Friday, 7 September 2012

Bardising Facebook With a Click

Talk Like Shakespeare Day
(image created by C. L. Washbrook)
It's day 7 of Shakestember month here on What's It All About, Shakespeare and, today, I'm handing the blogging baton to Annie Martirosyan and Clare Washbrook from Talk Like Shakespeare. Take it away girls...

By Jove! It’s all a bit much isn’t it folks? We’re all happily reciting Hamlet in the shower when all of a sudden there’s a big bad wolf sliding down the chimney bellowing about imposters.  Anonymous?  Zounds!  He’s not the historically invisible man and nor is he a fork-tongued gibberer whom nowt but the boffins can comprehend. 

Shakespeare’s language has always been an issue for many people and expressions like “struggle one’s way through Shakespeare” are often heard. His language has been overstated as “difficult”, “incomprehensible” and “impenetrable”. This has resulted in modernisation, abridgement and translation of Shakespeare’s plays and poems with a goal to make him accessible to a wider audience.

The bias some people have about Shakespeare’s language being too “highbrow” and “upper class” to be up an “ordinary” reader’s street has had a part in the rising of the so-called “authorship controversy”. You will more than once have heard ignorant  pronouncements like “How could a glover’s son with a mere grammar schooling use such elaborate language or be aware of foreign politics, of court and the literary traditions of the classics?!”

Talk Like Shakespeare was born from the belief that we could put away the notion that Shakespeare is “difficult” if we could convey how much of it every Englishman from child to Professor already knows and uses in their everyday mundane kitchen table discourse.  Shakespeare’s language was brewed in the same cauldron that gave rise to our modern English and we, with our hearts ablaze with passion for the twisting tongue that gave us words like “bedroom” and “alligator” believe that we can all come together to make this happen. Understanding of and reading his works in *his English* is vital for appreciating the plays and poems and as relevant to the dramatic meanings Shakespeare intended, as is the obvious truth that none but he could have written his works.

Talk Like Shakespeare Day is a project to introduce Shakespearean as a Facebook “language”. To get permission from the Facebook administration to work with their settings, we need to have at least 1000 fans to support our cause (that is how large the Pirate English page was when they launched the venture).

The quest certainly will not cause further alienation from Shakespearean as a “language” on its own as some people might confusedly assume. People will in fact see how very familiar and applicable Shakespeare’s language is; and the more we engage with Shakespeare’s tongue, the more we become endeared to it. And what else if not a populated social networking site, like Facebook, could be an opportunity to spread and familiarise the Bard’s tongue!

We are impatient to “translate” – bardise is, mayhap, a better word – the many phrases and words for Facebook. The quest targets educational goals as well as aims to give a firm presence to Shakespeare within a social communication medium that should be fun for academics, students, newcomers in Shakespeare and for everyone who loves the Bard alike. Pray ye, lovers, LIKE the Talk Like Shakespeare Day FB page and spread the word about our Bardic quest.

…We are used to encountering Shakespeare, on page or on stage, sung or recited – the 21st century technology now avails us an opportunity to engage in an even more intimate interaction with a language so simple and complex to have shuffled the canon we love through 400 years!

If you'd like to learn more about Talk Like Shakespeare - and, let's face it, who doesn't? - be sure to visit the website. To join the campaign for Shakespearean as a 'language' on FB, be sure to like the Facebook page, and to keep updated with all Talk Like Shakespeare news, follow the Twitter profile.

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