Monday, 22 April 2013

Modern Language

Couple of weeks back at the last BDGPS meeting at the Cafe 5, I delivered a mini lecture about how to Shakespeare more interesting to the youth of today. I concluded the Iambic Pentameter was partially to blame. It makes the dialogue hard to master and turns the kids off, which is such a shame when the words themselves have so much meaning.

I also claimed that William was a 'punk', that he often did his own thing, wrote his own rules and famously, invented his own words. This last statement I used as evidence that it is academics who claim to be bastions of the English language that are stopping people from being interested in Shakespeare and that modern 'counter culture' which many refer to as 'chavs', 'goths' or 'emos' have more in common with the Bard than any of these professor types do.

The youth, with their slang terms and inarticulate grunts of communication are the ones tacking the language forward. By telling these social groups that they do not 'speak proper' Telling them to read Shakespeare so they can understand the English language is like telling them to stop listening to hip-hop and listen to Elvis Presley. Whatever your musical tastes, Elvis was at the start of the new movement that allowed Hip-Hip to be created, not a real reason for street beats not to exist.

William Shakespeare invented over 1700 new words in the English language. Some by changing the use from nouns into verbs and verb into adjectives. He put words together connecting them in ways never seen before. He added prefixes and suffixes, removed letters created completely new original words. And all because he wanted to make them fit, because he wanted to finish his work, because he, well, just wanted to.

So, our Will was a bit of rebel who just made things up to suit him and his art. Sounds like he should be a hero of the young and not as the graffiti once said about him, as a man who “wrote plays that were very boring”

Here are just a few of his creations:

academe, accused, addiction, advertising, amazement, arouse, assassination, backing, bandit, bedroom, beached, besmirch, birthplace, blanket, bloodstained, barefaced, blushing, bet, bump, buzzer, caked, cater, champion, circumstantial, cold, blooded, compromise, courtship, countless, critic, dauntless, dawn, deafening, discontent, dishearten, drugged, dwindle, epileptic, equivocal, elbow, excitement, exposure, eyeball, fashionable, fixture, flawed, frugal, generous, gloomy, gossip, green, eyed, gust, hint, hobnob, hurried, impede, impartial, invulnerable, jaded, label, lackluster, laughable, lonely, lower, luggage, lustrous, madcap, majestic, marketable, metamorphize, mimic, monumental, moonbeam, mountaineer, negotiate, noiseless, obscene, obsequiously, ode, olympian, outbreak, panders, pedant, premeditated, puking, radiance, rant, remorseless, savagery, scuffle, secure, skim milk, submerge, summit, swagger, torture, tranquil, undress, unreal, varied, vaulting, worthless, zany, gnarled, grovel


Ashley R Lister said...

I don't care whether or not the youth of today speak properly, I just wish the little bastards would learn to pull their pants up.

Great post.