The benefit of Shakespeare

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The benefit of Shakespeare

Postby cjhealey » Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:58 am

First of all, the following comedy sketch on youtube proved to be worthy of at the very least a chuckle. Especially for those who are familiar with Shakespeares work.


In today's modern society we are constantly looking for ways to make phrases shorter and expressions more expressionless.

In fact, this is happening so much so that even intelligent school students are lost to give you even 5, let alone 10 synonyms for the word 'big'.

I myself am one of those who often finds it difficult to utilise concise, clear examples of the english language. Yes, I do well in english, however, this is often the result of a significant amount of time on my part and impromptu examinations often prove problematic.

However, recently we have extended our course work, as is the case every year, to the literary fiend known as Shakespeare. We have been doing class readings of King Lear and I have found that in just a week or so, I am grabbing for words and phrase which hold a deeper conceptual connection to the expressed ideas.

Often, I will even find myself thinking in peculiar phrases and utilising less-than-common forms of expression which are subtly Shakespearian. Thoughts which strive to establish elegance where the mundane once dwelt.

All in all, I am quite fond of this deviation from the sterotypical forms of phrasing and speech, which has been kindled by Shakespeare.

I intend on making Shakespeare nightly reading because I feel that the sophistication of his phrasing and the conceptual richness of his dialogue have an enormous amount to proffer to the reader.

I think it is also the easiest way to extend your vocabulary because you get contextual meaning and positioning as well as the dictionary meaning.
'tis like the adage that the best way to learn a language is to spend time in a country which speaks it.

The best way to learn a sophistication and control of the english language and to emancipate yourself from contemporary usage of it, is to read (both verbally and mentally) that which fulfills such criteria, which in this case is Shakespeare.

Has anyone else found similar occurances arising from the reading of such literary texts?

I think more Shakespeare, Poe, etc needs to be taught and read at schools, right from the primary levels so that we can avoid a complete degradation of the English language to the point where, over time, we are once again grunting at each other.

Thanks for reading!
Chris :-)

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Postby aruffo » Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:43 pm

I'd have to agree with that. A parent recently told me that the local school's idea of teaching "reading" had become sending children home with vocabulary words to be memorized-- this, despite the fact that it's been shown that meaningful context is really what causes words to be, well, absorbed by learners.

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Postby cjhealey » Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:12 am

sending children home with vocabulary words to be memorized

That is the standard of teaching children in Queensland, Australia a vocabulary as far as i can tell.

And like you suggested, none of these students could create a meaningful sentence using the words. My nextdoor neighbour is currently in primary school and being taught that way...

And to be honest I have never heard a sentence out of her mouth that suggests that it has in anyway improved her vocabulary.
I don't mean this to be offensive to her, she is a bright child, but her vocabulary hasn't extended beyond the realm of casual speech and she has been doing those worksheets for months and years.

Schools' are failing their students and are making no attempt to improve this problem.

One other way in which to extend your vocabulary is through the use of writing poetry. Your normal, everyday vocabulary will often not cut it when it comes to writing decent poetry.

Chris :-)

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