Elizabethan Accent

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
I did take on Shakespeare's Prologue to Henry V in my best attempt at how the English accent would have sounded around 1600. We have pretty good evidence on how it would have sounded, though I don't think my attempt does the best justice at it. To my ears, it sounds a lot like the actor who played Hagrid in Harry Potter. :D

 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
Sounds like stereotypical Irish, Scottish and west country mixed together. Good value.

There's actually an island in the South East coast of the US where the inhabitants are said to have an accent close to the Elizabethan accent. The sociolinguistic theory is that they were secluded from the rest of the country, so their accents degraded very slowly. I think they're called "High Tiders"

 

DM60

Well-known member
Many people speculate Eastern US Mountain people kept much of their early accent from their original countries (England, Pennsylvania Dutch [Deutsch/German]). I would think this accent would be from the common people of that time, since the Blue Bloods didn't move into the mountains (land wasn't that good for growing) and I am sure they (Blue Bloods) spoke very different than common folk.
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
The idea that there was a universal English accent at any time in history is bloody ludicrous. Regionality would've been even MORE pronounced in those days, when the great majority not only didn't travel very far from their towns and villages, but there was no tv or anything similar to mix up the various accents. Sounds good, though. :D
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
The idea that there was a universal English accent at any time in history is bloody ludicrous. Regionality would've been even MORE pronounced in those days, when the great majority not only didn't travel very far from their towns and villages, but there was no tv or anything similar to mix up the various accents. Sounds good, though. :D

Well of course! But there's three good evidence we have. The first is written documents on how dramatists around the Globe talked about their pronunciation. The second is that rhymes worked in OP that don't work in modern English: "proved" and "loved" is one example. Also, some words like "invention" we know were pronounced differently because if I pronounce it as 3 syllables instead of 4, the iambic pentameter of the line is broken. I can never remember the third lol. :D

Anyway, this definitely isn't THE accent, but it's one. Thanks, though! :)
 

Btyre2013

New member
lol at this, it's NOTHING like english, it's more like irish and maybe drunken Irish, there's definitely some west country dorset accent in there too as steen said! :D hilarious.

I find it hard to believe that's how old English sounded in Elizabethan times
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
lol at this, it's NOTHING like english, it's more like irish and maybe drunken Irish, there's definitely some west country dorset accent in there too as steen said! :D hilarious.

I find it hard to believe that's how old English sounded in Elizabethan times

Technically, it's early modern English :D

It's only one type of renaissance accent, but a mixing pot of accents shouldn't be too surprising; however, the accents were undergoing rapid development. It didn't take too long to get from the early modern accent to the received pronunciation.
 

Btyre2013

New member
yeah it worries me to think that american english might actually be more english than UK english, maybe we lost our roots, our oirish roots
 

Bubba po

Tiny Stonehenge Moment
There's actually an island in the South East coast of the US where the inhabitants are said to have an accent close to the Elizabethan accent. The sociolinguistic theory is that they were secluded from the rest of the country, so their accents degraded very slowly. I think they're called "High Tiders"


That's just a degraded American brogue. No English licks in there at all!
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
Well, they do pronounce "five" like "fuh-ive" and "day" like "deh."

The pilgrims that traveled to America would have had similar accents to my recording, and based on the sociolinguistic theory, some traces of it are preserved within the High Tiders.
 

Btyre2013

New member
Well, they do pronounce "five" like "fuh-ive" and "day" like "deh."

The pilgrims that traveled to America would have had similar accents to my recording, and based on the sociolinguistic theory, some traces of it are preserved within the High Tiders.

mmmh well to me that's the very definition of southern ireland and how they speak,
 

DM60

Well-known member
I know a guy who was a professor of English studies (he retired) and he read a Christmas poem once in Old English, like 15th Century English. It was a cross between German, English and ??? It had not much in common with today's English. It was like a foreign language, and I am not just talking accent.
 

muttley600

Banned
Well, they do pronounce "five" like "fuh-ive" and "day" like "deh."

The pilgrims that traveled to America would have had similar accents to my recording, and based on the sociolinguistic theory, some traces of it are preserved within the High Tiders.

The Pilgrims came from many different parts of the UK (and elsewhere) and would have had many very very different accents and dialects. Even more distinct than they are today Those regional accents are totally different even these days... None are close to what is heard in that video. Very unlikely that any of them were back then either.. To me it's classic academia drivel I'm afraid.. Trying to make the foot fit the shoe happens a lot in academia..
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
The Pilgrims came from many different parts of the UK (and elsewhere) and would have had many very very different accents and dialects. Even more distinct than they are today Those regional accents are totally different even these days... None are close to what is heard in that video. Very unlikely that any of them were back then either.. To me it's classic academia drivel I'm afraid.. Trying to make the foot fit the shoe happens a lot in academia..

This is true, but some pronunciations are indisputable in the area around Shakespeare.

If "prove" can rhyme with "love" (many times by many different authors all throughout the renaissance), then we must look into how those words were pronounced differently today.

The first line of the prologue:

"O for a Muse of fire that would ascend [I messed up that first line :D]
The brightest heaven of invention"

The prologue was written in iambic pentameter, but if we pronounce "invention" like "in-vent-shun," with three syllables, the whole structure becomes broken, so we must give the word a fourth syllable "in-vent-she-un" as that is the only word where an extra syllable can logically fit. So, while my recording is far from a universal accent (and probably doesn't fit any one accent), there are certain aspects that we can pinpoint with accuracy for certain regions.
 

CrowsofFritz

Flamingo!
I know a guy who was a professor of English studies (he retired) and he read a Christmas poem once in Old English, like 15th Century English. It was a cross between German, English and ??? It had not much in common with today's English. It was like a foreign language, and I am not just talking accent.

Yeah, a professor I had did the same. I can remember what he read, but any English speaking person who's not studying Old English would have no idea what the hell he said.
 
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