Shake it

I like this piece, but this portion just isn’t true. It is a common myth, however.

What’s more: the words that Shakespeare wrote didn’t sound at all the way they did in the early 17th century. If Shakespeare were performed today the way he was performed then, modern audiences wouldn’t even be able to make out words. It would be like listening to someone tell a story in Gaelic.

We actually have a fairly good idea of what Shakespearean-era English sounded like. And it sounded like this.

If you can understand a moderate Scottish accent, you can understand the above.

Hell, my native Southern accent is thicker and harder to understand for most people than Shakespearean-era English would’ve been, as my partner found out when she visited my natal area with me.

However, go back around 200 years and the English of the time would’ve been utterly incomprehensible.

The main reason is that Shakespeare wrote towards the end of the Great Vowel Shift so English pronunciation resembled its modern phonology fairly closely.

I’m a complete language and word nerd so this is something I’ve studied a lot.