Original Pronunciation

English language texts in period speech

This site is devoted to the production or performance of works from earlier periods of English spoken in original pronunciation (OP) – that is, in an accent that would have been in use at the time.

David CrystalDavid Crystal

The present-day movement to perform works in OP began in 2004, when David Crystal collaborated with Shakespeare’s Globe in an OP production of Romeo and Juliet. This was so successful that the following year the Globe mounted a production of Troilus and Cressida in OP. Subsequent interest from American enthusiasts led to OP Shakespeare events in New York, Virginia, and Kansas, ranging from evenings of extracts to full productions. As only a handful of works have so far been performed in OP, interest is growing worldwide to explore the insights that the approach can provide.

I’m sure there must be other OP initiatives around the world, and until now there has been no place where they can be brought together. The time thus seems right to provide a website where people can find out about OP, archive their events, announce plans, and share their experiences of working with it and listening to it.

Breadth

Although Shakespeare was the stimulus for current interest in OP, the notion is much broader. Any period of English history can be approached in this way, and indeed there have been several projects where people have tried to reconstruct the pronunciation of earlier works in Old and Middle English, notably for Chaucer. The British Library exhibition, Evolving English, which ran from November 2010 to April 2011, had an audio dimension which included OP extracts from Beowulf, Caxton, Chaucer, and the Paston letters, as well as Shakespeare. The 2011 anniversary of the King James Bible also prompted readings in OP, some of which can be found on this site.

More than literature is involved. There are opportunities for people interested in the vocal dimension of early English music, as well as for those involved in heritage projects which present original practices, such as Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts. Examples from these perspectives include an OP rendering of vocal music by William Byrd and of the songs that appear in Shakespeare’s plays.

Variety

It’s important to appreciate that there is no ‘single’ OP. All periods of English contain many accents, and this allows for variant OP performances. The evidence that allows us to reconstruct what was the case is often mixed, and choices have to be made about which sound qualities to go for. Variations in spelling can point us in different directions. Observations by contemporaries can indicate that some words had different pronunciations (as they have today). Deductions by historical linguists can reach different conclusions about the quality of a sound. Any attempt to reconstruct an earlier period of pronunciation is based on as much scientific evidence as is available, but inevitably involves a certain amount of guesswork. The more OP illustration and discussion we have, therefore, the sooner we will be able to arrive at a consensus about best practice.

This site therefore aims to act as a first point of call for those interested in promoting an OP dimension to their activities. It will include only work that is grounded in a serious investigation of the sound system of a period. There are plenty of comic pastiches of the ‘ye oldee speech’ kind and wild imaginings of how people once spoke, such as the ‘oo-arr’ voices traditionally given to pirates. These will not be found here.

88 comments
  1. Ed Durbrow says: September 23, 20142:25 pm

    I am an American lute player working with a Lithuanian singer. We have a few English songs we want to do next, among them Now O Now, Move Now With Measured Sound and Sweet kate. I don’t want to take up too much space, so but I’ll limit myself to some questions about sweet Kate. Yet and fitte must rhyme. I was thinking short i like bit, but then the spelling of fit makes me wonder. Words and swords I assume word is like ward rhyming to sword. Deller pronounces the w in sword in his recording. Is this correct? There is an i sound in many words: abide, cride, die, I, denying, trying. Are they all similar? Is it a diphthong like in the word coin or side?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Yes, ‘yet’ would have sounded more like ‘bit’. There are lots of spelling alternations between ‘e’ and ‘i’ which point in that direction. ‘Word’ has the vowel of ‘sword’, with the ‘r’ pronounced, of course. Silent consonants of the ‘sword’, ‘know’ type were on their way out by the end of the 16th century, and I don’t use them in my transcriptions; but some commentators still mention them at the beginning of the 17th century, presumably in older, conservative speakers, so you have a choice here. (Holofernes would certainly have pronounced them.) And anything with the modern diphthong of ‘side’ (which turns up in all the words you list) would have begun with a schwa. You’ll hear examples in the various recordings available on this site and also at http://www.pronouncingshakespeare.com.

    [Reply]

  2. Steffen Schaub says: September 22, 201411:08 am

    In September 2014, the university of Marburg hosted the 2nd congress of the German Association for Applied Linguistics. We were fortunate to have David Crystal as one of our invited plenary speakers. In his talk entitled “Tales of the linguistically unexpected: applying historical phonology – or, Shakespeare as you’ve never heard him before”, he reported to a mixed audience of (applied) linguists, students and school children about his exciting work on Shakespeare productions in OP.

    Visitors to this website will surely be interested to know that we recorded the full talk, which you are invited to watch on YouTube here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X7G34hCxKdU
    (Please excuse the less-than-ideal sound quality)

    We hope that you enjoy the talk as much as we did, and welcome your comments and feedback.

    [Reply]

  3. Caleb Rogers says: September 15, 20143:49 am

    I am an Episcopalian living in high Tennessee and I wonder if the OP might be applied on the oldest, Anglican Liturgy to similar effect, whyle both shakespeare and the Church of England are products of the Elizabethan Era, if I am not mistaken.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Yes, the OP approach can be applied to any historical period. The earlier 16th century (for the Book of Common Prayer and related literature) would have a system closer to William Tyndale. I mention him because there is a recorded example available, in the form of the British Library CD of Matthew’s Gospel, which I made for them a couple of years ago (and which is available via their online shop – ISBN 9780712351270). There are several notable differences from the OP of Shakespeare’s time, such as the pronunciation of initial ‘silent’ consonants in such words as ‘know’. ‘Gnashing of teeth’ sounds very different with the ‘g’ sounded!

    [Reply]

  4. Kate Crombie says: September 4, 20149:49 pm

    Dear Mr Crystal,
    I was so incredibly grateful when you recorded the dialogue from my monologue as Ariel in ‘The Tempest’ for me. The difference in my performance since using OP is astounding. Firstly, my lines became much easier to memorise and they seem to flow more naturally. I first attempted a common British accent at first, however as an Australian this accent seemed very light and superficial. Since I started using OP my performance has much more depth and meaning. I’m mere weeks away from my exam, and I feel comfortable and prepared because of your kindness in recording in OP for me and your wonderful research! Many thanks and congratulations on all you have done.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    A plezer. Interesting point about greater ease of memorability. I remember some of the Globe company saying the same thing. I’m not sure why OP should have this effect, unless it’s something to do with the point about flow.

