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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: July ::
FYI: ShakesPalin
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0304  Friday, 23 July 2010

[1]  From:      Carol Barton <
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     Date:      July 20, 2010 3:50:53 PM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin

[2]  From:      Connie Beane <
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     Date:      July 21, 2010 11:30:29 AM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin

[3]  From:      Ward Elliott <
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     Date:      July 21, 2010 8:47:32 PM EDT
     Subj:      RE: SHK 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin

[4]  From:      Arlynda Boyer <
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     Date:      July 21, 2010 9:32:57 PM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0292 FYI: ShakesPalin


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Carol Barton <
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Date:         July 20, 2010 3:50:53 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin

What seal is that, that hangs without thy bosom?
Yea, lookst thou, Palin? Let me see the writing.

Richard II, V.ii.56-57


The moon's an arrant thief,
And her Palin fire she snatches from the sun

Timon, Act IV,iii.


"What fools these mortals be" sums it up better, methinks; the lady doth protest too 
much.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Connie Beane <
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Date:         July 21, 2010 11:30:29 AM EDT
Subject: 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin

I know Will Shakespeare, and Sarah, you're no Will Shakespeare. (With apologies to 
Lloyd Bentson).

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Ward Elliott <
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Date:         July 21, 2010 8:47:32 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin
Comment:      RE: SHK 21.0292  FYI:  ShakesPalin

Shakespeare, who was much more recorded, studied and catalogued than most of his 
contemporaries, got a lot of word-coinage credit not extended to others on anything 
like the same terms. He got more credit than others for nonsense-words, nonce-words, 
proper nouns, and words that would be considered malapropisms today if they came 
from the lips of Sarah Palin or George W. Bush. If his word appeared in a play, it 
was assigned to the year the play was first mentioned, not the year it was 
published. Others had to wait for publication. Even if his word seemed to be in 
general currency at the time, he, much more than others, tended to get the credit 
for being the first to use it. 

Over the years, thanks to more standardized procedures for the OED, and thanks to 
the work of people like David Crystal, Joseph Shipley, Jurgen Schafer, and Bryan 
Garner, extravagant earlier estimates of 6-10,000 coinages have been whittled down 
to something more like 1,700. The meltdown is far from over. A chapter by Giles 
Goodland in Mireille Ravassat and Jonathan Culpeper, eds., Stylistics and 
Shakespeare's Language -- Transdisciplinary Approaches (London: Continuum Press, 
forthcoming), based on his examination of a slice of words in newly-digitized early-
modern texts, gives strong evidence that even the much-deflated 1,700 is still 
overestimated by a factor of at least two. 

When Bush comes up with "Bushisms" like subsidation, analyzation, hopefuller, more 
few, and explorationists, we suppose that he is struggling to follow accepted rules 
of word formation but has gotten in over his head. Everyone sniffs at such gaffes, 
and no one praises them as additions to the language 
(http://slate.msn.com/id/76886/). If Bush gave us words like insultment, omittance, 
opulency, revengive, thoughten, more better, or casted, these would likewise be 
gathered and laughed at as "Bushisms." But it was not Bush who gave us the second 
set, it was Shakespeare -- and his gaffes are hailed as brilliant landmarks of 
"linguistic daring," fresh evidence of his peerless mastery of the language, 24-
carat coinages for Shakespeare that would be dismissed as pot-metal if they came 
from Bush, Palin, or anyone else. It seems like a double standard to us.

We discuss Shakespeare coinages at greater length in a second chapter in the same 
forthcoming Ravassat-Culpeper collection which contains Goodland's article. We also 
discuss and debunk the parallel, equally persistent notion that Shakespeare's 
vocabulary dwarfed everyone else's. Several high-tech tests show that it didn't and 
doesn't. Hugh Craig, of the University of Newcastle, Australia, has independently 
and impressively arrived at the same conclusion, also using high-tech tests. His 
findings will be forthcoming in the Shakespeare Quarterly. Whether either of these 
heavy-duty studies will be enough to dislodge the myth of Shakespeare's outsized 
inventory of words and coinages remains to be seen. It is still enthroned and 
entrenched, despite several previous efforts to debunk it.

We would be the last to deny that Shakespeare did have a peerless mastery of the 
language. He did, of course. But his mastery was not so much in the number of words 
that he knew or coined as in the way he put them together. As for Bush, perhaps his 
talents as a word-coiner have been misunderestimated.

Ward E. Y. Elliott and Robert J. Valenza 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Arlynda Boyer <
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Date:         July 21, 2010 9:32:57 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0292 FYI: ShakesPalin
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0292 FYI: ShakesPalin

What, no "exit, pursued by a bear"?!


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