Unorthodox Spin

Chinaman Delivery

Chinaman Delivery
– source Sam Korn

You live and learn don’t you? It was only after posting about Google Translate yesterday that using the term ‘Chinaman’ is considered derogatory.

In my defence, I thought it was probably preferable to using the phrase ‘simplified’ or ‘traditional’ Chinese as Google Translate describes it, and to be honest, ‘Chinaman’ isn’t a word that I use that often.

Actually that’s not true. As a fan of cricket, the word ‘chinaman’ (no cap) is used to describe an unorthodox left-arm spin bowler’s delivery when the ball pitches on the offside for a right-hand batsman, then cuts in towards leg as shown above.

I suppose this term does have derogatory origins, especially as it is also known as a ‘wrong ‘un’. It came into use in 1933 at a Test match between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester.

The orthodox left-arm spinner, Elliss ‘Puss’ Achong, a player of Chinese descent, had Walter Robbins stumped from a surprise ball that cut back in the manner described.

As he walked back to the pavilion, Robbins said to his teammates ‘Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman!’, leading to the popularity of the term in England, and subsequently the rest of the world, or at least the civilised bits that play cricket.

Scots DialectBut back to Google Translate, Yorkshire Pudding also questioned why Liverpudlian wasn’t on the drop-down list. I can’t provide an answer, but it did remind me of the Scottish Parliament website that used to include Scots Dialect as one of its language options.

It greeted visitors with ‘Walcome tae the Scottish Pairlament wabsite’ and ran on in similar vein through the whole machinations of government.

I recall writing about this in 2004 and the Daily Mail cottoned on five years later, but the Pairlament has dropped the idea now, although the site does support English and thirteen other languages.

I haven’t been able to ascertain when or why the Scots dialect was dropped from the website. Perhaps because of a 2010 study that found that 64% of Scots adults didn’t consider it to be a language, even though 85% claimed to speak it to some degree or other.

I find it rather sad that this entertaining bit of the interweb should have vanished, but you can find other examples of pittin the mither tongue on the wab.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

6 comments… Add yours
  • Scouse Pudding 15th June 2012

    Since my last comment I have taken up an online correspondence course called “Speke Scouse”. One of the first expressions I learnt was this:-

    Whun in der pewl de wheels o’ yer jam jar might be stolun by thiev’n scousers.

    As you are such a clever and well-informed gentleman of high repute, I wonder if you are able to translate it.

  • Mr Parrot 15th June 2012

    I think it translates as ‘when in the ‘Pool, do as the Pudlians do’. (Before they do it unto you)

  • Roger Green 15th June 2012

    If one were bowling (US) and threw a shot like that, it would be considered from the Brooklyn side, or the Jersey side (Jersey being New Jersey), and both being to the left (west) of Manhattan.

  • Mr Parrot 15th June 2012

    I’ve tried my hand at ten pin bowling several times with varying degrees of success, but I’ve never been able to spin a ball as much as I can (could) at cricket!

  • rhymeswithplague 16th June 2012

    Roger beat me to it and now I have no comment. As we Americans say, “Bummer!” — which I suppose might mean something else in the U.K.

  • Mr Parrot 16th June 2012

    It has the meaning as you use it here Mr Plague, but it can indeed have ruder connotations.


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