    [Reply]

  5. Letizia says: August 3, 20149:19 am

    Just a quick note to say congratulations. Your work is fascinating and exciting. I am not a native English speaker and I find original pronunciation easier to understand, more natural and more enjoyable.
    With respect and admiration.
    Letizia

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Thank you. I’ve been interested to note the number of L2 speakers who have expressed similar sentiments about intelligibility.

    [Reply]

  6. Ali Neill says: July 28, 201412:00 pm

    Dear David,
    I was at a party yesterday and I started telling some people about certain linguistic mutations in the English language, and some of the quirky origins of English words (a lot of which I read in your books). I was telling them about how the English alphabet has evolved a lot since the middle ages and that the Normand scribes didn’t recognize the spirant “th” sound, so they replaced it with a “y” However, the words were never pronounced “y” (like “ye old English”) and one girl asked me ” how do we know how words were pronounced back then?”. I have no idea, and I was hoping you could tell me.
    Sincerely,
    Ali Neill

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    The principles are the same as in the case of Shakespeare. One looks for rhymes, wordplay, metrical patterns and so on. But the further back one in time goes, the poorer the evidence is (no dictionaries or commentators), and so one has to fall back on first principles. We begin by establishing the way the first missionaries wrote English down, using the Latin alphabet, and postulate a system of sounds reflected in the spellings they used. Useful evidence comes from noting the way dialect variations were reflected in those spellings. From there we follow the evolution of spellings, making deductions about the kinds of sound they must have represented, and using our knowledge of phonetics and phonology to evaluate plausibility. Historical linguists – and earlier, comparative philologists – have a great deal of experience in this kind of deduction. One knows the sort of thing that happens in everyday language change, and this knowledge can be put to work for periods like early Middle English, where there is very little textual material to go on. If all our deductions are right, we will end up with a chain of sound changes that will predict the way people spoke in later periods, where there is more evidence, and ultimately how we speak today. And as we know how we sound now, that provides a sort of retrospective nod that our reasoning worked.

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  7. Judith Roads says: July 23, 20146:30 am

    Dear David – I have just been blown away by your OP event of Macbeth at the Wanamaker Theatre. I’m a historical linguist (doctoral candidate in early Quaker language) and a former pro oboe player (I also have a baroque oboe). Is the OP world going down the historically informed world of music in offering OP for 19th century (Late Modern) etc performances? And how versatile will actors have to be in the way that players in music have had to become? The can of worms is delightfully open. As with the “authentic music” topic, there will be letters of complaint from some audiences!

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    So far the OP ‘movement’ – I think we can call it that now – has focused on the 16th and 17th centuries, from Tyndale to Purcell. This wasn’t planned in any way: it has simply reflected people’s interests. At some point it needs to link up with those who have been performing earlier periods (Chaucer, Beowulf, and so on) in OP, and indeed, we need to explore the ‘applied historical linguistics’ of later centuries too. I haven’t done this myself, but when we think of examples of pronunciation change over the past couple of hundred years (‘balcony’ with the stress on the second syllable, ‘lord’ with a much more open vowel…) there are some very interesting choices waiting to be explored.

    The actors loved every moment of it. I don’t see the acquisition of an OP perspective as being any more difficult than accent work in general. After all, generations of actors were taught they had to lose their regional accent and work only in RP, which they did very successfully. OP is the same situation in reverse. It takes only a few hours, working with a company, to achieve a very high level of competence. Ben’s ensemble produced the best OP I’ve yet heard – and that included three actresses who didn’t have English as a mother-tongue. I’m delighted that you enjoyed Macbeth. I’ll be posting about the series shortly on my blog.

    [Reply]

  8. Igor Ruschel says: June 1, 20144:29 am

    Dear Professor,
    Thank you very much for your help! I personally opted for a more mildly retroflexed ‘r’ in most of the cases, rather than the trilled or flapped /r/ (in my opinion, these more forceful /r/ articulations go well with more dramatic parts or sometimes they help to make words clearer for the audience). It’s also important for me to give some freedom to the singers, especially if they think (incorrectly) that certain pronunciation or articulation is an imposed and strict rule. The main thing, I think, is always to have in mind that all the /r/ were pronounced back then, and that’s difficult, because the singers here are used to hear RP and to sing using RP. Nevertheless, it’s being a pleasing work! I just want to add that one of the most incredible and fascinating things is that some parts/songs of the opera became easier to sing with OP; it really works so well, in so many aspects! Thanks again and I wish you all the best! You really make the difference, also to us, musicians.
    Igor Ruschel

    [Reply]

  9. Igor Ruschel says: May 18, 20149:09 pm

    Dear Mr. Crystal,
    I am a musician/conductor from Porto Alegre, Brazil. Our University here is also preparing the Purcell’s Opera Dido & Aeneas, and since I research for quite some time about OP (and naturally have found your name and this site, among other materials made available by you – and I thank you very much for that!), I suggested that we could do the Opera using OP. The libretto, as you know, is all written in rhymes, therefore OP is essential to make them work properly. Gladly they accepted my suggestion! However, I have some questions yet, and if it would be possible, I would want you to answer them.
    • “A Tale so strong and full of woe
    Might melt the rocks as well as you”
    In this, woe was/is pronounced in order to rhyme with you; therefore, the “Oe” is pronounced
    as “ou” like in “wound”, right?
    • I have noticed that most of the words that contains “EAR” (appear, fear, spear…) are pronounced (to rhyme, again) the same way as “Bear” (/bɛə(ɹ)/). However, that happens always at the end of the verses. When it happens at the beginning, e.g. “Fear no Danger to ensue…” is the pronunciation of “Fear” also like “Bear”?
    • In “Pursued by his own hounds
    And after mortal wounds”,
    I have deduced the “hounds” would be pronounced, regarding the “ou”, as the same as “wounds”, and not otherwise, remaining close to the German word “Hund”, of almost same meaning. Is that deduction right/probable?
    • I have also doubts about the /r/ pronunciation, and I saw in your latest answer that you made some recording and transcription that are available via dropbox. How could I access them?
    In advance, I greatly thank you for your help, and I apologize for so many questions!
    Sincerely,
    Igor Ruschel

