How can I learn to understand Shakespeare's language?  What should I do to better understand the shakespeare's words?   When I read King Lear, I dont really understand the shakespeare language...

How can I learn to understand Shakespeare's language?

 

What should I do to better understand the shakespeare's words?

 

When I read King Lear, I dont really understand the shakespeare language unless i read the modern text

Asked on by lovekblue

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Although Shakespeare’s language is technically modern English, it often uses words that are no longer common, refers to ideas or cultural practices that are no longer familiar, and follows syntactic patterns no longer common. There are several ways to learn to read it more easily.

First is simply practice. Like anything else (including riding bicycles) the more of it you do, the easier it gets.

Next, Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be heard rather than read. You can rent or download films of Shakespeare’s plays and get used to the language by watching them. The BBC has done many excellent productions.

Reading aloud will help. Sometimes when the spelling of  a word looks unfamiliar, once you say it, you’ll recognize it.

Use a dictionary (print or online) to look up unfamiliar words. Make vocabulary cards as you would for a foreign language. This will help expand your vocabulary as well – thus helping you in your future reading and tests like the SAT or ACT.

Sources:

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