[LMB] OT: Shakespeare's accent

lmb at matija.com lmb at matija.com
Sun Jul 25 20:45:33 BST 2021


On 25/07/2021 12:50, tidsel via Lois-Bujold wrote:
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>>> On Jul 24, 2021, at 1:00 PM, Markus Baur via Lois-Bujold <
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> (or maybe it was Elzabeth)
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>> There are lots of vids on YouTube explaining what the accent sounded like,
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>> and how we know. Here's one:
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>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYiYd9RcK5M
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> It does not say why they think it should be spoken like that, nor can I see how anyone can *know*.
> Theories, yes.
> Tidsel

The original ask was for how the speech sounded, not for a treatise on methodology.

So first, who is the guy speaking? He is an actor and curator of the Shakespeare Globe theater, who has done a lot of work on original pronunciation. He collaborated extensively with his father, linguist David Crystal.

If you look through his contributions on Youtube, you can find their lectures on the pronunciations and acting, and they mention something of their methods.

They have an advantage that the plays were written in Yambic pentameter (gives you an idea of rhythm and syllable counts), and that they rhymed.

They also have analyses of where different Shakespearean actors were from, which informs them on some of the possibilities.

Also, there were *linguists*, *in England*, *at the time*, who wrote about pronunciation. Ben Jonson (a contemporary of Shakespeare) wrote a pronouncing dictionary.

Can they know the pronunciations as well as if they walked the Elizabethan streets with a recorder? No.

But they make educated guesses based on extensive information that can be cross-checked.

For instance he addresses some of the methods in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqmgeth4tFY

Can one guarantee that they got everything right? Of course not. But they way to bet is that they got more right than wrong.


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