Friday, April 26, 2013

April 23...William Shakespeare's Birth and Death Anniversary

April 23—Today is William Shakespeare’s Birth and Death Anniversary (1564-1616). Write a poem.

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1590 and died on April 23, 1613.  During his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote 38 plays and various sonnets and poetry.  Shakespeare’s plays are the most widely read English text behind the Bible.

Even though Shakespeare only went to school until he was 13, his vocabulary included 21,000 words!  During his time, the average vocabulary for his village was less than 500.  Even today, most authors’ vocabulary does not exceed 7,500, and the average person with a University degree has only 3,000 to 4,000.

Shakespeare made up many of the words he used in his writing.  He invented over 1,700 of the words now commonly used in English.  These include words such as dwindle, fashionable, negotiate, cold-blooded, and rant

Not all of Shakespeare’s vocabulary is still used today.  Words such as incarnadine (to make red with blood), bodikins (little bodies), and to fishify (to turn into fish) are no longer used in everyday conversation.  Other words, such as overview (supervision) and  revolting (rebellious) have changed meaning since Shakespeare’s time.

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