Category Archives: Culture

Culture in history

Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation

Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation

Shakespeare’s original pronunciation, what do we mean by this?

Most of us hear Shakespeare spoken in a modern voice, the language of the 21st century. To hear it spoken with the original pronunciation changes both both the obervers perception and understanding of the work.

Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets come alive when pronounced in the voice of the 1600’s

Shakespeare’s plays, read with the original pronunciation of the 1600’s are completely stunning. In the anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death, lines of Shakespeare can be heard across the media but few will sound like the Shakespeare in the following clip. To understand the reasoning behind the pronunciation is in itself a revelation and a nod to pragmatic methodology. It is all well and good for people who are engaged academically with Shakespeare to know and understand this but is it ever taught to children studying Shakespeare in our schools?

Shakespeare's original pronunciation
What would Shakespeare have made of his works in modern English?

Not just Shakespeare’s missing language

If, as is suggested, we misunderstand the meaning behind some of Shakespeare lines, then surely we are doing the same with other great writers. When Chaucer is taught, how much do we lose by not understanding the missing language?

Shakespeare spoke with a rhotic accent

So how do we know how people in the 17th century pronounced their words? The video below explains it very well but in particular, it’s the way the ‘R’ is pronunced that changes the whole sound structure of the line. It might seem odd but spoken English in the 16th and 17th century and the sound of the ‘R’ was much like the ‘R’ pronunciation of Americans and Canadians today. The rhotic ‘R’ was much more like the growl and bark of a dog. Listen to the video below to understand the difference.

 

Shakespeare’s missing language should be heard by all

And it can be, there are many places to go and listen to Shakespeare’s original pronunciation. Listen below to an extract from Romeo and Juliet part of the British Library Board Collection.

Historic Gold in Old Books

Historic Gold in Old Books

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Intriguing London

A chance find in a charity book store, led to the unexpected discovery of a collection of books that belonged to the late Colin Sorenson. All sorts of books on London containing a few historical golden nuggets.

Richard III son of York buried in Leicester

Richard III son of York buried in Leicester

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series House of York

Richard III son of York controversial king reinterment in 2015 in leicester. A new event on the House of York and Plantagement timeline, Whether you are a Ricardian or not, this has been a monumental week and here are some pictures resources and reflections on this intriguing moment in British history.

Queen Elizabeth I Statue London

Queen Elizabeth I Statue London

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Intriguing London

The Queen Elizabeth I statue in London is that city’s oldest outdoor statue but it no longer stands where it was intended. It was re-positioned in the 1920’s and unveiled by Millicent Fawcett, the noted feminist.

Crossbones Graveyard

Crossbones Graveyard

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Intriguing London

Crossbones graveyard in Southwark is adorned with colourful ribbons, a tribute to those Winchester Geese and others who exist on the margins of society. This burial ground has been in existence since Medieval times.

Halloween Pagan or Christian Celebration?

Halloween Pagan or Christian Celebration?

The origins of Halloween as a moment when mankind acknowledges or pays some kind of homage to the light giving way to darkness, are buried deeply in mans past. Each culture and it’s attendant religion seems to recognize the importance of this yearly passage and morphs it into it’s own.