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I totally agree about the need to make the rhymes work, as the clash when they don’t is often very noticeable. There was a good example of this on BBC Radio 3 the other day, when a new version of Shakespeare’s The Phoenix and the Turtle was performed, and the choir presented us with a prominent ‘neither’ that failed to rhyme with an equally prominent ‘together’ (‘neither’ would have had a short ‘e’ vowel). Anyway, to your point:
    - ‘woe’ normally had its diphthongal quality, to rhyme with ‘go’, and this is how it’s normally heard in Shakespeare (where there are lots of rhymes), but there was an older alternative pronunciation, shows by such spellings as ‘woo’, where there would have been a rhyme with ‘you’. I doubt if this would shave been heard in everyday speech by Purcell’s time, but it would have been in poetic auditory memory – much as today we accept the occasional archaic rhyme in a nursery rhyme or Christmas carol (such as ‘wind’ rhyming with ‘find’).
    - ‘ear-words’ are more complex, as the rhymes show they had a range of possibilities (in Shakespeare ‘fear’ rhymes with words like ‘cheer’ and ‘deer’, on the one hand, and ‘there’ and ‘swear’ on the other). This kind of variation isn’t unusual. In modern English, we have ‘again’ rhyming with both ‘rain’ and ‘men’, for instance. So you have two options. You can either have the more open (‘there’) pronunciation for the rhymes and use the other pronunciation elsewhere. Or you can use the ‘there’-vowel throughout. Personally I go for consistency, unless there is a good reason for not doing so.
    - ‘wound’ was usually pronounced to rhyme with ‘sound’, ‘ground’, ‘hound’, and so on (these are all in Shakespeare), and this pronunciation stayed until the end of the 18th century. John Walker has it as one of two pronunciations in his Pronouncing Dictionary, and it was still there in early 19th century editions.
    - /r/ was still being pronounced after vowels – the ‘r’-less accent (Received Pronunciation) didn’t evolve until the end of the 18th century.

    Yes, anyone can hear the Purcell material, via Dropbox. What I have is a couple of audio files in which I talk about and illustrate the various vowel values, and several semi-transcriptions – that is, texts in which only the points of difference are noted. I’ll send an invitation.

    [Reply]

    Igor Ruschel Reply:

    Thank you very much, it was very enlightening! I’ve already accepted the invitation and I am studying the inestimable material you’ve made.
    With best regards,
    Igor Ruschel

    [Reply]

    Igor Ruschel Reply:

    Dear Professor!
    I come once more to ask you for advising. About the “r”, the only remaining question for me is that I’m used to hear singers (including British historically informed performers) pronounce the ‘r’ like an alveolar trill or an alveolar trap/flap in words such as “trouble”, “great”, “remember” (first ‘r’), “press’d”, etc.. I know that it has something to do with aesthetics and also, to me, brings a feeling of exaggeration, but is there any evidence suggesting that singers pronounced the ‘r’ that way (trill or flap) in certain words? Sometimes the singing pronunciation has some differences, so I don’t know. The first specific treatise about singing in English that I have found dates from 1771 (author: Anselm Bayly), and describes the ‘r’ as follows: “By turning the tip of the tongue quick along the roof of the mouth towards the throat, at the same time giving a jarring, tremulous sound; as in ore, roar” (pg.5). It seems like the same ‘r’ from Purcell’s time and before…
    Thank you very much for your assistance!
    Sincerely,
    Igor Ruschel

    David Crystal Reply:

    I don’t know the early singing literature, I’m afraid. But as far as general accounts of pronunciation are concerned, there is certainly evidence that a trilled /r/ was in use in the early 16th century. It would have been reinforced by the Scots accents that arrived in court in 1603. Ben Jonson, in his description of /r/ in his English Grammar, talks about the way the sound ‘hirreth’ – vibrates, in other words. I spent quite a while pondering whether to go for a trill or a retroflex /r/ in my transcriptions, and opted for the latter in the end. In song, then as now, I would expect there to have been some more forceful articulations, and a trilled /r/ would certainly have been one of the options.

  10. Viola Zucchi says: May 14, 201411:57 am

    Dear David,
    I am a singer in an Italian choir; we often sing Early and Baroque music, so as the text is usually in Latin or Italian we rarely have doubts about pronounciation. Anyway, we recently came to London to perform in St. John’s Smiths Square International A Cappella Competition, and some of the mandatory pieces were English motets by Sixteenth Century composers. So, as I graduated in Foreign Languages many years ago, I was asked to take care of the choir pronounciation, so began to wonder about OP. We didn’t have much time to study, so in the end I chose British Received Pronounciation for timing reasons.
    We are now going to sing Purcell’s Dido an Aeneas in a very important Early Music Festival in Germany and I would like to do a better with the choir pronunciation.
    So here’s my question, to which I really cannot find a quick answer anywhere:
    How did performers at Purcell’s time pronounce the “R”?
    Was it trilled or flipped or burred? In which syllables was it trilled or rolled? How was it pronounced at the end of words? What about the r-colored vowels?
    It would be a great help for us to get your advice about such a sensitive subject.
    Thank you, Viola from Costanzo Porta Choir.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I’m delighted to hear that you’re thinking of an OP approach. It can make such a difference, especially when lines noticeably don’t rhyme. All the evidence suggests that the postvocalic /r/ was still being sounded in Purcell’s time. It didn’t disappear from the south-eastern accent until late in the 18th century, when Received Pronunciation evolved. It’s phonetic quality is debatable, and probably there were as many variants around then as there are now. I would go for a mildly retroflexed /r/ – similar to the West Country accent in the UK or to much General American. If you want to hear this, along with the other features of the reconstructed accent of Purcell’s time, I have two informally recorded (ie on my home computer using QuickTime) audio files of the vowel qualities that I prepared for someone who was presenting some Purcell songs in OP a little while ago, along with a transcription and some recordings of the pieces, and these are available via Dropbox.

    [Reply]

  11. Ula Müller says: April 19, 20142:08 pm

    Dear David, when I was trying to find out more about the original pronunciation of the lyrics of John Dowlands “flow my tears”, I came across your fascinating work about Shakespeare and OP. Singing this air in a choir, we would love to come up with the origin idea behind the words and use the original pronunciation. At one point this is very difficult:

    Never may my woes be relieved,
    Since pity is fled;
    And tears and sighs and groans my weary days, my weary days
    Of all joys have deprived.

    Listening to your words and to my own feelings, I would pronounce the word “deprived” in this context like the word “believed” or “relieved”. But every native speaker I find on youtube would pronounce the i in deprived like the i in “live” or “like”. Now hopefully you have an idea how this word would have been pronounced in times when this tune was composed.Thank you very much,

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Rhyming evidence suggests that both ‘relieved’ and ‘deprived’ had alternative pronunciations with a short front vowel. In Pericles (5.Chorus 24) ‘relieve me’ rhymes with ‘give me’. And in Lucrece 1752 ‘deprived’ rhymes with ‘unlived’. OED also has a spelling of ‘deprive’ as ‘depriff’. So I’d suggest it would have been ‘re-live’ed’ and ‘de-priv-ed’, with both of the central syllables with the vowel as in ‘give’.

