Audio & Video Recording
Here follows some links to actual recordings of original pronunciation
Richard III opening speech read by Ben Crystal

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6), read by David Crystal

10 comments

 
 

Feb 14, 2017

13:29

original comment
That's a common reaction, as people tune in to the postvocalic /r/, which is widely associated with piratespeak. But how genuine is it? I have no idea how 17th-century pirates spoke. My perception comes entirely from Robert Newton's Long John Silver, and other famous film characterizations. Pirates of the Caribbean probably has to take a lot of present-day responsibility!
 
charles
crush
says

Feb 14, 2017

06:48

some of OP seems to resemble 17th century Caribbean pirate speech. or at least what is commonly thought to be that speech. very nice to revive this form of speaking Shakespeare .
 

Jan 26, 2017

09:26

original comment
It certainly was (already in English). There's a nice example in Chaucer's Boece (3.10), where it is spelled 'Tagus', which at the time would have had a long 'a' vowel.
 
Jim
Powell
says

Jan 26, 2017

07:10

original comment
Thank you. I am as grateful for your explanation of the problem as for the answer you hazard. Wyatt spent much of two years in Toledo, on the Tagus (1538-40) as Henry's ambassador to Charles V, so he might have been influenced by the Spanish pronunciation. His orthography tends to be pointed phonetic (his own hand in the Egerton MS), but the spelling suggests that the name was already in English -- the mouth of the Tejo is at Lisbon and sea trade to Portugal goes back to the 13th century or earlier. Such a puzzle. Thanks again. Great site.
 

Jan 24, 2017

22:03

original comment
Proper names are a pain. I say in my OP writing that I am about 90 per cent confident about the accuracy of the recostruction. That remaining percentage is largely about proper names - people and places. They were as unpredictable then as they are today, they only occsionally occur in rhymes, and they tend not to be mentioned in the various commentaries from the period. So, faced with a name like Tagus, one has to make the assumption that the modern pronunciation is the result of the same pattern of development that occurred in other words displaying the same sound(s). I would opt for 'te:gus', with the 'e' mid open, as in OP 'blade'.
 
jim
powell
says

Jan 24, 2017

04:02

A question for you, David Crystal: I'm trying to figure out how Wyatt would have pronounced "Tagus" in his poem "Tagus Farewell." Specifically, I'm wondering if the "a" in Tagus would have been pronounced as a contemporary long "a" (blade, etc.) or otherwise, and whether the "g" in Tagus would have been pronounced hard (go) or soft (barrage). The modern Spanish name of the river is Tejo (tay-ho); god knows how it was pronounced in 1542. Grateful for your thoughts. & thanks.
 

Mar 16, 2016

21:15

original comment
You'll find this on the Illustrations page of this website - underneath the Richard III recording.
 

Mar 15, 2016

15:23

I'd like a recording of the lord's prayer to copy for my 1640s vicar character in the Sealed Knot. Can you make it available or send my a file please? I've bought David's recording of the 23rd Psalm, but the Lord's prayer would be even more useful for our displays.
 
John
Dominic
says

Oct 18, 2012

18:19

original comment
Brad, I've noticed that in 16th century musical settings of The Lord's Prayer, "temptation" is set as four syllables ("temp-tah-see-on"). David's recording shows why!
 

Sep 13, 2011

10:06

Interesting to hear how "temptation" in The Lord's Prayer sounds most different, and for me reaches more towards french/latin roots. Enjoying very much what I see here. Thank you.