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Shakespeare and OP: David Crystal’s approach

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I watched a lovely video where David Crystal and his son explain the changes in meaning that occur when Shakespeare is performed in its Original Pronunciation (OP).

While most of the performances today use Received Pronunciation (RP) and many people genuinely believe this is the ‘correct’ or ‘Shakespearean’ way of speaking, this is actually far from the truth. 

Crystal argues that many of the playwright’s jokes and puns are rendered meaningless if performed in RP. His son, an actor, also suggested that it changed his performance and made it more guttural and ‘earthy’ and gave him freedom to move as an actor as well.



If you haven’t heard of Crystal and his work on English Language, I would suggest reading his article ‘2b or not 2b’ which holds the controversial stand that text messages are not destroying the English language but simply adding a layer of meaning and possibilities in the natural progression of language.

His views are a popular choice for A-Level and GCSE candidates to analyse as a descriptive view (one that prefers to record language changes in grammar, pronunciation and other aspects instead of stick to the ‘prescribed’ rules of grammar as prescriptivists would)

Good Luck with your exams!

By | 2017-06-20T22:39:54+00:00 August 24th, 2015|Language Change, Shakespeare|0 Comments

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