    [Reply]

    Ula Müller Reply:

    Thank you so much :)

    [Reply]

  12. Fiona Shea says: April 14, 20149:14 pm

    Hello! I’m currently playing Rosalind in a production of As You Like It (with the Homeschool Drama Troupe — we’re based in central New Hampshire) and just came across your marvelous book! I realized, first of all, just how much I had been missing (puns, jokes) in this play — and second, had a couple questions. I was think of playing with OP in our production — mostly in the pronunciation of Rosalind’s name. In the text (the way I would speak it in modern English) Orlando rhymes her name with both “ind” and “wind” and then with “lined” and “mind.” So I was just wondering which pronunciation of Rosalind’s name is correct in OP (rhyming either “mind” or “wind”) — and which is actually the incorrect (or joke) on her name. Or are they all pronounced the same way in OP and the lines would only be a joke in modern English? My other question is similar — would “have” rhyme with “slave,” or would “slave” rhyme with “have?”
    Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    All the ‘-ind’ words were pronounced in the same way – that is, rhyming with ‘find’. It’s definitely the second of your alternatives.

    And ‘slave’ was pronounced with a more open vowel – more like the vowel of ‘air’ (but without the r), which would have brought it very close to ‘have’, as the ‘a’ vowel was closer (almost like ‘hev’). So a slightly longer pronunciation of the ‘a’ in ‘have’ and a slightly clipped version of ‘slave’ would have made them almost identical.

    [Reply]

  13. Sally Mann says: April 13, 20147:30 pm

    Hello,
    I just heard you and your son on radio Studio 360. He mentioned that you will be doing a class or workshop in New York City. I am very Interested for the sake of my 2 sons, both actors, and for my
    husband and self, all Bard fans. My 18 year old is in a Shakespeare performance class and will be performing in May. Could you send me information on your class in NYC? Thank you so much!
    Best to you,
    Sally Mann in Brooklyn

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    This is Ben doing the US workshops. They’re listed on his Passion in Practice website (http://www.passioninpractice.com/workshops/), but for final details send him a message at bencrystal@mac.com.

    [Reply]

  14. Thomas Pryde says: April 1, 20143:20 am

    Mr. Crystal, how do you suppose the Mayflower pilgrims spoke? Would it have been similar to Shakespeare’s accent?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    They would have used the accents of the parts of the country the pilgrims came from. And this of course explains why there are differences between, say, New England and other places, as features such as final -r can be traced back to those British dialects. We don’t know what Shakespeare’s personal accent was, unfortunately – doubtless a mix of his native Warwickshire and his adopted London.

    [Reply]

  15. Emma says: February 28, 201410:34 pm

    My English teacher told me that when Macduff in Act II Scene III says “oh horror horror horror”, it is pronounced as “oh whore whore whore” in OP, which makes it alike to a pun as Macbeth replies with “twas a rough night’. However, my English teacher likes strong stories.
    Is this true?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    It would be a bit of a stretch to get to ‘whore’ from ‘horror’ in OP. ‘Whore’ puns with ‘hour’ – both pronounced a bit like modern English ‘oar’ (with r sounded) – hence the famous wordplay by Touchstone in As You Like It that makes Jaques laugh so much. ‘Whore’ has a long vowel; ‘horror’ has a short vowel. And while there may well have been articulations that reduced this disyllable to a monosyllable (as in some modern US accents) I think most speakers would shave respected the two beats in the word. Note that both words would have had the option of dropping the ‘h’, by the way.

    [Reply]

  16. Simon Cauchi says: January 29, 201410:59 pm

    Some extra examples of rhymes: from Richard Crashaw, “spoil” rhyming with “toil” and “smile”; from Sir Richard Fanshawe: “combine” rhyming with “joyne” and “coine” rhyming with “Wine”.

    [Reply]

  17. Simon Cauchi says: January 29, 20147:58 pm

    Re the Shakespearean or rather the Early Modern homophones vice/voice (and countless similar examples of the same vowel sounds combined with different consonants, e.g. bile/boil). Which of these in its modern pronunciation represents what was actually said? Presumably it was either /aj/ or /oj/ or might it have been something else?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I transcribe these with a central vowel (schwa) onset. It’s the only way I can see to explain the homophony, and it ties in well with opinions in historical phonology about how the diphthongs were changing during this period.

    [Reply]

  18. Mariacristina Moroni says: January 3, 20145:46 am

    Dear David,
    I’m going to graduate at Bologna’s University next March with a work about Dunster’s “Doctor Faustus” production at Globe in 2011.
    Could you please give me your opinion about “original pronunciation” in this production?
    Thanks a lot for your contribute!
    Mariacristina Moroni

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I’ve never explored the work of other dramatists from the period, I’m afraid, though the same principles would apply. If there IS anyone out there who has worked on Marlowe or others, from an OP point of view, it would be good to hear of it.

    [Reply]

  19. Mike Schufman says: January 2, 20148:48 pm

    Interesting to hear your thoughts on this! And yes, I did mean alveolar rather than dental. Thanks for your response! And of course you knew what I meant, though I didn’t have an example as good as ‘writer’ and ‘rider.’ :)

    Much appreciated.

    [Reply]

  20. Frost says: December 21, 201311:34 pm

    Hi, I’m trying to work out what the OP of Hecate would be from Macbeth, any help would be appreciated.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    There were two pronunciations. The usual one, supported by several metrical instances (eg MND 5.1.374) was two syllables, stress on the first syllable, with optional /h/. But 1H6 3.2.64 shows that the trisyllabic pronunciation was also in use, harking back to the original Greek.

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  21. Sylvia Reuter says: December 17, 201312:15 pm

    Following up my 2010 event, “Sumer Is Icumen In – Again” was the title of both the project and the subsequent concert on 12 July 2013 (Leipzig, Germany). As last time, we first studied English lyrics in vocal music from the early 13th century till the 18th century closely, and then finally performed the songs in their original pronunciation. Soloists and choir, partly accompanied by instruments, sang, among others, the Middle English songs Worldes Bliss ne Last no Throwe, Deo Gracias Anglia, followed by pieces by Th. Tallis, W. Byrd, Th. Ravenscroft, Dowland, H. Purcell and G. F. Handel. To make the journey through English language sound history complete, we enjoyed the first performance of significant lines from the Old English epic Beowulf, which had been set to music for the purpose of my project (composer Manuel Durão).

