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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Henry IV, Part 1 Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0252  Thursday, 30 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Donald Bloom <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 29 Mar 2006 11:55:41 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

[2] 	From: 	Jonathan Hope <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 11:44:59 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Donald Bloom <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 29 Mar 2006 11:55:41 -0600
Subject: 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

I am getting a bit befuddled as this dialect discussion goes on. While 
it makes perfect sense to me that Glendower would speak with a Welsh 
accent (and Douglas with a Scottish), I am less certain about 
regionalism with the English characters.

Would Hotspur and his dad have spoken with a Northern accent? Would 
Worcester? Or instead with a West Midlands? What would be the dialect of 
the Earl of March? Shropshire?  Presumably, Prince Hal would not have 
used the same dialect as Glendower, even though he was Prince of Wales, 
but would he have spoken with a Lancashire accent? Would his father? 
What about the Archbishop of York? Where were the Scroops from?

There seem to be three issues in this: the first, what the historical 
reality is as to the regional accents of the early 15th Century English 
nobility (as opposed to the middle and lower classes); the second, what 
late 16th Century nobility had as to regional accents; and last, what 
Shakespeare and company might have been expected by Elizabethan 
audiences to do about it.

What do we have in the way of facts?

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jonathan Hope <
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Date: 		Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 11:44:59 +0100
Subject: 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

Stuart Manger writes,

 >Have you ever heard as I have a Geordie lad delivering 'To be or not to
 >be' or 'If it were done, when tis done etc'.?

I'm sure the patronising implications of this are entirely unintended 
(and there is no offense taken by this particular 'Geordie lad'), but 
the notion that Shakespeare done with an accent is somehow worthy of 
note - like a woman preaching, or a dog walking on its hind legs - 
illustrates very well what I think is a shift in the meanings carried by 
accents between the Early Modern period and our own.

It is not at all a clear-cut issue, but it seems to me that regional 
accents are not automatically associated with social class in Early 
Modern literature.  I think this can be explained by the probability 
that just about *everyone* in the Early Modern period spoke with some 
kind of regionally identifiable accent.  If there is no non-regional RP 
to judge people against, regionality per se cannot be used as a marker 
of low social class.

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University, Glasgow

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