during the building of the Rideau canal...or how about the many 'hushed' losses of modern day construction of those skyscrapers in Dubai?

i suppose the spelling is navvy for singular and navvies for plural references...i can see the logic of the double v in order to keep the 'a' soft...but since it's a slang/short form for navigator and the 'a' is already soft anyhow in it's traditional pronunciation, then it makes little sense ...as does most of the logic in the English language

i was telling my little one, there are 1) many words that are spelled the same or may sound the same but mean different things (lead as in the metal vs lead as in 'lead the way')....and 2) there are some things that have several names that all mean the same thing (graveyard, cemetery)

he said why don't they take some of the extra words from 2) and share them with 1)?...yes, even young males are logical
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Old 03-25-2009, 04:59 PM   #3
charlene
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

LOL
I told you that kid is smart!
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:50 PM   #4
RM
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

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Originally Posted by jj View Post
he said why don't they take some of the extra words from 2) and share them with 1)?...yes, even young males are logical
Looks like a career in politics could be in his future.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:36 AM   #5
jj
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

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Looks like a career in politics could be in his future.
you could be right, rm....anytime there's been an attempt to hold him accountable for his actions, he replies with an active imagination (ie. a premeditated and carefully calculated spin of the actual truth... rather, make that plain and outright lies) and weasels his way back into the clear

char, you're always right but don't confuse logic and intelligence...we males are generally dumb...females used to be clever and emotional, now a good lot of them are clever and stoic... a fearsome combo, lol

ok, to get back on 'track' (heh heh), i just hope jr learns the many rewards that come with a truly, focused effort, aka, the Lightfootian work ethic
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
lighthead2toe
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

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hope your gigs went as smooth as the Guinness did, Ron

speaking of Ottawa, i wonder if there were more workers killed during the CPR construction or during the building of the Rideau canal...or how about the many 'hushed' losses of modern day construction of those skyscrapers in Dubai?

i suppose the spelling is navvy for singular and navvies for plural references...i can see the logic of the double v in order to keep the 'a' soft...but since it's a slang/short form for navigator and the 'a' is already soft anyhow in it's traditional pronunciation, then it makes little sense ...as does most of the logic in the English language

i was telling my little one, there are 1) many words that are spelled the same or may sound the same but mean different things (lead as in the metal vs lead as in 'lead the way')....and 2) there are some things that have several names that all mean the same thing (graveyard, cemetery)

he said why don't they take some of the extra words from 2) and share them with 1)?...yes, even young males are logical
Guinness & gigs, JJ! Wonderful combo and all went well.

And yes there were casualties during the building of both the canal and the CPR, the latter holding the most.

In Ottawa there is a celtic cross erected where the canal meets the Ottawa River and I remember when I was there in 2007 a memorial service was held by the cross. Many of the workers who died were Irish.

The CPR was built mainly by Chinese workers (navvies, as they were called) and they suffered greatly. Apart from construction accidents many died from disease and even starvation. The numbers ranged in the thousands on both projects.

No about that little guy of yours, and I have credibility here having raised two of them; well get ready for big changes when those teen years come along. However even though the times will be tumultuous, in the end it's all good.

A quote from the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran:

"We are the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth."

Stay loose, RJ.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:32 PM   #7
Patti
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jj View Post
you could be right, rm....anytime there's been an attempt to hold him accountable for his actions, he replies with an active imagination (ie. a premeditated and carefully calculated spin of the actual truth... rather, make that plain and outright lies) and weasels his way back into the clear

char, you're always right but don't confuse logic and intelligence...we males are generally dumb...females used to be clever and emotional, now a good lot of them are clever and stoic... a fearsome combo, lol

ok, to get back on 'track' (heh heh), i just hope jr learns the many rewards that come with a truly, focused effort, aka, the Lightfootian work ethic

Don't be too impressed with his "smarts". Hopefully he won't become a corrupt politician.

"Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness."
Kahlil Gibran
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:48 PM   #8
Jim Nasium
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

The word comes from "Navigational Engineer" The song "Navigator" goes some way to explaining it!


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Old 03-27-2009, 12:55 PM   #9
Jim Nasium
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

If you some difficulty grabbing Shane McGowans words, here they are:

The canals and the bridges, the embankments and cuts,
They blasted and dug with their sweat and their guts
They never drank water but whiskey by pints
And the shanty towns rang with their songs and their fights.

Navigator, Navigator rise up and be strong
The morning is here and there's work to be done.
Take your pick and your shovel and the bold dynamite
For to shift a few tons of this earthly delight
Yes to shift a few tons of this earthly delight.

They died in their hundreds with no sign to mark where
Save the brass in the pocket of the entrepreneur.
By landslide and rockblast they got buried so deep
That in death if not life they'll have peace while they sleep.

Navigator, Navigator rise up and be strong
The morning is here and there's work to be done.
Take your pick and your shovel and the bold dynamite
For to shift a few tons of this earthly delight
Yes to shift a few tons of this earthly delight.

Their mark on this land is still seen and still laid
The way for a commerce where vast fortunes were made
The supply of an Empire where the sun never set
Which is now deep in darkness, but the railway's there yet.