    [Reply]

  22. Mike Schufman says: December 16, 20134:31 am

    David!
    I am a “linguistics buff” and am fascinated to have recently discovered this idea of OP which is something I have wondered about for many years. The more I read, the more fascinated I get, and when I practice this pronunciation, it’s as if it comes naturally-almost like we instinctively “hear a late 1500s accent” when it is pronounced.
    My question is:
    Concering EME, what is your take on alveolar flaps representing the letter T as in today’s American English as opposed to aspirated dental consonants as they are used in Modern British pronunciation, such as in “it is” (before a vowel) or any final t like “admit,” “do it,” or after a vowel such as “I will go TO the store (with a flap on the t in to). Is there any evidence that flaps were ever used for “T” as opposed to today’s British tendency to favor the aspirated dental?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I don’t know of any evidence for a flapped t. Contemporary writers don’t give much phonetic detail about sounds, and what they do say is often difficult to interpret. Nor do I recall any spellings that could represent the kind of d/t overlap that brings such pairs as ‘writer’ and ‘rider’ together. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I’ve always assumed a normal alveolar (NB not dental) articulation, as today. Having said that,remember that OP is a phonology, not a phonetics. In other words, it is perfectly possible to render the EME sound system with ‘superimposed’ accent variations. In the 2004 Globe production of Romeo, for example, actors kept their distinctively Scottish, Irish, London, etc accents ‘on top’ of the OP, so that their ‘t’ articulations were in fact quite varied. Such accent variation would have been normal in EME too.

    [Reply]

  23. Doriano says: December 1, 201310:08 pm

    How would Shakespeare have pronounced the names that he used in his plays? For example, how would he have pronounced ‘Gertrude’?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Some names are difficult to establish in OP, but most are straightforward, as they would follow the general system. FOr Gertrude, the ‘er’ would come out as ‘ar’ (just as ‘mercy’ is pronounced ‘marcy’). And the long /u:/ vowel at the end would be shorter (as it is in an unstressed syllable), and might even have reduced to /u/ as in ‘put’ (much as in present-day Scots).

    [Reply]

  24. Emily H. says: September 27, 20138:08 pm

    Hi David! I’m currently studying the language in Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the your video you noted that “loins” has a different pronunciation in the OP, so it’s a pun that is often missed. Are there any similar instances in Midsummer? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Midsummer comes out well in OP (as Paul Meier found with his Kansas production) because of all the rhymes, a significant number of which don’t work in modern English. But there is the occasional pun that requires OP to work: for example ‘No die but an ace for him; for he is but one’ – you have to pronounce ‘ace’ as ‘ass’ to get the point. Or – as you mention the Romeo example – there is a similar pun when Peter Quince says ‘he is a very paramour for a sweet voice’ (vice). And Lysander’s ‘All my powers’ (‘pores’). You can read more about this in the interview with Paul Meier which is downloadable from my website. Go to Books and Articles, filter with Shakespeare, search by publication date and it’s a few items down the list.

    [Reply]

  25. Jeremy Marshall says: September 13, 20139:12 pm

    I’m surprised to hear (in a YouTube clip) that the Globe thought its audiences might not understand Tudor OP. I have never forgotten going to the Lyceum in the mid 1980s to see “Doomsday” from Tony Harrison’s Mysteries. Being largely Middlesex-raised, I couldn’t tell the difference between a medieval and a modern Yorkshire accent, but it sounded rather like your OP and, once you’d got your head around the odd unfamiliar word (such as “thole”), it was entirely comprehensible and highly engaging.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Yes, it surprised me too, at the time. But there is a general trend to exaggerate the differences between Early Modern and Modern English. Look at all those who feel they need to ‘translate’ Shakespeare into Modern English.

    [Reply]

  26. David Crystal says: September 11, 20134:55 pm

    The Open University video Ben and I did a couple of years ago went viral this month on Twitter and other social media. I’ve added links to some relevant sources in the Archive.

    [Reply]

  27. Hamilton Meadows says: September 6, 20137:55 pm

    The story, “Finding Shakespeare” is now on Amazon as a kindle ebook. It has five stars and great reviews. It does present me in both a flattering and un-flattering light which makes me simply human. Its Dan Fromson’s honest reporting of the facts, and I respect this.

    But the story’s really about Shakespeare’s work, a genius storyteller who spoke and wrote in Elizabethan times in a different way over 400 years ago which had been lost and its about David Crystal who re-discovered his true voice. There is a different tone in Early Modern English and with Shakespeare our efforts to re-stage this is what this story’s all about. Its about the efforts of those of us who wish to bring this now to the modern stage for all of us to enjoy once again.

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  28. Craig Allen says: August 29, 201312:08 pm

    I am in the process of transcribing the sonnets into OP and last night began work on Sonnet II. I downloaded the text from MIT’s Shakespeare site for a simple cut and paste into Word, but upon doing so the spell checker told me that the word “besiege” was misspelled as “beseige”. I thought, this is MIT, they wouldn’t have let that typo slip by. So I quickly checked two of my volumes of the complete works and found “besiege” spelled correctly (by modern standards). And yet, something vexed me. A friend of mine is always going on about using the folios for study, and I do agree with her that original source material is always best. So I decided to check the foilos that are up at the Internet Shakespeare web site at the University of Victoria, found the folio containing the sonnets and there was the word spelled “beseige”. Now, knowing that Shakespeare wrote in dialect or for effect, and also knowing that spelling of Early Modern English was in the early stages of becoming standardized in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, I could only surmised that this must be how the Bard want it spelled, and not only how he wanted it spelled, but how he wanted it pronounced. This spelling of course puts a different vocal coloration to the word. This is going to be an interesting project and learning experience.

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  29. David Crystal says: June 3, 20135:53 pm

    From Paul Meier: 1June 2013. From the Stratford Festival, Ontario, as part of their ongoing Forum (live-streamed on the Internet), Tim Carroll led an OP seminar featuring Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, scene 3, performed in OP by Steve Ross, Andre Morin, and Kate Hennig. They were coached principally by resident dialect coach, Nancy Benjamin, who had been coached in turn by Paul Meier, who also spoke on the history and genesis of the OP movement. The hope is that the festival will mount a fully-staged OP production some time soon.

