Other available formats:
Looking for an examination copy?
This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact firstname.lastname@example.org providing details of the course you are teaching.
‘You speak a language that I understand not.’ Hermione’s words to Leontes in The Winter’s Tale are likely to ring true with many people reading or watching Shakespeare’s plays today. For decades, people have been studying Shakespeare’s life and times, and in recent years there has been a renewed surge of interest into aspects of his language. So how can we better understand Shakespeare? How did he manipulate language to produce such an unrivaled body of work, which has enthralled generations both as theater and as literature? David Crystal addresses these and many other questions in this lively and original introduction to Shakespeare’s language. Covering in turn the five main dimensions of language structure - writing system, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and conversational style - the book shows how examining these linguistic ‘nuts and bolts’ can help us achieve a greater appreciation of Shakespeare’s linguistic creativity.Read more
- Explains clearly the terms required to understand Shakespeare's language, assuming no prior specialist knowledge
- Includes many examples from Shakespeare's plays and poems, providing essential context for the reader
- Contains a lively and original A-Z Appendix of Shakespeare's 'false friends' - words which seem familiar to us today, but in fact have a completely different meaning
Reviews & endorsements
"In this authoritative and attractively written book David Crystal asks all the right questions about the language that Shakespeare used and the ways in which he used it. Here is a linguist who knows not only how words work but how they work in the theatre. Anyone who cares for Shakespeare will be informed and entertained by this intriguing and wide-ranging study."
Stanley WellsSee more reviews
"Crystal is perhaps the world's foremost scholar of the English language -- and he is certainly the most enjoyable, learned and prolific author writing about the language today...Throughout [this book] Crystal's characteristic conversational tone helps make lucid the sometimes murky waters of linguistic analysis...Essential."
D. A. Henningfeld, Choice
"David Crystal once again offers an incredibly learned overview of linguistic issues in an accessible, engaging, and thought-provoking book on Shakespeare … The book is invaluable, in that it is accessible, highly enjoyable both to the specialized reader and the broader audience; and in that it argues persuasively that it is impossible to get very far in appreciating Shakespeare if his language is not looked at within the context of early modern linguistic practices."
Iolanda Plescia, Memori Di Shakespeare
Not yet reviewed
Be the first to review
Review was not posted due to profanity×
- Date Published: March 2008
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521876940
- length: 268 pages
- dimensions: 224 x 144 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.46kg
- contains: 4 b/w illus. 2 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. 'You speak a language that I understand not': myths and realities
2. 'Now, sir, what is your text?': knowing the sources
3. 'In print I found it': Shakespeare graphology
4. 'Know my stops': Shakespearean punctuation
5. 'Speak the speech': Shakespearean phonology
6. 'Trippingly upon the tongue': Shakespearean pronunciation
7. 'Think on my words': Shakespearean vocabulary
8. 'Talk of a noun and a verb': Shakespearean grammar
9. 'Hear sweet discourse': Shakespearean conversation
Epilogue: 'Your daring tongue': Shakespearean creativity
Appendix: an A-to-Z of Shakespeare's false friends.
Find resources associated with this titleYour search for '' returned .
Type Name Unlocked * Format Size
This title is supported by one or more locked resources. Access to locked resources is granted exclusively by Cambridge University Press to instructors whose faculty status has been verified. To gain access to locked resources, instructors should sign in to or register for a Cambridge user account.
Please use locked resources responsibly and exercise your professional discretion when choosing how you share these materials with your students. Other instructors may wish to use locked resources for assessment purposes and their usefulness is undermined when the source files (for example, solution manuals or test banks) are shared online or via social networks.
Supplementary resources are subject to copyright. Instructors are permitted to view, print or download these resources for use in their teaching, but may not change them or use them for commercial gain.
If you are having problems accessing these resources please contact email@example.com.
Sorry, this resource is locked
Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email firstname.lastname@example.orgRegister Sign in
You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner www.ebooks.com. Please see the permission section of the www.ebooks.com catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.Continue ×
Are you sure you want to delete your account?
This cannot be undone.
Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.
If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.×