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This 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.
"Nigel Kelsey's Games, Rhymes, and Wordplay of London Children is a hefty ... handy, treasure ... . Kelsey was meticulous in his aims and scholarship. ... The result of their work is impressive. It is a comprehensive compilation of London childlore, including selective references to numerous publications, as well as a discography. It is a scholarly treasure of a book, which deserves a place on the English childlore shelf ... ." (Jean Pitre Soileau, Journal of Folklore Research, February 25, 2022)
"Games, Rhymes and Wordplay of London Children is an extensive collection of approximately 2,000 games, songs, rhymes, and wordplay. ... He supported his documentation of games, rhymes, and songs with a clear description of his methodology, making this a particularly valuable resource for those working in the field of research into children's cultures and education." (Athena Lill, Folk Music Journal, 2021)
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