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King Lear: Should We Translate Shakespeare into Modern English?

October 23, 2019 @ 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm
Wayland Library
5 Concord Rd Wayland MA

Shakespeare wrote his plays over 400 years ago. While it is estimated that about 80% of English grammar and vocabulary hasn’t changed much in last 400 years, some words and expressions have disappeared or changed meaning.  If you were transported to 17th century London, the locals would not be able to understand you, nor you them.

These changes can baffle, and worse, mislead, the modern playgoer. So should we translate Shakespeare into modern English?

Using examples from King Lear, Joel Angiolillo will trace some of the language changes that have occurred since 1605, discuss the pros and cons of translating Shakespeare, and give examples of how we could create such a translation.

Join us to learn how the language has evolved, and enhance your appreciation and understanding of King Lear.

King Lear is being performed by the Actors Shakespeare Company October 3-27 at the Chelsea Theater Works.

Joel Angiolillo holds a BA in linguistics from Amherst College and a PhD in Cognition and Communication from the University of Chicago. He applied his interest in how we understand and use speech as a telecommunications engineer at AT&T and Verizon.

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