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In Shakespeare's Time

In Shakespeare's Time image
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The inembers of a scientifie society in England, hearing the ponderons name, Tho Arohoeological Section of the Jïirmingharn anti Midland Instituto, lately listened to ;i disquLsitionon Shakespeare is he wás spoken in the days when Shakespeare spoke fnr himself. Staking his studies directly f rom the text, the speaker noted the changes which have come over the lahguage in the vowel sounds. In Queen Hess' time, for instance. 'Va'" and "al" must have been one and the same thing, else where is the point for Falstalï's pun, "If reasons fraisins were as plenty as blackberries." In "Júllua CtBsar" there is found authority for believin that "Rome" was called '"Room." Even as recenta man as Earl Russell thus pronounced the name of the Etemal City. Rosalind playa with the words "suitor"' asd "shooter" as though the lis" in the foriner word liad the sound we gave to it in "sugar. " The speaker recalled the fact that .föhn Ketnble tried to restore the sound "bird" to "beard." Leigh Hnnt notes that Kemble also adopted these sounds: Merohant, pronounceü inarchuut. Viiine, prononnoed vartne. Ilideous. pronoiinccd liidjus. Odlbos, pronounoed ojus. "Aitches" for "aches,'.' it is recorded, caused a "riot" at Govent darden, and yet if "aohe" be not spoken "aitch," Beatriee's explanation of her sigh explains nothing. MostEnglish actors, as we know. pronounce "clerk" as though spelled "elark," and for this, besides tradition and and a eustom which is said still to rule in some parts of England, they have the authority of Shakespeare himself in (ratiano's closing speech in The Merchant of Venice. Some of us lioston folks may remember that our fathers ahvays called Beacon Hill by name as "liacon Hill." These studies and tracings are evidence that perfect phonography will never be possible. For all the arbitrary symbols in the world can convey no more information through the eye to the ear than is procurable from our present alphabet, without the intervention of a speaker. But with a speaker to teach sound we are using a method which is practically the same as tradition, and we all know how soon tradition, in the matter of speech, swerves through the influence of physical peculiarities, such as a lisping or stammering utterance or a fective


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Ann Arbor Courier