Original Pronunciation

English language texts in period speech

Learning to speak OP is no more difficult than learning to speak in any English accent that is not one’s native accent. It helps if you have a good ear for picking up differences in the way people speak.

OP is unlike modern accents in that – in the absence of time travel – there is no place one can go to to hear people use it natively; on the other hand, there is now a good range of illustrations online, and these should be listened to first. Unless you have an incredibly good ear, Iit’s important useful also to have a basic ability in phonetics, at least to the extent of being able to read and sound out the features of OP reflected in the transcriptions.

Specific guidance about Shakespearean OP can be found in the following links.

Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation and blog

Paul Meier, The Original Pronunciation of Shakespeare’s English

Passion in Practice

See David Barrett’s site for his doctoral thesis on Performing Shakespeare in the Original Pronunciation and other articles relating to performance in OP here