Hermione’s words to Leontes in The Winter’s Taleare likely to ring true with many people reading or watching Shakespeare’s plays today. For decades, people have been studying Shakespeare’s life and times, and in recent years there has been a renewed surge of interest into aspects of his language.
So how can we better understand Shakespeare’s vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation? How did he manipulate language to produce such an unrivalled body of work, which has enthralled generations both as theatre and as literature? David Crystal addresses these and many other questions in this lively and original introduction to Shakespeare’s language. Covering in turn the five main dimensions of language structure - spelling, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and conversational style - the book shows how examining these linguistic ‘nuts and bolts’ can help us achieve a greater appreciation of Shakespeare’s linguistic creativity.
When writing Think on my Words, I compiled a number of tables and lists which - for reasons of space - it proved impossible to include in the published version.
These are found below, the page numbers referring to the relevant place in the book.