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Try talking like Shakespeare today

By Staff | Apr 23, 2011

Today is the 447th birthday of William Shakespeare, without exception acknowledged as the greatest writer in the history of the English language.

So why was Shakespeare so great?

Probably because he was the best at doing what he did. He was the best in using classical sources in his writing.

He was the best in coining new words and phrases (more than one person has termed Hamlet “trite” when in all actuality it was the first time such phrases as “To be or not to be”

ever appeared). And, Shakespeare was probably best at plunging into the depths of the human psyche.

He makes us feel sympathy for the villain Iago in Othello and he makes us cheer on Costard, a common clown, in Love’s Labour’s Lost. He makes us feel the pathos as Falstaff is abandoned by Prince Hal and he makes us suffer with Romeo and Juliet.

Following are some tips from talklikeshakespeare.org on how you can observe Talk Shakespeare Day.

n Instead of you, say thou or thee (and instead of y’all, say ye).

n Rhymed couplets are all the rage.

n Men are sirrah, ladies are mistress, and your friends are all called cousin.

n Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.

n Don’t waste time saying “it,” just use the letter “t” (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t).

n Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns.

n When in doubt, add the letters “eth” to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).

n To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.

n When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say “Get thee to a nunnery!”

n When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.