Channel Your Inner Bard on Shakespeare’s 447th Birthday

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All the world’s a stage, so today, proclaimeth thy love for Shakespeare by speaking as he would have. 

The world’s most famous playwright passed away on April 23, 1616 – and is widely thought to be born on the same day 52 years earlier, in 1564. In honor of the wordsmith, who’s often credited with introducing a generous amount of new vocabulary into the English language (including, in fact, the word generous), the Chicago Shakespeare Theater has dubbed today “Talk Like Shakespeare Day.”

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The theater encourages a step back into the time of Early Modern English, where you was thou and words ended in –eth. Shakespeare’s famous insults should also make an appearance today, having no shame in calling someone a flesh-monger (Measure For Measure), a toad (As You Like It), or even a rampallian (Henry IV Part 2). If you can swing it, attempt all sentences in rhymed couplet form or using iambic pentameter.

From gloomy to pious, impartial to bloody, Shakespeare is thought to have introduced more than 1,700 words into the English language in borrowing from classic works and even other languages.  Today’s the day to honor him and his widely regarded (though still controversial) contributions to the English vernacular.

Mayhaps ye will speaketh as he did back in the 17th century? But for today only, or else people might think you’re a knotty-pated fool (Henry IV Part 1).

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