Sunday, January 19, 2014

Shakespeare’s Impact on English

Everyone knows that the prolific and sometimes mysterious 16th century poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, had great influence on the writing. What’s not as well known is how deeply he impacted English as we speak it. Even today. Every day. In fact, he’s credited with popularizing around 1700 words, many of which we use every day, including gloomy, majestic, lonely, hurry, frugal, generous and more.

According to The Huffington Post, Shakespeare's influence was due in part to his mastery of his quill. But another factor was the fact that the English language was just settling in to itself when he arrived on the scene with such dramatic flourish:
In addition to his being a particularly clever wordsmith, Shakespeare's word invention can be credited to the fact that the English language as a whole was in a major state of flux during the time that he was writing. Colonization and wars meant that English speakers were borrowing more and more words from other languages.


Blogger Sue Bursztynski said...

I do an introduction to Shakespeare with my young students each year and start with words and expressions first heard in Shakespeare. I enjoy watching them gasp when they realise how many words they use every day which come from Shakespeare, a writer they always thought was so four hundred years ago! And we do have new words even now - quite a few make it into new editions of the dictionaries.

Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 1:16:00 PM PST  

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