How Shakespeare spoke: Original Pronunciation, rhymes, and puns
We’re all familiar with at least some Shakespeare, but the chances are that we’ve only either read his words on the page, or heard them spoken with modern pronunciation. This, however, does not entirely match how Shakespeare and the original casts of his plays would have spoken. Even modern British English is not the same as what is known as Original Pronunciation.
Historical linguists have reconstructed Original Pronunciation, often based on conclusions that can be drawn from spelling and specific instructions given in 16th-century grammar books. In these videos David Crystal, author of The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespeare Pronunciation, explains how Original Pronunciation recovers the original rhymes and puns that are otherwise missing in modern performances of Shakespeare’s plays.
Puns in Original Pronunciation
Rhymes in Original Pronunciation
William Shakespeare was an English dramatist, poet, and actor who is often considered the greatest writer in the English language. His vast collection of work includes sonnets, comedies, historical plays, great tragedies, and tragicomedies, all of which have been translated into every major modern language. His most renowned plays include Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, and Cymbeline.