April 22, 2009

Talketh Like Shakespeare on April 23

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is asking everyone to talk like William Shakespeare on April 23, in honor of the Bard’s 445th birthday. Shakespeare coined more than 1,700 words still in use in modern English and his plays influence the way we think about the world in which we live.

Not sure how to talk like Shakespeare? Here are some tips, courtesy of the Theater group:
  1. Instead of you, say thou. Instead of y’all, say thee.
  2. Rhymed couplets are all the rage.
  3. Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.
  4. Instead of cursing, try calling your tormentors jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.
  5. Don’t waste time saying "it," just use the letter "t" (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t).
  6. Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns.
  7. When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).
  8. To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.
  9. When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!"
  10. When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.
The Theater group wants you to send in your favorite Shakespearience – your first memory of Shakespeare, your favorite quote, a photo, or birthday message – to post on the website.

In addition, message any modern phrase to "ShakespeareSays" on Twitter, and it will be posted on the site what it would have sounded like four hundred years ago.

Read Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s proclamation naming April 23 Talk Like Shakespeare Day in Chicago.

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