''Gaol'' and ''shew''

Police   Tuesday, August 03, 2004, 21:33 GMT
Are these archaic spellings of ''jail'' and ''show'' or are there still people that use them?
Mi5 Mick   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 03:13 GMT
Gaol looks like the French word gêole. I think they're only used in literary works.

I had never heard of "shew".
CalifJim   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 05:39 GMT
"gaol" is an old-fashioned spelling (chiefly in the U.K., Ireland) for "jail".

Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Gaol". (pronounced redding jail)
Kilmainham Gaol.

"shew" is a very old form of "show", pronounced "show".

As used in the Bible, it is regarded by some as an old form of "show" and by others as an old word different from "show", meaning "comparison" or "contrast".
Clark   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 08:19 GMT
"Shew" to me is like when you see a crow in your corn field, and you say, "shew, crow!"
Mi5 Mick   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 10:43 GMT
That's what I was thinking.
Jordi   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 12:15 GMT
I can assure you I learnt to write "gaol" and not "jail" back in the seventies in Australia. I've been told Australians now write "jail" except for official jails, which are still called "gaols". Could you please confirm this? I write British English so should I write "gaol" and "gaoler" or "jail" and "jailer"?
Police   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 13:12 GMT
"Shew" to me is like when you see a crow in your corn field, and you say, "shew, crow!"

Clark, That's spelled ''shoo'' not ''shew''.

Mi5 Mick   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 13:24 GMT

I guess I'm not old enough for "gaol" (a pun :) )

I may have seen "gaol" a few times, but as far as I know, it's "jail" in Aus. By "official jails", do you mean the names of prisons? Then you might be right. I wouldn't know as my sparring is confined to a ring :)
As for British English, no idea sorry.

It's an odd spelling. If I'd seen it for the first time, I'd pronounce it 'gale'. I wonder if once upon a time, there was an 'e' after the 'g' to give it the 'j' sound.
Jordi   Wednesday, August 04, 2004, 15:13 GMT
I finally did some Internet research: gaol, jail, Australia and the whole country seems to be divided on that one. Originally "gaol" and now both "gaol" and "jail" are accepted and used depending on who writes and the level of formality. Definitely "gaol" in legal texts and historic prisons: Old Melbourne Gaol, Trial Bay Gaol, Adelaide Gaol and so forth. I imagine the Macquarie Dictionary probably accepts both but I don't own one of those and just have a Collins and a few bilingual and legal texts ones. Maybe you can tell me about Australian dictionaries. If you find out please tell me. Differences between written Australian English and British English must be almost nonexistent although Australian do seem to have accepted a few American exceptions in the past 25 years.
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Mi5 Mick   Thursday, August 05, 2004, 01:38 GMT
I don't know where my Macquarie Dictionary has got to. I haven't looked at it for years.

Here is what Google says for "Pages from Australia" (you have to click the radio button):

Results 1 - 10 of about 129,000 for jail
Results 1 - 10 of about 34,500 for gaol

As you can see, there are fewer "gaol" instances and as you go through them many of them are names and are capitalised. ie. "Gaol". eg. Castlemaine Gaol.

At school I always learned "jail" but this might be a regional thing like with pronunciation. eg. some Victorians say /k@sl/ for castle (it's not an American thing, but a legacy from a certain region of Britain). Also, a few Australians say /w^t/ for "what" instead of /wot/. (again this is not necessarily from American influences)
nic   Thursday, August 05, 2004, 14:16 GMT
As said Mi5 Mick, Gaol is effectively from the french Geôle