    [Reply]

  30. David Crystal says: June 3, 20135:51 pm

    Jennifer Geizhals sends this message: I phonetically transcribed “As You Like It” into OP, under the direction of Paul Meier with final editing and approval by David Crystal. She also made a recording of the entire play in OP. You can find the transcription and recordings here : about halfway down the page, you’ll see a paragraph where Jennifer’s name is featured and a link to the work, which is a PDF. In case you’re having a hard time finding the link, it’s right here: here. You can listen to the entire play and read along in English and the IPA – there are links in the PDF to Jennifer’s recordings of each scene.

    [Reply]

  31. Kate Emery Pogue says: May 7, 20138:20 pm

    An edited down OP version of Julius Caesar was performed in Houston, Texas, May 2,3, and 4 2013. The venue was the University of Houston Downtown’s O’Kane Theatre and the director/producer was myself, Kate Pogue, a lecturer from the Drama Department faculty. The houses were full (c. 100 people each performance) and audience members were exceptionally attentive. We had enthusiastic responses to the talk-back which followed each performance; uniformly audience members found the language easy to follow and beautiful to listen to. I was thrilled with the experience, for myself and for the actors. By June we’ll have an edited videotape up on YouTube. In the meantime, if you Google KUHAthefrontrow you should get to the site where a radio interview is archived (when the screen comes up, scroll down till you see a box asking for key words. Type in Julius Caesar and it should take you to the broadcast). Our Caesar and Mark Antony each performed a speech for the broadcast which is I believe representative of our work. As the performance week went along the accents weakened a bit. I believe our work hadn’t gone deep enough to really ingrain the accent. If we’d had a longer run it would have been valuable to have had an accent brush-up. I would like to figure out just what it takes to get the accent deep enough that the actor’s instinct would be make it stronger rather than let it weaken. There were numerous places –Antony’s pronunciation of ‘war’, and Portia’s “You have some sick offence within your mind.” where she leaned so on ‘mind’ that I know those moments would never weaken back to the more colorless modern pronunciation. Two people said we should try to take the production to the Fringe in Edinburgh – and the chair of my department wants to look into raising the money to do that, which would be quite an endeavor, but would give us a chance to restage the production next year. We’ll see. I am working on a book detailing our process to help other directors or actors to experiment with original pronunciation performance.I’m eager to read reports of other OP productions and will be watching for posts. Kate Pogue Houston, Texas.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I’ve noticed too, in various OP productions, how certain words are given a really good time by actors, and ‘war’ (rhyming with ‘star’) is always one – I suppose because it usually occurs at a point of semantic prominence in the text. Makes up for the times when the accent slips – inevitable in a short run. It’s the overall impression that counts, and your two radio extracts certainly provide that.

    [Reply]

  32. Kate Emery Pogue says: April 25, 201311:02 pm

    Dear David,
    As you know — since you’ve been so helpful–here in Houston at the University of Houston-Downtown we have been rehearsing an OP production of Julius Caesar, cut to an hour and a quarter and played by seven actors. The experience has been extraordinary. With luck these seven performers will take their experience into other places and other productions. I’ll report next week how the performances went, and will be publishing a book I hope will serve as a decent guide for American performances in pasrticular. We hope to have a YouTube video to post as well. Thank you for your inspiration and encouragement! Kate Pogue

    [Reply]

  33. Dominick Reyntiens says: April 8, 201310:35 pm

    I happened upon that OP bit from the OU you recorded with Ben. Just those few words, It was a total body blow, like a renaissance painting covered in grime and suddenly restored and showing the power of its true colour. As an ex street entertainer, I connected immediately, OP is a voice that has a direct connection to the audience. I told my wife, ‘listen to this’ & I played the pieces, I could see the tingle in her expression as she felt exactly what I felt. Remarkable work, I am converted.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    I love the painting analogy. Many thanks.

    [Reply]

  34. Hamilton Meadows says: February 12, 20136:28 pm

    We are now in full production of Macbeth in OP guided by Doug Honoroff as voice coach. Please see the review in NYC’s latest copy of Backstage this week.

    [Reply]

  35. David Crystal says: February 11, 20137:56 pm

    Dean Hoffman writes to report an event which took place last year in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Details are on the archive and forthcoming events pages of this site. Dean teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies division at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. His interest in Robin Hood dates back to his college days, and his articles on the Robin Hood legend have appeared in Neuphilologische Mitteilungen (Helsinki), TDR: The Drama Review, and Studia Neophilologica (Uppsala). The event took place in association with Carolina Pro Musica, established in 1977 to promote music before 1800 with historic instrument copies and in the performance style of the periods. Since their founding, they have maintained a concert series in Charlotte, performing music from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century. They have been artists-in-residence at Belmont Abbey College since 2002.

    [Reply]

  36. Roberto Mighty says: August 30, 201212:15 pm

    Using Original Pronunciation for Puritans at Harvard [see link at Forthcoming Events]

    “First Contact” is an immersive multimedia video-audio-photo installation at Harvard’s Fisher Museum. It is about the clash of worldviews regarding land use in the early 17th Century between Native Americans and Puritan colonists in New England. As a one year artist-in-residence at Harvard Forest, I spent my time reading and researching, but also working for months in the forest at all hours of the day and night — filming, photographing, recording sound, making time-lapses, and otherwise being bitten senseless by mosquitoes, black flies and who-knows-what miniature monsters. Several months in to the project, I realized what countless historians before me had previously concluded: The Puritans were highly educated as a group and many wielded the pen with great expertise.

    The Puritans believed strongly in education. They founded Harvard College in 1636. Their leaders and other contemporary colonial thinkers, including John Eliot, Roger Williams, Thomas Morton, Francis Higginson, John Cotton and Daniel Gookin were accomplished writers.

    Over the course of this project, I went from reading about them in history books to reading their actual letters, sermons, pamphlets and books, including, in a few cases, their transcriptions of the words of Native Americans in English and Algonquian dialects. These first person narratives, testimonies and reports are compelling, and gave me much fodder for my thesis: that the religious, spiritual and economic backgrounds of the two peoples — English and Native American — led them to irreconcilable views about the proper relationship between that landscape and human beings.

    As the research stretched on for months, I kept returning to these first person texts, finally deciding that the Puritans’ state of mind could most effectively be represented by selective voiceover recordings of their own writings. But who would perform these voices? How about me? Ha. Non-starter. I’d be imitating — no doubt poorly — English accents. How about getting professional actors? Nope. Precious few native UK actors here in Massachusetts. How about getting someone in England to read the passages? Ahh – getting closer, but still, I’d have no way of knowing if the accents used would be “proper”, whatever the heck that would mean.

