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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: May ::
Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0490  Tuesday, 23 May 2006

[1] 	From: 	R. A. Cantrell <
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 	Date: 	Monday, 22 May 2006 16:33:04 -0500
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0468 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

[2] 	From: 	David Crystal <
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 	Date: 	Tuesday, 23 May 2006 09:31:09 +0100
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0468 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		R. A. Cantrell <
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Date: 		Monday, 22 May 2006 16:33:04 -0500
Subject: 17.0468 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0468 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

>In his recent book about Shakespeare's life, Stanley Wells speculates
>that if any letters by Shakespeare ever show up, they might well be in
>Latin (!)  For those of you who have done more primary research than I:
>I thought that Latin was primarily used as the language of law,
>religion, and diplomacy in Shakespeare's time. Would he have written to
>a friend in Latin?

I've been beating this horse for some time on this list. Any education in 
Tudor England beyond the Petty School was conducted in Latin: all of it, 
till Greek in the last forms of Grammar School, thence University. It is 
my opinion that any who would consider Shakespeare academically, 
professionally, must, if they are not adequately informed to have written 
it, read Baldwin's WSSL&LG. It is the quickest route to an appreciation of 
the "Latinity" of the time. One might move from it to J.W. Binns; 
Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. If you are not 
an accomplished Latinist, set aside a few years for these tomes. No time 
like now to get started.

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Crystal <
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 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 23 May 2006 09:31:09 +0100
Subject: 17.0468 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0468 Shakespeare's "Small Latin and Less Greek"

One of the traditional practice techniques that students of Latin 
performed was to write letters to their parents - something that was still 
being done when I was taught Latin in school. So Shakespeare would have 
been able to write a Latin letter. Whether he ever did so, of course, 
would have depended on who he was writing to. I never wrote a single real 
letter to my parents because they didn't understand Latin. But things were 
different in Shakespeare's day.

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