Early modern English (WAS: Re: Introduction from a new member)
- To Julian and Julienne, greeting!
I have thought for some time that I should revive and revise the
class I used to teach on speaking 16th-century English. Interest in
it in the Society tends to come and go, but I do think there are
folks interested, even though much of my own SCA experience is in
groups that don't spend their time "in persona" at events.
My own first exposure to it was at Renaissance Faire (one of the more
authentic ones, I hasten to say, not the kind that includes elves,
vampires and barbarians!) where the participants try to be "in
persona" anytime the public is present. I taught their English
classes there for a few years and have done so occasionally since. I
focus on documentable English, rather than "speaking forsoothly",
since they aren't necessarily interchangeable. Too many of the people
I run across are under the erroneous impression that excessive
floweriness of speech equals "period style" <sigh>.
Unfortunately for the learner, I can't recommend any of the Faire-
related resources out there (and there are lots!). Much of it is
based on hearsay, or hearing other people attempt to speak
"Elizabethan" English, rather than on any actual study. And Faire,
being its own "culture," has developed its own "lingo" over the
years, some of which is surprisingly close to 16th-century English
and some of which is far, far distant from anything authentic.
I can, however, recommend a couple of good books. They are both
textbooks, but the second one is fairly accessible reading --
unfortunately that's the one that's out of print. I'm told you can
still find it, though. The first is more academic but also quite
1. Early Modern English, by Charles Barber. 1997, Edinburgh
University Press. ISBN 0-7486-0835-4
(Probably the best easily available introduction.)
2. A Way With Words: The language of English Renaissance literature,
by Gert Ronberg. 1992, Edward Arnold, ISBN 0-340-49307-0.
(A bit livelier and easier to read than Barber; unfortunately out of
print, look for it used.)
I haven't had the time to contribute recently, but there is a group
on the Tribes network called "Faire-Spoken" <http://tribes.tribe.net/
fairespoken> that I'm sure would welcome you if you're interested.
There's also a group of people in the Barony of Carolingia (East
Kingdom) who had weekly workshops for part of last year in which they
both studied and spoke early modern English, and I was quite
impressed with how well they did (much better than most of what I've
heard at Faire).
O (Dame) Christian de Holacombe, OL - Shire of Windy Meads
+ Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
also known as
Christian Ashley, gentlewoman to Lady Stafford
Guild of St. George, Northern California