Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wagon Hill Container

I have spent the best part of the past five or six days researching respectively the Saxon Cavalry from about 1740 to 1763 and Field Bakeries.

Enquiries in the usual places have yielded quite good results on both topics, but in the case of Field Bakeries, the process has been linguistically interesting.

The materials I have forund on Field Bakeries have been exclusively in either French and German, both languages with which I am not very familiar - although my French is FAR better than my German. As a result I have been using Alta Vistas' online translation software "Babel Fish". We are all familiar with it's limitations - it is linear, processing a sentence one-word-at-a-time and thus provides a literal translation that often lacks the sense of what the author was trying to convey. Then there is the problems with words that may have more than one meaning. I fear that this software will only use the most common meaning used for that word, thus in the fairly specialised translating required for English-speaking users the French word for "Grenadier" which has a very specific meaning in our context tends amusingly to get translated as "Pomegranate".

Then there are German compound words. I fantasised today about being a German speaker who might have been something of a military buff who wanted to find out what the amusing English term "Cartridge Case" meant. Imagine his surprise at getting back a result like "Wagon Hill Container "!

If no-one else has done it, I am going to start compiling a glossary of French and German 18th Century military jargon. If anyone wants to contribute, please email me at bloggerator@gmail.com . We can discuss terms like "hat lace", "facing colour*" and "turn-back" and compile a list.

*OK, "coleur distinctive"


Bluebear Jeff said...

I am an American now living in western Canada . . . and I've discovered that English is a foreign language.

Actually it isn't too bad . . . but there are occasional words which have a different meaning.

As for French or German . . . I would be at the mercy of others since I know neither language.

-- Jeff

Anonymous said...

Sounds a good idea, Greg. My French isn't too bad, although a bit rusty, and my German is very slight, but if I can contribute, I will.

All the best,


Der Alte Fritz said...

Somewhere I have a photograph or drawing of a Prussian musketeer and each bit of equipment is identified by its name (on the picture itself) in both German and English.

I might have gotten it from the von Donap Regiment re-enactment group web site in the USA. That's a good idea that you have there.

Bloggerator said...

The image will be very much appreciated, I'm sure.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how to publish this information? I was thinking of a shared blog where members could post new items, but I think that might be a very disorganised way of presenting the information.

What I realy want is two word lists; one of French, and one of German terms that I can easily update. It really sounds likt two html pages linked to off a single index page with a "contact me" very prominently.

Anonymous said...

Greg - the French military miniatures society publish a french/german/italian/english dictionary of military terms, and it sounds like you need a copy. I'll dig out the details.
cheers d.

Bloggerator said...

Yes I do! And thanks,


Anonymous said...


See the club francais de la figurine historique:

The Lexique Quadrilinque d'Uniformologie Illustre is the publication you want - it's invaluable. Contact Daniel Peyrot, his english is pretty good and he should be able to sort you out.

Anonymous said...

I have a booklet with drawing and translation in French, English , Germant and Italian languages
Edited in the eighties by a French association CCHF:Lexique quadrilingue d'uniformologie.
I will scan it and send you an URL to download it in .pdf format

Bloggerator said...


As ever, I am in your debt.