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Shakespeare: Understanding The Language

Shakespeare

The Language of Shakespeare

One big issues with students encountering and reading Shakespeare is that they have no idea how these words are meant to sound. Remember, none of this was meant to be read anyway - it was always meant to be heard from a stage. As a result, lots of what Shakespeare wrote is confusing for modern readers. Rhymes and puns, for example, only make sense if you can "hear" them, and with very different accents much of the world play is lost. 

It turns out, scholars believe speech in Elizabethan English sounder much closer to modern Welsh, Scottish, or even the accent of Tennessee. 

This page provides links and useful resources, film clips, and films of live performances, as well as assistance with reading, performing, and pronouncing the Early Modern English of Shakespeare. We hope you find it helpful!

Videos Regarding Pronunciation

Evolving the Language

Pronouncing the Names

To Be Or Not To Be as Shakespeare Would Have Pronounced It

Shakespeare Vs. the Wu-Tang Clan