pacomartin
pacomartin
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October 23rd, 2010 at 9:32:51 PM permalink
English speaker's have gotten so used to "received pronounciation" which is sometimes called "the queen's english" as the highest form of English, we forget that Shakespeare spoke a very different kind of English. In reality the queen's english is somewhat new to history. Ben Crystak gives one of the better readings of Sonnet 116 in both pronounciations, but there is a lot of lost impact from the original pronounciation.
Sonnet 116 received pronounciation vs original pronounciation

I didn't really like the movie Renaissance Man, but this delivery of the Crispin Crispian's day speech in Brooklyn English from Henry V was very moving. Here it is delivered by a man from Northern Ireland: Kenneth Branch delivers the Crispin Crispian's Day's speech .
mkl654321
mkl654321
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October 24th, 2010 at 12:18:57 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

English speaker's have gotten so used to "received pronounciation" which is sometimes called "the queen's english" as the highest form of English, we forget that Shakespeare spoke a very different kind of English. In reality the queen's english is somewhat new to history. Ben Crystak gives one of the better readings of Sonnet 116 in both pronounciations, but there is a lot of lost impact from the original pronounciation.
Sonnet 116 received pronounciation vs original pronounciation

I didn't really like the movie Renaissance Man, but this delivery of the Crispin Crispian's day speech in Brooklyn English from Henry V was very moving. Here it is delivered by a man from Northern Ireland: Kenneth Branch delivers the Crispin Crispian's Day's speech .



I wonder if the world is infested by billions of wandering apostrophes, flitting from place to place and finding a home by attaching themselves to words where they don't belong, but disguising themselves by hiding in plain sight: just before a final "s". I imagine that's why you wrote "English speaker's"--one of those sneaky apostrophes got in there when you weren't looking. They're insidious, you know.

The Great Vowel Shift was just underway in 1600 (Shakespeare's time). If you read Shakespeare (particularly his sonnets) without that in mind, there will be a lot of puzzling moments as some words just don't sound right.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Wizard
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Wizard 
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October 24th, 2010 at 3:21:18 PM permalink
I've always wondered if during the time of Shakespeare and King James whether people actually spoke like a Shakespeare play and the King James bible. For example, the King James attaches a "th" to the end of verbs a lot, like "believeth." What sayest thou?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
mkl654321
mkl654321
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October 24th, 2010 at 3:46:21 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I've always wondered if during the time of Shakespeare and King James whether people actually spoke like a Shakespeare play and the King James bible. For example, the King James attaches a "th" to the end of verbs a lot, like "believeth." What sayest thou?



Well, one problem that ariseth is that the time of Shakespeare (when he was actually writing) and the time of King James weren't congruent; they were consecutive. The language in many of Shakespeare's later plays was altered when they were performed in King James' time, and printed editions (after the First Folio) were mucked with as well. For instance, there is a whole page in MacBeth that Shakespeare never wrote--it was stuck in to prolong one of the witches' scenes, because the play was going to be performed for King James, who was fascinated by witches (he wrote a book on them). But several of the witches' rhyming chants in that extended scene would NOT have rhymed in Shakespeare's heyday; pronunciation changed that fast in the period 1590-1620.

The ending of verbs with -th or -eth rather than -s or -es was falling into disuse even in Shakespeare's time, as was "hath" for "has", and "thou" and "thee" instead of "you". Those constructs were viewed as somewhat stilted and rather quaint. However, Elizabethan audiences expected "elevated" language in their plays; the Bible was likewise expected to speak in elevated tones. In an era where most were illiterate, elevated language was an instant aural cue that the speaker was dealing with a weighty, formal, or literally "dramatic" subject. Royal proclamations, for example, used Elizabethan elevated language well into the eighteenth century.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Nareed
Nareed
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October 24th, 2010 at 5:04:21 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I've always wondered if during the time of Shakespeare and King James whether people actually spoke like a Shakespeare play and the King James bible.



I seriously doubt people in any era went about speaking in iambic pentameter.
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mkl654321
mkl654321
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October 24th, 2010 at 5:20:08 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I seriously doubt people in any era went about speaking in iambic pentameter.



Maybe not formally, but one of the reasons that iambic pentameter has been used by playwrights and poets for so many centuries is that it mimics the natural rhythms of human speech.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Wizard
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October 24th, 2010 at 6:00:59 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

In an era where most were illiterate, elevated language was an instant aural cue that the speaker was dealing with a weighty, formal, or literally "dramatic" subject. Royal proclamations, for example, used Elizabethan elevated language well into the eighteenth century.



Good answer, thanks. It is nice to have an English teacher around when you need one. It sounds like basically, your answer is no, they didn't speak like that in everyday conversation. The movie Shakespeare in Love used dialogue that was much easier to follow than a Shakespeare play, but I wasn't sure if that was done for the benefit of the modern audience. For much the same reason so many characters conveniently speak modern English in the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Doc
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October 24th, 2010 at 6:14:01 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

... so many characters conveniently speak modern English in the Star Wars ....

Don't you just love listening to Yoda and Jar-Jar?
Wizard
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Wizard 
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October 24th, 2010 at 6:54:25 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

Don't you just love listening to Yoda and Jar-Jar?



Yoda is fine, but I can't stand Jar Jar.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Doc
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October 24th, 2010 at 7:06:48 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Yoda is fine, but I can't stand Jar Jar.

You and everyone else, including me!

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