A friend of mine pointed me to this great video in which David Crystal, a renowned British linguist and his son, Ben Crystal, actor and writer, explain how Shakespeare‘s plays performed in the accent that was in use at Shakespeare‘s time reveal many puns and jokes that are lost in modern pronunciation. Read more on Original Pronunciation (OP), on David Crystal’s dedicated website.
In this video, you will be able to listen to several excerpts from a few Shakespeare‘s plays in both modern and original pronunciations. Ben Crystal also explains how performing Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation affects his acting. You need not worry, although there are many differences between modern and original pronunciations, you will still be able to understand the plays performed in original pronunciation !
I strongly recommend David Crystal‘s The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, one of my favourite books. Whether you’d like to read about the origins and history of English, about the evolution of English grammar and vocabulary, or about the different uses of English, the book is a richly illustrated mine of information on all aspects of the English Language.
Thanks to Ken from Ireland for pointing me to this video.