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The role of William Shakespeare in the evolution of English language
Every living language changes through time. It is impossible to record linguistic changes, as most of them pass unnoticed by contemporaries. A living language is like a living being. It cannot be absolutely static, so it develops together with the speech community, that is, with people who speak it.
The most common language today is English. Nowadays there is a little number of people who are able to understand the Old English, as it is much differ from the modern English.
The historical development of any language is continuous process without sudden breaks or rapid transformations. Traditionally, the English history is divided into three periods: Old English, Middle English and New English.
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century.
I love Ic lufige Ic sceal lufian
Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in ġeār-dagum, þēod-cyninga, þrym ġefrūnon, hū ðā æþelingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scēfing sceaþena þrēatum, monegum mǣġþum, meodosetla oftēah, egsode eorlas. Syððan ǣrest wearð fēasceaft funden, hē þæs frōfre ġebād, wēox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þāh, oðþæt him ǣġhwylc þāra ymbsittendra ofer hronrāde hȳran scolde, gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs gōd cyning! What! We of Gare-Danes (lit. Spear-Danes) in yore-days, of thede (nation/people)-kings, did thrum (glory) frayne (learn about by asking), how those athelings (noblemen) did ellen (fortitude/courage/zeal) freme (promote). Oft did Scyld Scefing of scather threats (troops), of many maegths (clans; cf. Irish cognate Mac-), of mead-settlements atee (deprive), [and] ugg (induce loathing in, terrify; related to "ugly") earls. Sith (since, as of when) erst (first) [he] worthed (became) [in] fewship (destitute) found, he of this frover (comfort) aboded, [and] waxed under welkin (firmament/clouds), [and amid] worthmint (honour/worship) threed (thrived/prospered) oth that (until that) him each of those umsitters (those "sitting" or dwelling roundabout) over whale-road (kenning for "sea") hear should, [and] yeme (heed/obedience; related to "gormless") yield. That was [a] good king!
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century.
Forrþrihht anan se time comm þatt ure Drihhtin wollde ben borenn i þiss middellærd forr all mannkinne nede he chæs himm sone kinnessmenn all swillke summ he wollde & whær he wollde borenn ben he chæs all att hiss wille. As soon as the time came that our Lord wanted to be born in this middle-earth for the sake of all mankind, at once he chose kinsmen for himself, all just as he wanted, and he decided that he would be born exactly where he wished.
In the course of Middle English the grammatical system of the language underwent profound alteration. In Middle English grammatical forms could also be built in the analytical way, with the help of auxiliary words.
Soule of the Age! The applause! Delight! The wonder of our Stage! My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge there by Chauser, or Spenser, or bid Beamont lye A little further, to make thee a roome: Thou art a monument, without a tombe, And art alive still, while thy Booke doth live, And we have wits to read, and praise to give. Triumph, my Britaine, thou hast one to showe. To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe. He was not of an age, but for all time! "To the memory of my beloved, The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare: and what he hath left us"- Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".
In his younger years Shakespeare went to the local Grammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon. He would have learnt the history, theatre and acting as well as Catechism in English and Latin.
Acting was part of local village culture, and this did not just mean studying a part, but also allowed the player to become a vessel through which something else could be expressed.
The Lord Chamberlain's Men
Good friend for Jesus sake forebeare To dig the dust enclosed heare; Bleste be ye man yt spares these stones And curst be he yt moves my bones.
Anne: Thou was’t the cause, and most accurst effect. Richard: Your beauty was was the cause of that effect: Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleepe, To vndertake the death of all the wotld, So I might lieu one houre in your sweet bosom. Anne: If I thought that, I tell thee Homicide, These Nailes should rent that beauty from my Cheeks. Richard: These eyes could not yt beauties wrack, You should not blemish it, if I stood by; As all the world is cleared by the Sunne, So I by that: It is my day, my life. Anne: Blacke night ore-shade thy day, & death my thy life. Richard: Curse not thy selfe faire Creature, Thou art both. Anne: I would I were, to be reueng’d on thee. Richard: It is a quarrel most vnnatural, To be reueng’d on him that loueth thee.
There were two second-person-pronoun forms throughout the history of the language. “You” forms were formal and plural; thou forms were singular and informal. These were grammatical and social categories, and in Shakespeare’s time they still had force.
The word “assassin” comes originally from an Arabic term meaning a “hashish eater”. Members of certain sects would get high on their hash before committing violent deeds. Only in the first third of the sixteenth century does it appear, in English (and spelled “Ascismus”) to mean someone who would kill for money.
If it were done when ‘tis done then ‘twere well If it were done quickly. If th’ assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With his surcease success, that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all – here, But here upon this bank and shoal of time, We’d jump the life to come.
Accommodation Barefaced Countless Courtship Dwindle Premeditated Submerged
Iambic pentameter : abab cdcd efef gg (Shakespearean sonnet)
Sonnet 99 The forward violet thus did I chide: Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells, If not from my love's breath? The purple pride Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed. The lily I condemned for thy hand, And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair: The roses fearfully on thorns did stand, One blushing shame, another white despair; A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath; But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth A vengeful canker eat him up to death. More flowers I noted, yet I none could see But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.
Sonnet 145 Those lips that Love's own hand did make Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate' To me that languish'd for her sake; But when she saw my woeful state, Straight in her heart did mercy come, Chiding that tongue that ever sweet Was used in giving gentle doom, And taught it thus anew to greet: 'I hate' she alter'd with an end, That follow'd it as gentle day Doth follow night, who like a fiend From heaven to hell is flown away; 'I hate' from hate away she threw, And saved my life, saying 'not you.'
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