Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What Shakespeare’s Plays Sounded Like With Their Original English Accent

How do you know what it sounded like back then?


ampersand said...

How do you know what it sounded like back then?

I don't know about the pronunciation but the women's parts had deeper voices.

Rhythm and Balls said...

They rhymed!

Er, rhym-ehed.

Chip Ahoy said...

Very good! Thank you for this. And it does prove a theory of mine that is quite rude. It sounds much better than modern English accents that sound lazy on a national scale and straight up retarded by contrast. Modern British sound much better in print than they do speaking it, such sticklers for grammar, they write far better than Americans do.

I developed this bias over a decade of following a satire site where they do a lot of speaking and writing. They're impossible to listen to while their written opinions are things of real beauty.

Here's my problem, non rhotic is one thing, while intrusive r is another. Together they amount to complete r displacement where enunciation is crucial to comprehension. Thirdly, the glottal stop consonant substitution is intolerable. There ain't no glottal stops in proper English! In all three cases awareness of the slight is compensated with emphasis on the conscious mispronunciation. So all of those errors of exclusion, intrusion, substitution are emphasized contorting the language unattractively.

Americans sing their speech by comparison.

Listen to Milo, eminently listenable because he's so entertainingly interesting. It's "Americer in the first two or three instances, then America thereafter. And that proves (to me, apparently alone) that it's all affectation. And it's everyone, not only Milo.

One grandmother was Welsh and my brother and I marveled at her precision in speaking. We talked about it even in the first grade. "She says every single d and every single t and double letters are enunciated." She enunciated sweetly every single letter. No elision ever. Not once. We wondered how she did it. That takes a lot of patience, we thought way back then.

Her husband was Scottish, our Grandpa, and we never did understand a single word he said. His language was so incredibly guttural and coarse and so filled with odd expressions and bizarre locution that he remained 100% incomprehensible to us.

Ex: One day we walked around their house assessing damage following a storm. He stepped in a puddle and got his shoe and sock wet. He swore. His swearing involved a lot of blood. Grandma chided him. He snapped back. *very low voice* Twasn't thetherethen butits thethere neeew.

Barry and I looked at each other. I asked Barry to interpret, "Did he just now say the tit is new?"

Barry answered, "No. I think he said, "It wasn't the there then but it's the there now."

We just shook our heads. "Too many "the's!" *disgusted* "It's like he has a "the" shaker and he shakes them all over the place like salt."

He remains a mystery to me.

ndspinelli said...

The nuns took us to a Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, CT.[no shit] every year. I am very fortunate to have that experience. The Theater went out of biz years back. Feminists don't teach the Bard anymore. Fucking insane!

Amartel said...

Fascinating. Why drop the R out? Same with some American accents. Apparently it slows things down. Maybe it sounds more patrician and/or more precise? Like, draw near and attend to my important words.

Scottish accent takes some time to pick up. Gotta run everything through the Scot-o-lator, or request clarification, at least for the first few conversations. Even the English have issues with it.

rhhardin said...

British DVDs absolutely require subtitles.

William said...

They used to say the people in the Appalachian hollows had an Elizabethan accent when such places were isolated, but what with with tv and gangsta rap that's probably not true anymore.......That was an interesting presentation, but accents in England vary widely. I bet Shakespeare's Stratford accent stood out in London.....Maybe actors had their own accent. Maybe they all tried to talk like Ronald Coleman. Nobody in England talked like Ronald Coleman.. It was literally a stage accent....... Arthur Wellesley's mother sent him to Eton because the poor kid was developing an Irish accent. She wanted him to have an Eton accent. That was the accent of the ruling class. Accents are markers of place and your place in that place in Great Britain.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I am watching Witness, which has the wrong German in it. Amish speak a more archaic German from the time they immigrated and not the high German of today.

The English Accent of Public Schools is a relatively recent thing--and it did not exist when Shakespeare was alive. Yet that is the accent that is most used by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

This video above was going around a few years back, but it is still interesting.