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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Henry IV, Part 1 Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0255  Friday, 31 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 18:17:56 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0252 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

[2] 	From: 	Thomas Larque <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 18:51:20 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0252 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

[3] 	From: 	Michael B. Luskin <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 12:57:00 EST
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

[4] 	From: 	Robert Projansky <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 14:37:52 -0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <
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Date: 		Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 18:17:56 +0100
Subject: 17.0252 Henry IV, Part 1 Query
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0252 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

Wow!! On the contrary!! I moved to teach in the area (Cumbria UK) 
precisely because I loved the weight of vowel, rhythm of delivery, 
consonant creaminess and punch, ant and lilt the accents brought to 
Shakespeare, Wordsworth particularly, and many others. Patronising them 
was as far from my thoughts as one can imagine!

The first Macbeth I directed here crackled with aggression and menace 
the like of which you simply cannot get anywhere else, and Shakespeare's 
language vividly comes alive - as Northern Broadsides have so well revealed.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Thomas Larque <
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Date: 		Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 18:51:20 +0100
Subject: 17.0252 Henry IV, Part 1 Query
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0252 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

 >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.

I wonder what part Edgar's transformation in "King Lear" might play in 
informing this debate?  Edgar clearly makes a shift in accents in order 
to become a peasant, and then accidentally starts to shift back.  His 
father tells him "Methinks thy voice is alter'd; and thou speak'st / In 
better phrase and matter than thou didst" and "Methinks you're better 
spoken". When confronted by Oswald, Edgar goes into a special "peasant" 
accent and what certainly seems like a regional dialect.

***

OSWALD
Wherefore, bold peasant,
Darest thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
Lest that the infection of his fortune take
Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

EDGAR
Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.

OSWALD
Let go, slave, or thou diest!

EDGAR
Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk
pass. An chud ha' bin zwaggered out of my life,
'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight.
Nay, come not near th' old man; keep out, che vor
ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be
the harder: ch'ill be plain with you.

OSWALD
Out, dunghill!

EDGAR
Ch'ill pick your teeth, zir: come; no matter vor
your foins.

GLOUCESTER
Methinks you're better spoken.

***

Does this mean that certain regional dialects *were* associated with 
class? I honestly don't know the answer without further study, but it 
might well suggest it.

Walter Ralegh famously had a regional accent, and - according to Alan 
Nelson, Oxford's biographer - the Earl of Oxford probably had one as 
well (Nelson calls his spellings evidence "that Oxford's English was 
strongly dialectical and even provincial" - 
http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~ahnelson/SPELL/Opinion.html).  Although 
this clearly did not prevent Ralegh or Oxford from standing high on the 
social ladder in the courtly classes, did this make them seem more 
countrified than their London-accented courtly associates?  Maybe 
somebody with more knowledge of this area might be able to tell us.

Globe actor Yolanda Vazquez, writing for the "adopt an actor" audience 
of 2005, gives the apparent view of the Globe's expert in "Original 
Pronunciation", who was training the actors for "Troilus and Cressida".

"What I find really interesting is that every character speaks with the 
same OP accent: there's no class differentiation. Supposedly at that 
time class didn't affect the way people spoke, which is the same for 
many countries today. I know that in Spain, in Andalusia for instance, 
we all speak with the same accent and the only way that you would know 
if somebody's from a particular social strata is through their use of 
language; that might show lack of education, and therefore you might 
suppose that the person is of a lower social class - but it's not about 
accent."

Edgar's "che vor ye" speeches suggest that this - at least - is not 
entirely accurate, and that regional accents might well have had a class 
implication for Renaissance speakers, actors, and audiences, on at least 
some occasions.

Thomas Larque.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Michael B. Luskin <
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Date: 		Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 12:57:00 EST
Subject: 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

I am still interested in opinions as to why Hotspur is so hostile and 
unpleasant to his co rebels.  He comes close to braking his alliances 
with them, and they certainly becomes less interested n their joint 
military efforts.  Why does he deal with them so?

Michael B. Luskin

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robert Projansky <
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Date: 		Thursday, 30 Mar 2006 14:37:52 -0800
Subject: 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0244 Henry IV, Part 1 Query

Jonathan Hope wrote:

 >I also find it interesting that Shakespeare most often associates
 >dialect with national rather than regional identity.  As Paula
 >Blank notes in her book (*Broken English*), there is surprisingly
 >little direct representation of regional dialect in Shakespeare . . .

I have been told that the following exchange at the Capulets' party, 
with its several -er syllables and "pentycost", is in a West of England 
dialect, not to tell us that the Capulets are from there, since we are 
in Italy, but to show that they are nouveau riche provincials, thus 
underlining what a great catch the noble Countie Paris is.

1. Capu.
      *     *     *
Nay sit, nay sit, good Cozin Capulet,
For you and I are past our dauncing daies:
How long 'ist now since last your selfe and I
Were in a Maske?

2. Capu.
Berlady thirty yeares

1. Capu.
What man: 'tis not so much, 'tis not so much,
'Tis since the Nuptiall of Lucentio
Come Pentycost as quickely as it will,
Some fiue and twenty yeares, and then we Maskt.

2. Cap.
'Tis more, 'tis more, his Sonne is elder sir:
His Sonne is thirty.

Is this so? I'm a native of the colonies and can identify very little 
regional distinction in English English, even when I can hear it.

Bob Projansky

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