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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Understanding Shakespearean English, Part Two: Keys to Elizabethan Speech


I... goes me to the fellow that whips the dogs, 'Friend,' quoth I, 'you  mean to whip the dog?'
"Ay, marry do I,' quoth he.
'You do him the more wrong,' quoth I, 'twas I did the thing you wot of."
-Lauane, Two Gentlemen of Verona

Do you think your students would find this section difficult to understand? There are several phrases in Shakespearean speech that if you know, you can glide past them.

Aye-yes
Nay-no

Forsooth, In sooth, In good sooth, By my troth, In troth-sooth and troth both mean "truth," the phrases mean honestly or really or seriously
Verily, Surely, Indeed-truthfully
I vouch safe-I assert this to be true

Good now, Good-okay

I trow, I think me, Methinks-I think or guess
Trow you, Know you, Knowest thou-Do you know?

Mayhap, Belike, Perchance, Peradventure-Maybe, Perhaps

I cry you mercy, I crave your pardon, Pray pardon- excuse me, pardon me

An it please you or thee, I pray you or thee, Prithee, Pray-An is an old expression of 'it', prithee is shorten from pray thee. They all me "please."

God grant you mercy, Grant you mercy, Gramercy, Many good thanks, many and heaty thankings, God yield, God 'ild you or thee-Thank you

Go to!, Is it even so? E'en so? For sooth or In sooth?- No kidding? Really?

Marry! Now, by my faith! I'faith (short for in faith)- Wow!

God-a-mercy! God's me! 'Ods me! Alas! Well a day!-Oh, no! Too bad!

Alack! Alackaday! Alas! Fie! Fie me! Out upon it!-Darn it!

yonder-something farther away than there
yon-something farther away than that

hither-to or toward or near this place
thither-to toward or in the direction of that place

quoth-said when quoting something

wot-know

For assignments you can have your students search for such phrases and then read a few sentences around them. Do they understand what is being said?
Have them write a quick scene that includes some of these phrases -perhaps adding on to the scene from last week or a whole new one.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy your blog. I don't leave comments often but with every post, I even learn something new or come away smiling!

    Many Blessings on your day!

    ReplyDelete

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