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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: May ::
Regional Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0455  Wednesday, 17 May 2006

[1] 	From: 	John Drakakis <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 11 May 2006 16:15:45 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

[2] 	From: 	Frank Whigham <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 11 May 2006 10:41:38 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

[3] 	From: 	Mary Coy <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 11 May 2006 11:55:49 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

[4] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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	Date: 	Friday, 12 May 2006 01:10:41 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

[5] 	From: 	Terence Hawkes <
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	Date: 	Friday, 12 May 2006 09:34:08 +0100
	Subj: 	Regional Accents

[6] 	From: 	Megan McDonough <
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	Date: 	Friday, 12 May 2006 11:12:21 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Drakakis <
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Date: 		Thursday, 11 May 2006 16:15:45 +0100
Subject: 17.0436 Regional Accents
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

Donald Bloom asks an interesting question.  I think I'm right in saying 
that there was no such thing in the late 16th or early 17th centuries as 
'received pronunciation', not even for aristocrats.  But a look again at 
Holofernes' and Sir Nathaniel's comments on pronunciation in LLL might 
take us a littler further.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Frank Whigham <
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Date: 		Thursday, 11 May 2006 10:41:38 -0500
Subject: 17.0436 Regional Accents
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

It's hard to know what to make of its relevance to daily practice, but 
there is certainly data on regional speech in what George Puttenham says 
(in 2.04) about how poets should write (and perhaps speak):

This part in our maker or poet must be heedily looked unto, that it be 
natural, pure, and the most usual of all his country; and for the same 
purpose rather that which is spoken in the king's court or in the good 
towns and cities within the land, than in the marches and frontiers, or 
in port towns, where strangers haunt for traffic's sake; or yet in 
universities, where scholars use much peevish affectation of words out 
of the primitive languages; or finally, in any uplandish  village or 
corner of a realm, where is no resort but of poor, rustical, or uncivil 
people. Neither shall he follow the speech of a craftsman or carter or 
other of the inferior sort, though he be inhabitant or bred in the best 
town and city in this realm, for such persons do abuse good speeches by 
strange accents or ill-shaped sounds and false orthography. But he shall 
follow generally the better-brought-up sort, such as the Greeks call 
charientes: men civil and graciously behaviored and bred.

Our maker therefore at these days shall not follow Piers Plowman nor 
Gower nor Lydgate nor yet Chaucer, for their language is now out of use 
with us; neither shall he take the terms of northern men such as they 
use in daily talk -- whether they be noblemen or gentlemen or of their 
best clerks, all is a matter -- nor in effect any speech used beyond the 
river of Trent: though no man can deny but that theirs is the purer 
English Saxon at this day, yet it is not so courtly nor so current as 
our southern English is; no more is the far western man's speech. Ye 
shall therefore take the usual speech of the court and that of London 
and the shires lying about London within sixty miles, and not much 
above. I say not this but that in every shire of England there be 
gentlemen and others that speak, but especially write, as good southern 
as we of Middlesex or Surrey do, but not the common people of every 
shire, to whom the gentlemen and also their learned clerks do for the 
most part condescend;  but herein we are already ruled by the English 
dictionaries and other books written by learned men, and therefore it 
needeth none other direction in that behalf.

Albeit peradventure some small admonition be not impertinent, for we 
find in our English writers many words and speeches amendable, and ye 
shall see in some many inkhorn terms so ill-affected, brought in by men 
of learning, as preachers and schoolmasters, and many strange terms of 
other languages by secretaries and merchants and travelers, and many 
dark words and not usual nor well-sounding, though they be daily spoken 
in court.  Wherefore great heed must be taken by our maker in this 
point, that his choice be good.

~Frank Whigham

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Mary Coy <
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Date: 		Thursday, 11 May 2006 11:55:49 -0400
Subject: 17.0436 Regional Accents
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

I, too, am interested in your question. I have done some research into 
Elizabethan pronunciation and found nothing regarding differences in 
pronunciation due to class. I did, however, find evidence of differences 
due to geographical origin and also to the age of the speakers.  I used 
the generational differences when staging the Closet Scene from Hamlet. 
The Queen, Polonius, and the Ghost pronounced certain words differently 
than did Hamlet (recently educated at Wittenburg).

The lack of differences due to class underscores for me the fact that 
that Shakespeare must differentiate between his kings, queens, and 
servants (and all those in between) with his rhetoric. Not only prose 
and verse but in his choices around imagery, and the interplay of 
schemes, and tropes. This idea is a cornerstone in the Mary Baldwin 
College graduate program in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in 
Performance affiliated with the American Shakespeare Center and the 
Blackfriars Playhouse.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Friday, 12 May 2006 01:10:41 +0100
Subject: 17.0436 Regional Accents
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

I would suggest that Don Bloom first reads:

E.J. Dobson, English Pronunciation, 1500-1700 (Clarendon Press, 1957/1968).

John Briggs

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Terence Hawkes <
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Date: 		Friday, 12 May 2006 09:34:08 +0100
Subject: 	Regional Accents

Donald Bloom wonders if readers have noted 'any regional accents beyond 
a few Welshmen . . .' A touch quaint. How about Henry V for a start?

T. Hawkes

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Megan McDonough <
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Date: 		Friday, 12 May 2006 11:12:21 -0400
Subject: 17.0436 Regional Accents
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0436 Regional Accents

Relating to accents/dialects... I have a good friend who played Horatio 
in Hamlet a few years ago and found that Horatio seemed to have a very 
different manner of speaking - word order, rhythm, vocabulary - as an 
actor he chose for this to signify Horatio's foreignness in the Danish 
court, that Danish (English) was not his native language. He did not 
choose, however, to play the role with a noticeable accent, but rather 
to play Horatio as someone who must choose his words a little more 
purposefully than a native speaker might, someone who physically 
embodies Hamlet's life at Wittenberg, and always seems a little out of 
place in Denmark. (This particular production costumed Hamlet and 
Horatio in stark almost Amish-looking clothing to represent the severe 
"Lutheran" education they would have been receiving. This choice helped 
make Horatio stand apart as an outsider.)

Has anyone written on Horatio's different manner of speaking? I would 
love to explore the question further and see if it holds any water...

Megan McDonough

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