Early Modern Pronunciation in practice: Hamlet
Kökeritz, H. Shakespeare’s pronunciation. New Haven, Conn: YaleUniversity Press, 1953.
Lass, Roger. “Phonology and morphology.” The Cambridge History ofthe English Language, Vol. 3, 1476-1776. Ed. Roger Lass. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Lass, Roger. “Shakespeare’s sounds.” Reading Shakespeare’s Dramat Language: a guide. Ed. Sylvia Adamson et al. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2001.
The Great Vowel Shift
The GVS was pretty well underway.
o ME /a:/ and /ai/ (mate, day) maybe not yet up to /e/
o say /sε:/
o ME /ε:/ <ea> not yet up to /i/
§ sea /sε:/ or more likely /se/
§ dream /drε:m/ or more likely /drem/
§ ME mid and high vowels had done their thing
o be /bi/, sleep /slip/, we /wi/
o to /tu/,
o nobler /nobl*r/
§ first element of diphthong a bit higher than in PDE, likely ‘schwa’
o mind> /m*Ind/, die /d*I/, by /b*I/, life /l*If/
o outrageous /*Ut-/, thousand /θ*Uzn(d)/, devoutly /dIv*UtlI>
In some dialects the (Fr>) diphthong spelled <oi> also /*I/ (so bile and boil rhyme)
o K. has coil /k*Il/
ME /U/: has it centered and unrounded yet to /^/? or does cut still rhyme with put?
o Lass says no, “the first solid evidence is from the 1640s”: so suffer is still /sUf*r/
o Kökeritz says yes (or at least that Shakespeare would have substituted a trendy London /^/ for his Warwickshire /U/): suffer is /s^f*r/
o lots of words affected by this: suffer, troubles, rub, come, shuffled, must, unworthy, grunt, under ...
<wh-> still /hw-/
§ whether /hwεð*r/
Is <gh> silent yet?
o Lass says optionally, Kökeritz says yes
o might /mIçt/ (or /mIht/); or /m*It/
Assibilation/palatalization (e.g. /sj/ -> /š/)
o /s, z/ earlier
o variation in 16th century, nearly complete by mid 17th century
§ evidence includes <shon> spellings
§ /ksj-/ in complexion, connection
§ /sju:/ in consume, assuredly
o /t, d/ later
o variation in 16th century
o but some C17th informants still have /tj/ and /dj/ in words like christian and fraudulent
That is the question: /tj*n/ or /čņ/?
§ Lass: “old and new forms coexisting in the same speech community”
§ Kökeritz goes for the “new”
o consummation /..mę:šņ/, patient /pęš*nt/
o question /kwεstčņ/
But the /-j-/ was an ‘intruder’ in words like fortune and natural (cf critter from creature) (Millward 252)
§ So Kökeritz has fortune as /-tIn/ and and natural as /-tr*l/
§ unstressed vowels: not necessarily ‘schwa’