The other day I tweeted, but did not blog, an amusing little Shakespeare “translator” that takes select quotes from the various plays, and then offers up a modern interpretation in one of several United Kingdom dialects. It’s called What Do You Shakesp’hear? and it’s amusing enough, I suppose, but being on the wrong side of the pond I guess I have no point of reference for most of it 🙂
But! The creators of this tool, Leicester Square Box Office, emailed me to talk about it. My first thought was, “If these guys are interested in dialects they should talk to Ben Crystal.” Well, they already had:
“… every modern spoken English accent is a descendant of Shakespeare’s London accent, so when people go and hear it they tend to say ‘oh, that sounds a bit like where we come from’. They’re hearing the echo or the glimmer of their own accent’s decedent or ancestor. That means that it’s relatable…”
They’ve also got a classic “words and phrases that came from Shakespeare” quiz that, I’m ashamed to say, I found pretty difficult. The “which phrase came from Shakespeare” bit is easy, but half the questions are archaic Shakespeare-only words that you have to define. Which is really somewhat contrary to their mission, if you think about it? What’s the point of saying “look at all the words we use today that came from Shakespeare” alongside “look at all the words Shakespeare used that we don’t use anymore”?
Anyway, here’s a link to the quiz. See you how do. I only got 10/15.