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Learn from the Master: Incorporate Shakespeare into your English Lessons

From Daniela, published on 04/08/2017 Blog > Languages > ESOL (English) > Learn English with Shakespeare

Everyone has heard of the English language as “Shakespeare’s language”.

It’s clear that Shakespeare must have had a unique skill for the lingo.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to follow in his footsteps. 

Read this article very carefully because you will learn a lot of new information on the English language, which will give you a head start to learn English.

Studying Shakespeare’s language is not just interesting, but it can also be extremely fun!

Shakespeare’s language is the most widely spoken language: 400 million people have English as their mother tongue and 750 million speak it as their foreign language. So, it’s pretty normal to want to be a pro at English! 

But, the question is, what really is Shakespeare’s language?

Can we learn English through Shakespeare’s playwrights? 

Are there any teachers who are experts in Shakespeare’s theater and literature?

Learning English Words with Shakespeare

William Shakespeare introduced between 1700-2200 words to the English language, but experts are still struggling to believe this fact. But, it is clear that he has had a great impact on English lessons today and all things to do with vocabulary, grammar and anything to do with the history of the English language!

The best way to learn English is by visiting an Anglophone country and reading Shakespeare's playwrights Dive into the English language by reading Shakespeare’s playwrights Photo Via Visual Hunt

You must remember the words you used to invent with your friends when you were younger! 

Well, Wiliam invented over 2000 words! This figure is pretty impressive, and even more impressive that most of these words are still used today.

It is a known fact that only 5% of the words that Shakespeare used are no longer used nowadays. So, why are we always told to learn the language through Shakespeare’s plays dating back to the 16th century? Why should we learn old English?
For example, in 2014, thousands of parents named their new born children, “Olivia”. Fun fact: Shakespeare was the first person to spell this name this way by naming one of his characters in the play, Twelfth Night, Olivia. 

With more than 1.5 billion English speakers, English is the most widely spoken language.

Discover the weird and wonderful world of British cuisine.

Shakespeare’s English Words and Expressions

William Shakespeare has done a lot more than just bringing his stone to the Edifice of the English language. He has also influenced the British culture.

It is certain that you will definitely find the words that Shakespeare created in contemporary English.

This is a perfect way to improve your English pronunciation and your level in the language. What is the best way of mastering the art of the English language? Immerse yourself in English books! 

This is why learning the English language is so interesting. You can look at it as a way of learning English literature. Here are a few examples, that I’m sure you will learn in your intense English lessons:

  • Heart of gold”
  • Wild-goose chase” (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Faint-hearted” (Henry IV part I)
  • Brave new world” (The Tempest)
  • Break the ice” (The Taming of the Shrew)
  •  “For goodness’ sake”
  • ” Foregone conclusion”
  • Love is blind”

Some of these expressions are also used in many other languages, such as in French. For example, the word “manager” is more or less used in every language.

Discover the most famous English quotes used throughout the world.

The Changing Meaning of English Words

Be careful of the false friends! Over the years, many words have evolved and their meanings have changed.

Before attending your English lessons, you should familiarise yourself with the following list. You’ll definitely impress your English teacher! Here are 11 words that were once used in Shakespeare’s playwrights, that have a different meaning today:

  1. Revolve » once meant “be careful”, but nowadays, it means “turn”.
  2. Wherefore » was once a synonym for “why”, but nowadays it means, “where”.
  3. Naughty » once meant “nasty” and “immoral”. Nowadays it means “naughty”.
  4. Stand on ceremony » once meant “superstitious”. Nowadays it means “have good manners”.
  5. “Quick », nowadays means “fast”. But, in the 16th century, it means “lively”.
  6. “Weird », as you are aware, this word means “bizarre” or “strange”. But in Shakespeare’s time, it meant “fatality”.
  7. “Prodigies, nowadays means, “prodigies”. But, before it meant “non-natural events”.
  8.  “Minion » is not only the name of the famous cartoon, but before it meant “slave”.
  9. Quaint » is nowadays a synonym of “seducing” or “charming”. But, in Shakespeare’s time, it meant “competent”.
  10. “To the manner born », nowadays means “naturally at ease”, but for Shakespeare, this expression meant “being well trained”.
  11. Unthrifty”, nowadays means “a big spender”, but many centuries ago, it meant “bad”. 

According to Shakespeare, this is the best way to learn English: familiarise yourself with the different meanings of Shakespeare’s vocabulary. 95% of the words used by William Shakespeare over 400 years ago are still used today, some have even changed their meanings, which is why we call Shakespeare’s English: “Old English”.

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Immerse Yourself into the English Language

With around 37 theater pieces and 154 sonnets, William Shakespeare has played a massive influence on the English language.

The best way to learn English is by visiting England! Photo Via Visual Hunt

So, you will find many intensive English courses in the United Kingdom that concentrate on Shakespeare’s playwrights. There are many students who seek to learn English (all things to do with grammar, expressions, words, pronunciation, reading comprehension and the alphabet) in all four corners of the United Kingdom.

And whilst you’re there, taste the English gastronomy!

If you’re interested in becoming bilingual and learning Shakespeare’s language, there is no better place to do so than in the United Kingdom! Many English teachers are waiting for you! 

But don’t worry, if you can’t pay a visit to the Kingdom, you can still participate in many online courses on Shakespeare.

The United Kingdom is the most common destination for English language learners

Where and how should you learn English? When it’s time to choose where you fancy learning English, the choice is vast.

London is the top destination for English language learners Travel to London to immerse yourself in Shakespeare’s language! Photo Via Visual Hunt

Nowadays, we are fortunate to live in a world where we can travel easily. So, let’s have a look at the different possibilities where you can speak English abroad.

Of course, there is the United Kingdom, while this country is still in the EU, make the most of your visit and book quickly! 

Secondly, to live the American Dream, pay a visit to the USA and immerse yourself into their culture, participate in English language classes, get to know their different accents and pronunciation. There is also Canada, Australia, and New Zealand! There is literally no excuse to not visit an Anglophone country!

50% of English language students travel to the United Kingdom to participate in English classes.

Now you have seen there are many Anglophone countries. Whilst the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand seem like fun and interesting places to visit, the United Kingdom is definitely the best place to learn English. There is nothing better than speaking English with a beautiful British accent.

Most of the foreign English language learners opt for teachers from the following countries:

  • England,
  • Northern Ireland,
  • Scotland,
  • Wales.

But, why would such a large majority choose the UK?

It could be because the UK speak such a sophisticated English, and it is home to the Queen, of course! We cannot deny that the British English is so rich and is like music to our ears: its vocabulary, its pronunciation, its words, its syntax, and its expressions all participate.

When it is time to learn English, the majority of students turn to watching and reading English playwrights. And as you can see, Shakespeare’s heritage is still alive today.

It is obvious that, nowadays, Europe attracts many international students. As you don’t need a visa to travel in Europe, the French, the Spanish, the Russians and the Germans all sway themselves towards Europe. 

The culture, pop-culture, the history, and the wild night life, of course, participate to attracting foreign students! Learning the English language, in England or in London, is, of course, a lot more fun. 

English Lessons Without Shakespeare Are Not Complete

Shakespeare has had a profound impact on the English we speak today, studying his work is an important part of the English culture and language.

Learning English is not just useful and fascinating, but it’s also a lot of fun. 

Herman Melville, William Falkner, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Charles Dickens have strongly been influenced by Shakespeare. He even led George Steiner to conclude that the English romantic poets were “slight variations of Shakespearean themes.

London is the top destination for English language learners There is no place like London! Photo Via Visual Hunt

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