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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: October ::
New Screenplay
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0889  Saturday, 7 October 2006

[1] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 4 Oct 2006 17:51:48 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0876 New Screenplay

[2] 	From: 	Rolland Banker <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 5 Oct 2006 22:14:18 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Subject: New Screenplay


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 4 Oct 2006 17:51:48 +0100
Subject: 17.0876 New Screenplay
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0876 New Screenplay

Mark Alexander asks ...

 >Do we know anything of the vernacular during Shakespeare's
 >life?   If we recorded a conversation, what would it have been
 >like?  How similar or different was it to the character's language
 >in Shakespeare's plays?  Are the linguistic interactions between
 >characters in his plays highly artificial or realistic?

If you want something approaching the vernacular, try 'The Merry Wives 
of Windsor'.  It's the only play not in blank verse.

Peter Bridgman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Rolland Banker <
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 >
Date: 		Thursday, 5 Oct 2006 22:14:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 	Subject: New Screenplay

Mark Alexander writes:

 >I am contemplating an idea for a screenplay with
 >Shakespeare being transported to the modern day. Sorry
 >I can't reveal any more of the premise than that. One
 >of the themes involved revolves around the differences
 >between the plain, ordinary, everyday Elizabethan
 >language and the plain, ordinary, everyday language of
 >today (in the US).
 >
 >Do we know anything of the vernacular during
 >Shakespeare's life? If we recorded a conversation,
 >what would it have been like? How similar or different
 >was it to the character's language in Shakespeare's
 >plays? Are the linguistic interactions between
 >characters in his plays highly artificial or
 >realistic?

You can't do better for a possible example of recorded conversation than 
to go to Anthony Burgess' book, Nothing Like the Sunday, to catch 
snippets of stuff like this (opened at random, page 26): "Hast a privy 
for a gob, with the shit in't. Sayest?

Not one fart do I give, nay, for all they great tally.  Woulds't test 
it, then? Thou wouldst not, for thou art but a hulking snivelling 
codardo. I have been in the wars and do speak the tongues of the Low 
Countries....Thou yeanling, thou, had I my hanger I would deal thee a 
great flankard. But I have but my nief and that will I mash thy fleering 
bubbibubkin lips withal...."

As for Shakspeare being transported from his time to the present, part 
of the realism and surprise that Will might express could be in the 
sobriety of post-modern discourse, as brought out in Burgess' 
Shakespeare, by Penquin Books, page 71-72:

"It was a city of loud noises-hooves and raw coach-wheels on the 
cobbles, the yells of traders, the brawling apprentices, scuffles to 
keep the wall and not be thrown into the oozy kennel. Even normal 
conversation must have been loud, since everybody was, by our standards, 
tipsy. Nobody drank water, and tea had not yet come in. Ale was the 
standard tipple, and it was strong. Ale for breakfast was a good means 
of starting the day in euphoria or truculence. Ale for dinner 
refocillated the wasted tissues of the morning.  Ale for supper ensured 
a heavy snoring repose. The better sort drank wine, which promoted good 
fellowship and led to sword-fights. It was not what we could call a 
sober city."

The remainder of your query I will leave to the linguists. Although my 
opinion of Shakespeare's language is that it became the sacred template 
for the vernacular forever after the hearing or reading of it; and the 
linguistic interactions in his plays ring so true and realistic that 
surely they took place in reality somewhere-perhaps before the fall of 
man into sin.

Another Bardolator,
Rolland Banker

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