The English language is also known as "Shakespeare's language', and for good reason!
Shakespeare had a way with words, in fact, he invented many of the English words native speakers now use today.
So if you want to speak English fluently, it's high time you brushed up on some Shakespeare
In the following article, we'll give you heaps of background on the English language, which you can use to turbo-boost your English learning!
Studying English through the works of Shakespeare keeps things fun and interesting!
English, the language of Shakespeare, is the most commonly spoken language in the world. Over 400 million people are native English speakers, and over 1.4 million speak it as a second language. So perfecting your English will open the door to many opportunities all over the world.
But what has the English language got to do with Shakespeare?
And how can we learn to speak English through Shakespeare's sonnets and plays?
How can an English tutor guide mee through the theatre and literature written by Shakespeare?
Alternatively, check for English classes Melbourne here.
Why Read Shakespeare In Your English Lesson?
According to some experts, William Shakespeare invented and added between 1700-2200 new words and idioms into the English language. Whatever the total number, with all this new language, he has had an enormous impact on the English speaking world. If you want to deepen your English vocabulary, hone your grammar, or discover the history of the English language, you can't go past Shakespeare!
Young children can be very creative - did you ever invent words when you were younger?
Shakespeare created over 2000 words! Whilst this figure is impressive by itself, what's even more impressive is that many of these words are still in circulation today.
In fact, only 5% of Shakespeare vocabulary fell out of use. So even though Shakespeare's plays date back to the 16th century and are written in an older form of English, they still have much to teach us about the English language today.
In 2014, thousands of parents around the world were naming their newborn "Olivia". You may even know an Olivia yourself. But did you know that Shakespeare was the first to spell Olivia like this? He introduced the spelling when he named one of the characters in the play Twelfth Night "Olivia".
English is the most commonly spoken language globally, with over 1.5 billion speakers.
Not ready for Shakespeare yet? Why not check out the world of Australian cuisine instead.
English Words and Expressions Invented By Shakespeare
Shakespeare has influenced not only the English language but plays a huge role in contemporary British culture.
You don't have to look very far to find Shakespeare's words in modern English.
Reading Shakespeare is a great way for intermediate to advanced ESL learners to polish their language skills, be it English grammar, English listening, or English speaking skills.
So what's the best way to master English as a second language? Dive right into English books!
Learning English through literature keeps things fresh and exciting, and you're technically learning two things at once!
So, have you heard these phrases in your advanced English lessons? (Hint: They were invented by Shakespeare!)
- "Wild-goose chase" (Romeo and Juliet)
- "Heart of gold"
- "Brave new world" (The Tempest)
- "Faint-hearted" (Henry IV part I)
- "For goodness’ sake"
- "Break the ice" (The Taming of the Shrew)
- "Love is blind"
- " Foregone conclusion"
Some Shakespearian words have also made their way into other languages, like French. The word "manager" for example, is present in many other languages!
Want to quote Shakespeare to your friends? Discover famous English quotes with Superprof.
English Words Changing Over Time
Watch out for false friends! These are words you think you may be able to translate easily but have a different meaning altogether. Over the centuries, the English language has evolved and the meanings of some words have changed.
To impress your English teacher, familiarise yourself with the list below. Here are just nine words that were once used in Shakespeare's sonnets and plays, but now have a different meaning.
- "Revolve » used to mean "be careful", nowadays it means "turn".
- "Wherefore » used to mean "why", nowadays it means, "where".
- "Naughty » used to mean "nasty" and "immoral". Nowadays it is much more gentle - usually used to describe children getting up to hijinks!
- "Stand on ceremony » was once "superstitious" Nowadays it means someone "has formal manners".
- Quick means "fast" or "rapid" today, but it used to mean "lively" in Shakespeare's time
- "Weird" is slang for "strange" or "bizarre". However, in Shakespeare's day, it meant "fatality"
- "Minion" means those little yellow cartoon characters today, but it used to mean "slave"
- "Quaint" usually means "charming" today, but it used to mean "competent"
- Unthrifty now refers to someone who is "bad with money" or "a big spender" but to Shakespeare, this meant "well trained"
Learn to speak English by exploring the vocabulary of Shakespeare. 95% of the language used by Shakespeare more than 400 years ago is still in circulation today, even if much has changed in meaning. This is why we refer to Shakespeare's English as "Old English"
Want to stay up to date with current affairs whilst achieving English fluency with Superprof's best selection of Anglophone news outlets.
Immerse Yourself In Shakespeare's Language and Culture
William Shakespeare graced the English language with over 154 sonnets and 37 pieces of theatre. His influence on the English language cannot be overstated!
Whether your goals are to do with expressions, grammar, pronunciation, words or reading comprehension, there are so many intensive English courses in the UK based around the works of Shakespeare.
And while you're there, don't forget to try English cuisine!
If your dream is to speak English fluently like a true bilingual, there is not better place to study Shakespeare's language that with English teachers in the UK.
If you can't travel to the UK right away, you can still study Shakespeare from afar thanks to the wonders of online courses and learning English online. Click here if you want to start English conversation lessons online.
The UK: A Favourite Destination for English Learners
So how and where should you learn English? There are so many choices available to you.
We are so lucky to live in a world where we can travel and discover other languages and cultures. So where can you practise speaking English abroad?
The United Kingdom is a top choice for many people who want to speak English and discover the culture that birthed Shakespeare.
Or, live the American Dream by paying a visit to the USA to immerse yourself in American culture, take English language classes, and explore the many different accents and pronunciations. If the US doesn't appeal to you, you could try other Anglophone countries such as Australia, New Zealand or Canada.
50% of ESL students will travel to the United Kingdom at some point to take English classes.
There are so many Anglophone countries to choose from, each with their unique culture and accent. However, if you want to go to the source of the English language and find out about its fascinating and rich history, nothing beat the United Kingdom. You may even come away with a beautiful, musical British accent!
England isn't your only option for travel and English language discovery! You could also visit...
- Northern Ireland,
Which are very close by!
England itself boasts the opportunity to learn a sophisticated "proper" English accent, is popular among fans of the British Royal Family (Queen Lizzy, anyone?). And if it's Shakespeare you're interested in, you can visit the Globe Theatre in London to see one of his plays performed in a traditional Elizabethan theatre! Shakespeare's heritage is alive and well in England today.
The UK and Europe are fascinating and attractive destinations for international students.
You might be passionate about grammar, syntax, verb conjugation and perfecting your accent. But it's not all about language learning. You can spice things up with the pop culture, history and nightlife. Learning English in London can be a lot of fun.
Complete Your English Lessons With The Works Of Shakespeare
Shakespeare has had an enormous impact on the English spoken around the world today, and if you want to deepen your appreciation of the English culture, history and language, you should turn to Shakespeare.
Learning English is useful, but learning English with Shakespeare can be fascinating and a lot of fun.
Shakespeare will open up your horizons to the wonderful world of English literature. Many famous Anglophone writers, including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, William Faulkner and Herman Melville, have all been strongly influenced by the works of Shakespeare.
His brilliance has even led the literary critic and novelist, George Steiner, to declare that the English romantic poets were only, "slight variations of Shakespearean themes".