Presentation on theme: "Evelyn H. Jimenez Francis Espiritu Scott Auran. If we were dropped back in time into Elizabethan England, there would be considerable difficulty understanding."— Presentation transcript:
If we were dropped back in time into Elizabethan England, there would be considerable difficulty understanding common people at best. We most likely would not be able to understand them, and they definitely would not be able to understand us.
English language started when German invaders from what is now Northern Germany and Denmark came and conquered what is Britain in the 8th and 9th century. Most who inhabited Britain spoke a Celtic language, but Celtic speakers were pushed towards Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Normans later came in the 11th century and eventually fused the language into Anglo-Norman. English language can be traced to many dialects such as "Anglo- Saxon, Anglo-Frisian, etc." Words began to be borrowed from Romantic languages such as Latin. English developed into a language that borrowed words and phrases from other languages, resulting in broadened vocabulary.
Language of Germanic groups contributed to the rise of the English language. Many Germanic groups fought and traded with the Roman Empire (who spoke Latin) so many Latin words were used to identify different things. (Objects, feelings, etc) The introduction of Christianity brought Latin and Greek words into the English Language. English was later introduced to Old Norse, another Germanic dialect, many roots and words were similar to the other Germanic languages, but the grammar was more distinct. Works such as Beowulf were written in Old English.
Influenced by Old English language (Anglo-Norman) and Anglo-French. French was retained and seen as a prestigious language even after the decline of Norman influence. Most famous of Middle English writers was Geoffrey Chaucer. (Author of Canterbury Tales) Once parliament was addressed in English by King Edward III in 1362, it became the dominant language. Anglo-Norman was spoken in a few groups, but eventually became a language that was used by the masses.
Rooted from Great Vowel Shift, as well as influenced by London-based dialect which government and administration spoke. Over time English continued to take words from the Greek and Latin languages. By time of Shakespeare in the 1600s, the language was recognized as what is now known as Modern English. First English Dictionary was published in 1604 by Robert Cawdrey, called Table Alphabeticall
By 1500, 35,000 books had been printed in Europe alone. With the sudden increase in the reading audience, people demanded to read books in their own language and not other languages like Latin. Translations of old and new works were in high demand.
Elizabethan playwrights did not have much power over their own work because publishing companies did not need their permission to reprint it. All printers needed to do was have all the works meet the requirements of the Stationers Company of London, the national censorship committee. Printers need to make sure that what they were publishing did not offend the monarchy. Certain certification was needed for “significant work” by the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of London, the Lord Chamberlain, and other member of the Privy Council. A panel of 12 examined less significant writing.
The English Language during the later 16 th century, known as early modern English, was being refined to a standard that all people could follow. There were many discrepancies between words based on their spelling, pronunciation, and how words should rhyme.
4.2.38 Dogberry: “Yea, marry, that’s the eftest way.” Here “eftest” is thought to be a mistake for “fastest” or “deftest.” (4) 4.2.1 Dogberry: “Is our whole dissembly appeared?” Here “dissembly” is a mistake for “assembly.” (4)
By Shakespeare's time in Early Modern English “you” was being used for both in singular and plural form, but in the singular it also had a role as an alternative to “thou” and “thee.” “You” was used by people of lower status to those above them (such as ordinary people to nobles, children to parents, servants to masters), and was also the formal way for the upper classes to talk to each other. “Thou” and “thee” were used by people of higher rank to those beneath them, and by the lower classes to each other; also, strangely enough, in addressing God and in talking to witches, ghosts, and other supernatural beings.
As a refection of the higher status of males in the male/female context a husband might address his wife as thou, and she might reply respectfully with you. The use of thou and you also had an emotional dimension. Thou commonly expressed special intimacy or affection; you, formality, politeness, and distance. Example from Romeo and Juliet: 1.5.122: “you kiss by th’ book.”
