Did people really speak the way they did in Shakespeare's plays ?


Quick Answer

Shakespeare lived during the Elizabethan Era, and his plays do reflect the spoken language of the time. For example, Elizabethan English uses 10 pronouns for addressing an individual or group, including the words "thou," "thee," "thine" and "ye." Modern English uses only four: "you," "your," "yourself" and "yours."

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Full Answer

During the time of Shakespeare, English was a new and evolving language in which no formal education or grammar guidelines existed. Therefore, Shakespeare was constantly creating new words and phrasings for the sake of drama and dialogue. Throughout all of his works, he used 17,677 English words; 1700 of those words were invented or altered by him. That means one out of every 10 words would have been unfamiliar or vague to his audience and even his actors.

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