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SunApr 23

Talk Like Shakespeare Day – April 23, 2023

Talk Like Shakespeare Day is on April 23, and gives us the chance to speak like one of the most influential playwrights of all time — William Shakespeare. We can speak like the ‘Bard of Avon,’ as he was also known as, by replacing basic words like you and they for ye and thee or thou. This fun day was created by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and officiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2009, and has been celebrated ever since.

History of Talk Like Shakespeare Day

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, and one of the most monumental figures in literature. He is popularly known as the greatest writer in the English language, the world’s greatest dramatist, and is often called the “Bard of Avon,” or simply, the Bard.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford Avon, Warwickshire on April 23, 1564. He got married to Anne Hathaway at the age of 18, with whom he shared three children. His career began sometime between 1585 and 1592 when he became a successful actor, writer, and owner of a playing company (a company of actors,) thus launching him into a successful playwriting career.

In his time, Shakespeare wrote many sonnets, plays, and narrative poems, primarily in the genres of comedy, history, and tragedy. However, some of his most popular and finest works in the English Language were tragedies, such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “Othello,” “King Lear,” and “Macbeth.” He retired around 1613 at the age of 49 and died three years after that.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater that created Talk Like Shakespeare Day was built in 1921 and originally showed motion pictures as well as live performances. The theater organizes as many as 20 productions and 650 performances each year and has been honored by national and international awards, as well as leaders in the field. In 2009, they created this day which was inspired by Talk Like a Pirate Day, to honor the great playwright.

William Shakespeare used a distinct manner of speech in all his plays, mainly to entertain, and although his works highly influenced the English language his writing did not reflect the actual way people spoke during that time.

Talk Like Shakespeare Day encourages us to get in touch with our inner Bard, and appreciate the linguistic imagination of this pioneer.

Talk Like Shakespeare Day timeline

1564
The Bard is Born

William Shakespeare is born on April 23 in Stratford Avon, Warwickshire.

1589 — 1591
The First Play

Shakespeare’s earliest work, “Henry VI, Part 2” is written.

1986
A Shakespeare Theater

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater is renovated.

2011
The Proclamation

Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois also proclaims April 23 as Talk Like Shakespeare Day.

Talk Like Shakespeare Day FAQs

How many words do we use today that Shakespeare invented?

William Shakespeare is credited with the invention or introduction of over 1,700 words that are still used in English today.

What is Shakespeare's most performed play?

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is Shakespeare’s most performed play, accounting for over 7% of all productions.

What does ‘tis’ mean in ‘Shakespearean’?

Shakespeare substituted ‘it’ with the letter ‘t’ in his writing. So the word ‘tis’ simply stands for ‘it is,’ just as t’was stands for ‘it was.’

How To Celebrate Talk Like Shakespeare Day

  1. Talk like the Bard

    Have a laugh by imitating the way the Bard wrote his dialogue. If you’ve read or come across any of Shakespeare’s plays, you would know that isn’t an easy feat. Try these easy tricks; replace ‘it’ with the letter ‘t’ so that ‘it is’ becomes ‘tis, and ‘it will,’ t’will. Also, you could add ‘eth’ at the end of verbs, such as ‘runneth,’ ‘falleth,’ and so on.

  2. Read some Shakespeare

    Another great way to celebrate the day is to read one of his works. Although his books can be challenging, there are numerous works of Shakespeare that make for an easy read such as “A Midsummer Night's Dream”.

  3. Watch a production

    Not a fan of reading? That’s okay because many of Shakespeare’s works have been transformed into screenplays. There are various renditions of “Romeo and Juliet,” that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

5 Interesting Facts About Shakespeare You Didn’t Know

  1. His wife to be was much older

    Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, was eight years his senior and three months pregnant with their first child when they got married.

  2. He wasn’t sure of his last name either

    William Shakespeare spelled his last name in more than 80 different ways, and always used abbreviations in signatures.

  3. He wore an earring

    In one of the most famous depictions of Shakespeare, he is sighted with a gold hoop earring in his left ear.

  4. His dad had a lot of jobs

    Shakespeare’s dad was originally a glove maker but held many odd jobs including being paid to drink beer.

  5. He put a curse on his grave

    On his epitaph, Shakespeare inscribed a curse to whoever moved him from his final resting place.

Why We Love Talk Like Shakespeare Day

  1. It’s a day to have fun

    Talk Like Shakespeare Day allows us to explore our quirky side by doing something different. While having fun we also learn to appreciate the intricacies of the English language.

  2. It’s a chance to learn

    Shakespeare’s speech is one of the oldest and most difficult ways to speak. Today gives us the unique opportunity to challenge ourselves and acknowledge the evolution of language.

  3. It’s a great way to honor Shakespeare

    Talk Like Shakespeare Day presents an amusing way to celebrate one of the greatest writers of all time. He is responsible for a lot of the literary foundations we enjoy today and deserves our gratitude.

Talk Like Shakespeare Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 23Sunday
2024April 23Tuesday
2025April 23Wednesday
2026April 23Thursday
2027April 23Friday

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