Weird CD Alert: How Did Shakespeare Really Sound?

Sorry, fans of Game of Thrones and Shakespeare in Love.  That’s not how the English language sounded back then.  In fact, things were so different that it would sound almost like a foreign language to us.  Words were pronounced differently and there’s the matter of accent.

But how foreign?  This is something that’s puzzled linguistic scholars for a very long time.  How did the actors actually sound when delivering their lines from the stage at the Globe Theatre at the beginning of the 17th century?

A Shakespearean scholar named John Barton thinks he has it figured out.  Working with actors and other academics, he and the British library have created a CD featuring Shakespeare’s works in their original pronunciations.  Here’s a sample from Romeo and Juliet.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Weird CD Alert: How Did Shakespeare Really Sound?

  • March 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    That's exactly how I thought it would sound. Haven't most of us read Willy Shakes?


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