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Shakespeare's language

Average: 3.7 (7 votes)
According to linguist David Crystal, only 5 to 10 per cent of Shakespearean English is different from modern English. However, even that small percentage can confuse students and make the plays and poems seem quite inaccessible. In this lesson, students will learn about grammatical changes since Shakespeare’s time, and, depending on their first language background, may discover that Shakespearean English is actually closer in some ways to their own language.

Shakespeare's language

Students will also learn some common vocabulary items and use their knowledge to ‘translate’ Shakespeare into modern-day English, as well as attempting to write in Shakespearean language themselves.

Topic: Archaic Language in Shakespeare’s works

Level: C1

Time: 90 minutes


• to develop students’ awareness of changes in grammar since Shakespeare’s day, and some key items of Shakespearean vocabulary, so that students are better able to understand Shakespeare in the original

• to introduce students to some famous quotations and a well-known Shakespearean speech from Romeo and Juliet

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