“Thou” might also be used by an inferior to a superior, to express such feelings as anger and contempt or to be insulting and this is one of the areas where Shakespeare is able to get extra levels of meaning by showing disrespect by one character for another's status. (3) The use of “thou” to a person of equal rank could be used as an insult. (3)
1.3.5-7 Juliet: “How now, who calls?” Nurse: “Your mother.” Juliet: “Madam, I am here. What is your will?” 1.5.108-109 Juliet: “Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hands too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this.” 1.5.114-115 Romeo: “O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray: grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.”
2.1.193-202 Petruchio: “You lie, in faith, for you are called plain Kate, And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst, But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom, Kate of Kate Hall, my super- dainty Kate—For dainties are all Kates—and therefore, Kate, Take this of me, Kate of my consolation: Hearing thy mildness praised in every town, Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded—Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs—Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.” 2.1.210 Katherine : “Asses are made to bear, and so are you.” 2.1.316 Katherine: “I’ll see thee hanged on Sunday first.”
Many rhymes and puns in Shakespeare's plays don't work in modern English because the pronunciation of the words has changed. In Shakespeare's time mood rhymed with blood, one was pronounced own, so rhymed with alone, and wars was pronounced to rhyme with stars.(1) An example of forced rhyme from Romeo and Juliet: 2.3.99-100: “may this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your households rancor into pure love.”
The lines of this speech of Jaques in As You Like It would have been hilarious to a 16th-century audience: “Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, And after one hour more 'twill be eleven; And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot; And thereby hangs a tale.” Hour was pronounced oar at the time; so was whore. If you substitute the word whore for hour, you will see the joke. (1)
Shakespeare hardly wrote his plays in prose, but he made in exception when writing the speaking parts to characters of lower class. Prose is the least “elevated” in dramatic speech and it is also used so that the people talking in prose seem like “clowns.” Among the higher classes, prose is considered an informal way of speaking. As much as it is common for the lower classes to speak in prose, depicting social and economical status through speech in prose was never Shakespeare’s intention.
3.1.36-45 Bottom: Nay, you must name his name, and half his face must be seen through the lion’s neck. And he himself must speak through, saying thus—or to the same defect—“Ladies,” or “Fair ladies,” “I would wish you” or “I would request you” or “I would entreat you” “not to fear, not to tremble, my life for yours. If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life. No, I am no such thing. I am a man as other men are.” And there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner. 5.1.125-131 Theseus :This fellow doth not stand upon points. Lysander: He hath rid his prologue like a rough colt. He knows not the stop. A good moral, my lord: it is not enough to speak, but to speak true. Hippolyta :Indeed he hath played on his prologue like a child on a recorder—a sound, but not in government.
Malapropism: an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.actthe Shakespeare loved to use malapropisms, especially with the lower class characters in his plays that doubled as the comic relief.
4.2.58-59 Dogberry: “O, villain! Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this!” Here “redemption” is a mistake for damnation. Very confusing. (4) 1.2.112-113 Grumio: (to HORTENSIO) “I pray you, sir, let him go while the humor lasts. O' my word, an she knew him as well as I do, she would think scolding would do little good upon him. She may perhaps call him half a score knaves or so. Why, that’s nothing; an he begin once, he’ll rail in his rope tricks.” “Rope tricks” confused for “rhetoric”.
1- http://virtuallinguist.typepad.com/the_virtual_linguist/2009/06/ english-in-shakespeares-time.html http://virtuallinguist.typepad.com/the_virtual_linguist/2009/06/ english-in-shakespeares-time.html 2- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Jonson#Relationship_with_Sha kespeare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Jonson#Relationship_with_Sha kespeare 3- http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare- early-middle-english.htm http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/resources/shakespeare- early-middle-english.htm 4- ‘Much ado About Nothing’,Folger’s edition, Mowat and Werstine The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare: An Introduction with Documents by Russ McDonald (Second Edition) Shakespeare’s World by D.L Johanyak
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