The Language of Shakespeare

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When mine eyes did see Olivia first, Methought she purg'd the air of pestilence! and what think you , sailors? are two random quotes from Act 1, Sc. 1 of Twelfth Night, which illustrate in the underlined passages how Shakespeare's language use diverges from the modern one. In this course we will be using two plays in order to investigate morphological and syntactic features typical of Early Modern English. We will also be looking at characteristic lexical uses of Shakespeare: First, some of the still familiar words he uses had very different meanings then. Secondly, he himself was very inventive in coining new words and putting old ones to interesting new uses. Furthermore, we will be paying attention to the dramatic and literary use of language within the larger context of the plays - such as: which metaphors do the characters use and why?, how do characters address each other and what does that say about their relationships?, what is the relationship between function and linguistic realisations of Goneril's and Regan's speeches at the beginning of King Lear? The two plays the seminar will be based on and which all participants must have and have read(!) are: Twelfth Night, King Lear (both Arden edition)

Anglistik Universität Duisburg-Essen SoSe 2013 Master, Master Professorin Claridge Claudia