Navigator, Navigator rise up and be strong
The morning is here and there's work to be done.
Take your pick and your shovel and the bold dynamite
For to shift a few tons of this earthly delight
Yes to shift a few tons of this earthly delight.

PS this is an old song, McGowan did not write it.
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:25 PM   #10
lighthead2toe
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patti View Post
Don't be too impressed with his "smarts". Hopefully he won't become a corrupt politician.

"Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness."
Kahlil Gibran
Nice one Patti.

Cool also to know there are KG fans among us. Isn't he an amazing poet?

RJ.
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Old 03-28-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
lighthead2toe
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Nasium View Post
The word comes from "Navigational Engineer" The song "Navigator" goes some way to explaining it!


YouTube - The Pogues - Navigator Live
Thanks for this Jim.

It sure brings the meaning all together.

RJ.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:02 AM   #12
BILLW
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

Quote:
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speaking of Ottawa, i wonder if there were more workers killed during the CPR construction or during the building of the Rideau canal...or how about the many 'hushed' losses of modern day construction of those skyscrapers in Dubai?
Interesting question jj. And great material for many songs. They opened the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge when I was 11. The whole family was supposed to attend but all but me came down with the flu so I walked the 5 miles alone (different times). The only way you heard of the deaths during construction was from friends or family members of the victims. A few who fell into the towers are still entombed there, truth or urban legend ? Anyway it would make a good song.

But the authorities, e.g. "the man" have a vested interest in a calm, stable populace. "Bad news" cannot survive for long. It is the main reason why (at least here in the States) the footage of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks was pulled quickly and is almost never seen (uncensored) anymore. Thank goodness for songwriters.

Would you apply for a job if you knew even 1 person had already been killed attempting it ? (we now return to our regular program, sorry for the rambling).

Bill
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:41 PM   #13
Patti
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

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Originally Posted by lighthead2toe View Post
Nice one Patti.

Cool also to know there are KG fans among us. Isn't he an amazing poet?

RJ.
Yes, I read some of his literature in the '70's and was reminded of him again after hearing one of kefera's videos. Then again, you. I'll have to read some more.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

This is all too interesting -RJ - I should have caught that in "MacAlpines' Fuselliers" but I gave up listening to lyrics when I play.(sorry about that)
2 years ago(give or take) I was checking out antique stores in Lanark, Ontario when a disussion about Lightfoot came about and having an interest I listened in -one of the owners(not a resident of Lanark by the accent) mentioned he had corrected Lightfoot on his pronunciation of 'Navies' when trying out the 'trilogy' during a gig at Le Hibou.
Where would Mr. Lightfoot be today without this help?
Lynchings are held weekly in Lanark behind the baseball diamond
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Old 04-16-2009, 02:43 PM   #15
lighthead2toe
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Hey Myk, you're the consummate entertainer as always!. RJ.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:44 AM   #16
jj
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The CPR was built mainly by Chinese workers (navvies, as they were called) and they suffered greatly. Apart from construction accidents many died from disease and even starvation. The numbers ranged in the thousands on both projects.


http://www.straight.com/article-2441...nadian-history
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:48 AM   #17
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I'll have to watch for it...
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:20 PM   #18
jj
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oh, didn't realize the article didn't mention the TV airing:

it will screen on CBC as a two-part miniseries on Aug. 9 and 16.

I had just seen a small promo clip on late, late night CBC...


wonder if they asked GL if CRT could be used for soundtrack

"they saw an iron road running from the sea to the sea"
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:38 PM   #19
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Default Re: The word "navvie also spelled navvy

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hope your gigs went as smooth as the Guinness did, Ron

speaking of Ottawa, i wonder if there were more workers killed during the CPR construction or during the building of the Rideau canal...or how about the many 'hushed' losses of modern day construction of those skyscrapers in Dubai?

i suppose the spelling is navvy for singular and navvies for plural references...i can see the logic of the double v in order to keep the 'a' soft...but since it's a slang/short form for navigator and the 'a' is already soft anyhow in it's traditional pronunciation, then it makes little sense ...as does most of the logic in the English language

i was telling my little one, there are 1) many words that are spelled the same or may sound the same but mean different things (lead as in the metal vs lead as in 'lead the way')....and 2) there are some things that have several names that all mean the same thing (graveyard, cemetery)

he said why don't they take some of the extra words from 2) and share them with 1)?...yes, even young males are logical
Hi JJ hope you and the family are well.
Just thought i'd add my $.02(can.) and this link below works;
http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/history/memorials.html
It has several memorials along the Rideau Canal from Ottawa to Kingston.
Very interesting article and pics.
If RJ sidesteps the St. Pats gigs its due to Age+Guinness(there were 3 gigs in total) all went well. One of the criteria is that the venue has to wheel chair accessible and can provide oxygen!!!!
And yes young males are logical upto the age of 13 or so then well you know what happens and something for you to look forward to.
See ya in November
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:25 PM   #20
jj
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...young males are logical upto the age of 13 or so then well you know what happens...
actually, i think it's already happening, mandomyk....

glad to see you checking in and thanks for the link....ditto re Nov09

banjojim (just wishful thinking really, i'm a big ODR fan)
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