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Shakespeare's Influence on English Language
Transcript of Shakespeare's Influence on English Language
Early Modern English Shakespeare's works were not written in Old English
Old English was used from about the 5th century (400 A.D.) to the 11th century (1000 A.D.)
Old English is closer to the Germanic mother tongue of the Anglo Saxons than to contemporary English. Shakespeare actually wrote in Early Modern English. It began in about 1450 (A.D.) and looks almost identical to contemporary English. Shakespeare popularized, or created as some believe, an abundance of words and phrases. It is impossible for us to know if he created them or just picked them off the street but he is the first source found for many terms. Most scholars agree that he coined about one thousand and seven hundred (1,700) words. He used old and new vocabulary. Some words were archaic even to his own time while others were fresh cultural inventions or creations of his own. Nearly ten percent of his vocabulary of twenty thousand words was new to him and to his audience. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) cites him as the original source for many words.
He is credited for words such as: accommodation, barefaced, countless, courtship, dwindle, premeditated, submerged, and many more.
We quote Shakespeare regularly without even knowing it.
He twisted nouns and verbs and created adjectives and adverbs for example, "to dawn" and "to elbow" out of the way
He nouned verbs and verbed nouns
Turned "assassin" into assassination
Shakespeare helped expressive appropration rather than economic clarity...
For example, In Hebrew there may be one word to describe something when in English there are ten ways to describe that same thing. Shakespeare often borrowed from other languages and anglicized them: Bandito was italian and he created "bandit". Today we borrow phrases from foreign languages. We talk about someone having a
certain "je ne sais quoi" without worrying about whether
mixing English with French is treason. Shakespeare was pop-culture
His plays were performed frequently, from fancy theatres to makeshift stages in halls, to saloons and churches.
German Philosopher, Karl Kurtz, after visiting the United States said, "There is assuredly no other country on earth which Shakespeare and the Bible are held in such general high esteem." In the 1800's parodies of Shakespeare's works abounded.
The people would have to have known his works well enough to get the jokes.
Shakespeare's character Jessica in the Merchant of Venice popularized the name in the states.
1. What language did Shakespeare write in?
2. What Dictionary often quotes him as the
source of origin?
3. What famous book did the German
Philosopher say was held in such high esteem next to Shakespeare? Not Middle English English went through dramatic changes at the arrival of the french speaking Normans in 1066.
Middle English started around 1350
Middle English is more understandable than Old English but still looks like a foreign language. Many students are under the misconception that
Shakespeare wrote in Old English due to his
complex sentence structure and sometimes archaic words but the truth is...