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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: September ::
Re: Use of Dialect
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1787  Friday, 22 September 2000.

[1]     From:   Bob Haas <
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        Date:   Thursday, 21 Sep 2000 11:53:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 21 Sep 2000 02:09:33 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Thursday, 21 Sep 2000 18:19:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

[4]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Sep 2000 08:02:39 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Haas <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Sep 2000 11:53:54 -0400
Subject: 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

Yes, Mr. Hawkes, thank you for the info, but since I was raised a
southerner in the U.S., I was already keenly aware of the relative
nature of accent.  "It matters not only where you're from, but where you
are when it comes to accents," as the folks I grew up with might say to
a displaced Yankee complaining about the way "youse guys tawk."

And I agree with you about Hotspur; I have done some small reading on
Shakespeare and his plays.  And while I do not claim to be a linguist, I
am a frequent contributor to the discussions on the American Dialect
Society list.  I enjoy the subject.  But to get back to the original
topic, I thought that it was to address instances of dialect in
Shakespeare.  Hotspur's pronounced (or unnoticeable) accent is
interesting, but implicit as regards the text.  Glendower's language is
directly addressed; that's why I mentioned it.  In all of the
productions of Henry IV, 1, that I've seen, never has Hotspur spoken
with an accent that differentiated him from the other cast members.  In
some cases, Glendower did.  That is in keeping with text, as would his
NOT speaking with an accent.  That's a decision to be made by the
director and the actor in a particular production.  In any case, the
language conflict is already laid out in the text to signal the
reader/audience of the larger ethnic or social conflict that exists
between these two characters.  Now, a learned director could have
Hotspur employ an accent, which might be more faithful to history, but
since there is no explicit mention of this in the text and since it
might erect a further divide between the characters of Hotspur and Hal,
he would have to decide whether the accent would be worth possible
dissonant effect it might raise in most audiences.  I think it would be
cool.  I'm not so sure about those audience members who just came to see
a play.  In any case, that info might be addressed in the director's
notes in the production's program.

BTW, this is all coming from memory.  If I'm wrong about the text not
addressing Hotspur's accent, I apologize.  I really don't have the time
to look it up right now.

> There was and is no 'accentless' English. So-called 'standard
English' is merely the language spoken with a particular accent.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Sep 2000 02:09:33 +0100
Subject: 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

>Since
> Hotspur's way of speaking English is said to be fairly distinctive, I'd
> have thought Glendower could hardly be expected to sound like him.

Hotspur stuttered, Glendower didn't.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 Sep 2000 18:19:52 -0400
Subject: 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

Terence Hawkes writes:

> Since
>Hotspur's way of speaking English is said to be fairly distinctive, I'd
>have thought Glendower could hardly be expected to sound like him.

The phrase "is said to be" covers the fact that this phrase is said by a
dramatic character. For some years Terence has iterated and reiterated
that we are not to confuse dramatic characters with real people. Does he
now wish us to believe that Lady Percy actually says things? And that
Hotspur really has an accent?  (I wonder how many children Hotspur and
his lady have.)

In fact, 2.3.24 inidates that Hotspur speaks "thick."  I suppose that
could mean "with a thick Northumberland accent."

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Sep 2000 08:02:39 -0500
Subject: 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1777 Re: Use of Dialect

I have to offer my congratulations (since guffaws don't come across
email so clearly) to T. H. for "Agenbite of Inuit." (I burst out
laughing again just retyping it.) Will anything in the limerick contest
top it?

d. bloom

>Bob Haas writes:
>
>'Glendower's English could be dead-on, schoolhouse, standard English,
>without a trace of accent that would differentiate him from the other
>characters, especially Hotspur'.
>
>I agree that when Glendower spoke English he could have sounded like an
>English person. This does not mean that he spoke English without an
>accent.  There was and is no 'accentless' English. So-called 'standard
>English' is merely the language spoken with a particular accent. Since
>Hotspur's way of speaking English is said to be fairly distinctive, I'd
>have thought Glendower could hardly be expected to sound like him. Sean
>'Tookasiq' Lawrence's references to Nova Scotia remain as always
>mysterious, but his recent astonishing revelations concerning his Eskimo
>background hint at a glum profundity. Is this a case of what we cultural
>materialists call Agenbite of Inuit? In any case, it's well known that
>Shakespeare spoke with a Brummie accent. Like me.
>
>T. Hawkes
 

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