The "Language of Shakespeare" is a course in two parts, covering one academic year. It will take the form of an intensive, linguistically oriented reading of one of Shakespeare's plays each term. This is not a literature course but an introduction to the grammar, vocabulary and syntax of Early Modern English.
Small tests after every second class and a final examination.
The texts of two selected plays. (handouts)
C.T. Onions: A Shakespeare Glossary.
The reading of one play, a comedy, will take the form of a linguistic analysis of each act, spending about two classes on one particular act.
We shall examine Shakespearean pronunciation and its differences and similarities with modern R.P. and particularly American English. Dialectical divergencies will be pointed out.
Semantic changes will be studied as well as syntactic devices particular to Shakespeare. Of particular importance will be the study of rhetorical devices, such as metaphor, simile, personification, synaesthesis, allegory, etc. In the first term, some attention will be given to the humour of Elizabethan English and particularly the pun, which gives so much difficulty to modern audiences.
In the second term basically the same approach will be taken, but this time devices particular to tragedy, i.e. pathetic fallacy, metaphor etc. will be dealt with.
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