Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What You've Missed When Reading Shakespeare

Poetry often relies nearly as much on the sounds of the words themselves as it does their meaning.  It is easy to forget that common pronunciation has changed drastically over the course of centuries.  Shakespeare wrote near the end of what is known as the Great Vowel Shift, a centuries-long process during which the English language evolved in a peculiar way, the pronunciation of vowels shifting away from French roots and thus, farther from the rest of the Romance languages.  One side-effect of this change is some nuance that gets lost when the writing of the time is read with current pronunciation.

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