    Around this time, thanks to the magic of radio, I heard a BBC interview with Jonnie Robinson — about the “Original Pronunciation” movement in England — people who use literary and speech forensics to reconstruct how English would have sounded in previous eras, focusing on Shakespeare. The math checked out — “my” Puritans and Shakespeare were, roughly speaking, contemporaries. Wow. I tracked this Robinson fellow down via Google. Jonathan Robinson, Lead Curator, Sociolinguistics & Education at the British Library in London, was kind enough to answer my query and direct me to two actors and authors — Englishmen Ben Crystal and Paul Meier — who are recognized experts in OP.

    Over here in the states, the Nipmuc Nation (the Native American bands of what is now central Massachusetts were primarily of the Nipmuc/Algonquin group) recommended to me the only living teacher of their language, David Tall Pine White.

    Fortunately, all three of these gentlemen agreed to make voice recordings for this project, and Tall Pine also translated 17th century Narragansett transcriptions by Roger Williams (missionary, Puritan dissident and later founder of Rhode Island) into Nipmuc. In addition, Tall Pine recommended and recorded a 17th century poem by Ousemequin (otherwise known as Massassoit) about the notion of owning land.

    I sent Ben Crystal and Paul Meier their selected passages via email, along with bios of the historical authors, including what towns they were born and raised in, what churches they’d attended, their education, occupations, etc., and minimal “stage direction.” They made the recordings on their own home setups. What these actor-director-writers returned to me in digital sound files was, in each case, a dramatic revelation. Their voice acting surpassed my wildest dreams.

    [Reply]

  37. dotsid55@optonline.net says: July 25, 20124:02 pm

    Having gone through every sonnet in the OP can Mr. Crystal make the claim that he understands the sonnets enough to give us a short precis of the plot.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Well I could, but there are already plenty of fine Sonnet analyses out there. Take a look, for example, at Will Sutton’s page – and if you get the chance, go to see his Sonnet show (or book him).

    [Reply]

  38. Holly says: July 6, 20123:20 am

    I would like to explain to students why, in several Elizabethan era sonnets, “move” rhymes with “love.” Can you explain the phonetic etymology?

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    You’ll find information on this in the papers listed under Evidence on this site. There seems to have been both long and short variants for ‘love’ around at the time, either of which would have made the rhyme work. In my transcriptions I prefer the short variant, given the clear statement by (among others) Ben Jonson in 1616 that ‘o’ is ‘in the short time’ and lists ‘love’ and ‘prove’ along with ‘mother’, ‘cosen’ [cousin] and others.

    [Reply]

  39. Chris Hunter says: June 8, 20128:43 am

    As one of the singers on Musica Contexta’s new Byrd recording I’m delighted with what we’ve achieved but slightly frustrated that it’s taken such a long time to arrive. OP was quite a hot topic about 30 years ago among scholars and serious performers of Early Music but was never taken up in a big way by professional ensembles of the time, so interest seemed to die away. I have a recording of Byrd’s Songs of Sundrie Natures made by the Hilliard Ensemble in 1987 which uses OP: Paul Hillier wrote a piece in the CD booklet explaining and justifying such a novelty. I find it sad that apart from the occasional concert or recording ‘authentic’ Latin nobody’s really bothered since.
    Perhaps if theatre audiences come to expect OP as a norm they’ll look for recordings of contemporary music also using OP and market forces will encourage musicians to take it up.

    [Reply]

    David Crystal Reply:

    Thanks, Chris. I’m puzzled too. After the Globe Romeo, there was an audience talkback session in which there were several early music people present, and I got the impression that some were going to do something practical afterwards, but nobody got in touch. I think one of the problems is that the term ‘OP’ covers a multitude of possible effects, and it takes quite a bit of time to master the detail of it. I’ve heard some recordings of so-called OP music in which the only OP feature was the pronunciation of words like ‘salvation’ as ‘sal-vay-see-on’. What’s lovely about the Musica Contexta recording is the way the whole sound system is taken into account, so that one hears a variety of fresh effects. It is spine-tinglingly effective, and I hope others will follow your lead. I do get enquiries from time to time by music groups, so I’m hopeful that a climate will emerge. It took five years for the ripples from the Globe theatre initiative to turn into performance waves.

    [Reply]

  40. David Crystal says: May 25, 20129:18 am

    The long-awaited CD of William Byrd’s ‘The Great Service in the Chapel Royal’ is now available from Chandos (CHAN 0789), directed by Simon Ravens, with an OP text arranged by Robert Easting. It’s the first time I’ve heard OP used in this way and it sounds amazing.

    [Reply]

  41. David Crystal says: May 24, 201211:37 am

    In ‘Making Sense of Shakespeare’ (1999, pp. 133ff.), Charles H Frey offers early and illuminating support for OP. Thanks to Charles for this link.

    [Reply]

  42. David Crystal says: May 3, 20129:33 pm

    Hamilton Meadows has sent a link to his new
    Shakespeare OP
    site, and also to a review of his production of Twelfth Night.

    [Reply]

  43. Mary McDonald-Lewis says: March 19, 20125:56 am

    Here is a short video, a collection of scenes from “Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline” produced at Portland Center Stage using Original Pronunciation, with me as dialect coach:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owo-nRKsGrg&feature=youtu.be

    Only 5 actors play all the roles, and along with the OP you’ll hear a little Welsh, some RP, and a bit of Italian. In general, I’m well and truly satisfied with our first outing using OP.

    [Reply]

  44. Hamilton Meadows says: March 16, 20128:49 pm

    David, again thank you for all your help to make Twelfth Night our first OP production Off-Broadway in NYC. Next, Macbeth in OP this October. Best, Hamilton

    [Reply]

  45. Bryan Park says: November 30, 20118:21 am

    This is fascinating. You are doing for Shakespeare what the period performance practice movement has been doing in music – stripping away the accretions of the centuries and hearing as the original audiences heard. In the musical realm, instruments in general have been getting louder, and ensembles have been getting bigger. What happens when we use the instruments that Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven would have been familiar with? What techniques are different as a function of using those instruments? What tempos need to be changed? This is what has been going on in the musical realm. Now it’s happening for Shakespeare, and I say bravo.

    [Reply]

  46. Sylvia Reuter says: November 7, 20119:31 am

    Another project of mine that also included original pronunciation was the research into the York Mystery Plays, a cycle of mystery plays from the late 14th century until at least 1569. All biblical in content and serving what we would call ‘infotainment’, the whole York cycle of plays encompasses the medieval Christian view on the history of the world, from the Fall of the Angels to the Last Judgment. On 7/7/2011, MA-students presented the results of their close reading and linguistic analysis of the following guilds and plays: “The Playsterers” (The Creation), “The Parchemyners and Bokebynders” (Abraham and Isaac), “The Cordewaners” (The Agony in the Garden and the Betrayal), and “The Pynneres” (The Crucifixion), exploring the plays’ word fields, pronouns, paradigms, different spellings, and sound patterns. This last aspect included transcribing and then reading out of parts of the Middle English versions.

