What are some differences between the language from Shakespeare's time and now?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some other differences between the language spoken during Shakespeare's time and that of today have to do with how with changes in vocabulary and usage, as well as the use of poetry vs. prose. As far as vocabulary is concerned, Shakespeare contributed more than 500 new words to the English language--some of which aren't used today and reflect objects or names used for that time period only. Use the footnotes or modern translations to help you with those. Also, the use of words like thy, thine, and thou are words for the second person usage of you and yours. If you substitute you or yours in place of thy or thine, that will help with understanding the text. Finally, remember to watch for Shakespeare's use of poetry as opposed to prose. The poetry parts will have many figures of speech to define or to describe the issues that the characters are faced with; whereas, the prose pieces of the text usually provide clear information about the current goings-on of the play.

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