Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: July ::
Re: French in *Henry V*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 459.  Tuesday, 27 July 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Luc Borot <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jul 93 18:47
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0455  Re: French in *Henry V*
 
(2)     From:   John Mucci <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 26 Jul 93 15:56:53-0400
        Subj:   Lingua Franca
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Luc Borot <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 26 Jul 93 18:47
Subject: 4.0455  Re: French in *Henry V*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0455  Re: French in *Henry V*
 
From Prof Luc Borot
On Languages
 
Dear all,
 
The frog will croak on Hal's French, as he croaked on other sundry matters
appertaining to froggishness and frogness.
 
I would like to remind my mono-lingual English-speaking colleagues that, as a
bilingual, I am aware of differences between historical forms of French and
English. Some 'mistakes' in Harry's French are rather archaisms, resembling the
form of French which the HISTORICAL Harry would have spoken in the 1st half of
the 15th century. Would Ole Bill have been aware of French philology? Nope...
but he may easily have read in French sources or had someone give him examples
of French from, say, XVth century French chronicles... It DOESN'T sound like
the French Shakespeare's froggish contemporaries would have spoken.
 
Refer to the note published by my friend and master Prof. Jean Fuzier in Notes
and Queries 32 (1981), 97-100, "'Ie quand sur le possession de France': a
French crux in *H5* solved?". It is quoted in Andrew Gurr's New Cambridge
Shakespeare.
 
Buvez frais, as Rabelais would have wished you in the days of yore when he
taught medicine at Montpellier (in the 1520s).
 
                   Luc
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Mucci <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 26 Jul 93 15:56:53-0400
Subject:        Lingua Franca
 
There was a very famous production of HENRY V in which the French spoke French,
at Stratford, Connecticut (I believe it was 1967). It was staged with costumes
rather like hockey outfits, and was played out on an evil-looking playground.
Whenever the French spoke together, the lines were all translated into a very
believable Gallic, delivered with great passion and gusto. Two young
"translators," meanwhile, emerged from the wings with hand- held microphones,
and recited Shakespeare's text in flat, expressionless tones, as though they
were giving a U.N. simulcast. It was a very effective trope. As an aside, I do
hope that the "deesse" Katherine, as reported by Bill Kemp, was divin and not
devin, which would make her a soothsayer. Then again, maybe she was.
 
J. Mucci
Stamford
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.