    [Reply]

  47. Sylvia Reuter says: November 7, 20119:20 am

    In summer term 2010 I devoted a seminar to the linguistic analysis of lyrics used in songs, from Middle English/1250 onwards through Modern English, researching and analyzing, among other aspects, their pronunciation. During the concert 25 June, 2010 (Leipzig, Germany) the following pieces were performed (a cappella both solo and choir, lute, counter tenor, Baroque instruments): Sumer Is Icumen In, Miri it is while sumer ilast, Brid on a breere, Lullay Lullow, 2 pieces by Henry VIII, Th. Tallis/If ye love me, W. Byrd/ Crowned with flowers, Dowland’s “Wilt thou unkind thus reave me” and “Come again sweet love”, pieces by Blow, Purcell, plus a Magnificat based on St. Luke. The linguistic analyses included much more than the original pronunciation, of course, but it was this aspect which turned out to be the most fascinating and challenging one when, finally, the transcription (IPA) was the basis to teach professional singers a pronunciation of pieces that they had already sung before. To listen to “Come again, sweet love” in this “new” version gave the piece a completely new flavour.

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  48. Susanna Jennings says: November 3, 201111:17 am

    Took part in an OP Workshop in London with David Barrett a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic, in four hours we learnt the basics of OP and how it can help an actor and had a go at some extracts from ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Myself and 7 other actors were extremely extremely excitedand only wish we’d discovered this sooner!

    [Reply]

  49. Lizzie Locker says: October 28, 20113:24 pm

    My undergraduate honors research project is entitled “Lost Lines and Forgotten Rhymes: The Use of OP in Modern Performance.” I’ll be working with a set of actors to produce a long scene and a series of monologues in OP. I plan on focusing my attentions on how OP affects the actors, and how it changes the performance from the actors’ perspectives. Being in Mississippi, I will be working with native Southern actors, so I’m very excited to see how their accents translate into OP. As a student of creative writing and theatre rather than lingusitics, I’m a bit out of my element in some areas of the project, so any help and advice is very welcome!

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  50. David Barrett says: October 19, 201111:15 am

    Just for the record:

    The students at the Circle in the Square Theatre School in NYC gave the first OP performance of Twelfth Night in the summer of 2010, directed by Ed Berkeley.

    [Reply]

    Leigh Dillon Reply:

    Yes, David. I was the dialect coach and this enormous “Thank You” is long overdue, to you and to David Crystal. Thank you for sharing your work with us, as our rehearsal time was shorter than short. I also purchased David Crystal’s recordings of the sonnets and listened to all of them, day and night! A wonderful project! Thank you, Two Gentlemen of OP!

    [Reply]

  51. David Barrett says: October 19, 201111:10 am

    OP Workshop, London, October 2011

    This highly successful workshop, given by David Barrett, introduced eight actors and actresses to the possibilities of performing Shakespeare in OP. Following a crash course in the pronunciation, we went on to read extracts from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Henry Vth’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Apart from the obvious benefits of restoring rhyme and metre, we explored the ways in which OP could be used as an aid to characterisation and for comedic effect. The particpants found this a real eye-opener and went away determined to put their new knowledge into practice. The next workshop will be for drama students at the University of Glamorgan.

    [Reply]

  52. Hamilton Meadows says: October 1, 201112:55 pm

    David, the sections of my film documentary on “Speak the Speech, I Pray Thee” where Tangier Island natives read Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet with their distinct accent is on-line at hamiltonmeadowsfilms.com. Hope it is helpful and possibly provide a clue to the pronunciation of Early Modern English and with Shakespeare OP.

    [Reply]

  53. Alex Torra says: September 15, 20114:05 pm

    The event in May 2011 listed in your archive was part of a longer research project to find how we might use the information gleaned from the OP work in contemporary American Shakespearean performance. One of the things we did was put the various performance dialects next to each other — we did a portion of a scene from As You Like It in OP, RP, then Standard American. So fascinating, so informative.

    Along with Shakespeare in Clark Park, we’re hoping to do another OP workshop and showing sometime in the next year. I’ll keep you posted on those dates and the nature of that event.

    [Reply]

  54. David Barrett says: September 12, 20112:13 pm

    ‘As You Like It’ in OP:

    I am currently transcribing ‘As You Like It’ into OP for actors with a British base accent.

    I am researching performing Shakespeare in OP at the University of Glamorgan and am running a series of OP workshops for drama undergraduates and post-graduates.

    [Reply]

  55. David Barrett says: September 12, 20112:06 pm

    Shakespeare in OP at the KIng’s Theatre, Southsea, England:

    This is a youth project, generously supported by the King’s Theatre. A group of young people from Portsmouth, England will be rehearsing scenes from Shakespeare for a public performance in May 2012.

    [Reply]

  56. Paul Meier says: September 12, 201112:11 pm

    Bravo, David! You have started quite a movement. It seems to me quite possible that discerning theatre-goers will now regularly ponder what they are missing when an older work is presented in anything other than its OP! You have shown us that it’s not only possible, and how it’s possible, but that it’s hugely rewarding for actors and audience alike, to mount OP productions. We will undoubtedly be seeing many more such productions..

    Thanks for turning me on to OP. Working with you has been the highlight of my career in Shakespeare and dialects.

    [Reply]

  57. Hamilton Meadows says: September 12, 201111:05 am

    David, my documentary on OP is within a weeks of being up-loaded to the net. Part one is “The watermen of Tangier”.

    Then filming will begin for part two which is the futher search for OP, where experts in the field, like yourself and others clarify their efforts. This documentary will end hopefully with a trip to Reno to film some of the rehearsals for Hamlet in OP, this fall staring your son Ben.

    Part three will be the filming of the complete process for the first OP production of Twelth Night, here in NYC. Best to you as always, Respectfully Hamilton Meadows

    [Reply]

  58. Paul Roebuck says: September 12, 20117:50 am

    Dear David – I remember you well in Melbourne some years ago – and I did try to implement your ideas – lukewarm reception – I need more encouragement – Paul Melbourne Shakespeare Society – you and your book are great – continuous encouragement from your many articles – Thank you David Love to keep in touch

    [Reply]

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