Posts Tagged ‘William Shakespeare’

Word power: the Times claims lead in OED influence

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  In this photo il...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The Daily Telegraph is pretty pleased with itself today – “You read it here first: words the Telegraph lexiconated”. But not as pleased as the Times – “You read it here first: The Times is biggest source for OED”.Both papers take the relaunch of the Oxford English Dictionary website – and new features listing all the sources for its 3m quotations, and the first written evidence of a word – as an opportunity to highlight their contribution to our mother tongue.

[….] Turns out the Times has more OED quotations than any other source – 36,204 to be precise, 1.16% of the total – ahead of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.In terms of first written evidence, the Times scores 1,634 – the fourth highest, behind Philosophical Transactions, Chaucer and 14th century translator John Trevisa.

via Word power: the Times claims lead in OED influence | Media |
The Telegraph has this to say:

From “ageist” (one who discriminates against another person on the basis of their age) to “zedonk” (the offspring of a male zebra and a female donkey), The Daily Telegraph is responsible for 251 words appearing in the august dictionary.
The paper has either coined them – thanks to a particularly imaginative or well-refreshed reporter – or, as is more often the case, been the first publication in the world to use the word in print.
It seems impossible to imagine living without such terms as “drink-driving”, “extradite”, “triathlon”, “alcopop” or “eco-friendly”, but according to the editors of the Dictionary, the great majority of people had never read them until they picked up their copy of The Daily Telegraph that morning.

Perhaps unrelated, but nevertheless interesting is the most popular story right now in the online edition of the paper, namely Eric Clapton’s former partner dedicates poem to Silvio Berlusconi. Read and Learn.

Strange Random Dictionary Quote:

“I am very sorry, but I cannot learn languages. I have tried hard, only to find that men of ordinary capacity can learn Sanskrit in less time that it takes me to buy a German Dictionary” – George Bernard Shaw (Irish literary Critic, Playwright and Essayist. 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1856-1950)

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William Burroughs shooting William Shakespeare

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment
Christiaan Tonnis ~ William S. Burroughs / Vid...

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Passed on to us by our good friends at the Club de Lectura Biblioteca Les Corts Miquel Llongueras, a 1995 video of author William S. Burroughs shooting at (a portrait of) William Shakespeare.

It’s not really clear why he would want to do this, but then again, many people have struggled to understand this author of the Beat Generation, famous among other works for his “cut-ups” both with spoken and printed word. On YouTube, you can also find him playing a cameo in the movie Drugstore Cowboy, alongside Matt Dillon, in a video with U2 and as part of a Nike commercial.

Strange Random William S. Burroughs Quote:

After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ‘I want to see the manager.’

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10 things to do on Saint George’s Day 2010

April 22, 2010 2 comments
Saint George by Gustave Moreau.

Here be Dragons ...

Tomorrow is St. George’s Day – soldier, martyr, patron saint of England, Catalonia, Genoa, Istanbul, Moscow and protector of saddle makers, shepherds, farmers, Boy Scouts and (perhaps strangely) people with several different diseases we prefer not to mention here. In total, more than 50 different reasons for celebrating a man who may not have existed according to some theories and if he did, certainly was not English (or Catalan, for that matter). But on with the suggestions!

  1. Find out about World Book and Copyright Day, linked to the Catalan tradition of giving books and roses for Sant Jordi.

    The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George‘s Day (also 23 April) in Catalonia, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia are at this time with over 400,000 sold and exchanged for over 4 million roses. In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.

  2. Read biographies of what is known and supposed about St. George  – Saints SQPNBBC
  3. See how depictions of George have changed over the centuries.
  4. Check out the Sydney Rugby League team St. George Illawarra Dragons
  5. See the famous speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V – Act 3, Scene 1 – that catapulted George to fame in English history or read the whole play.

    SCENE I. France. Before Harfleur.

    Alarum. Enter KING HENRY, EXETER, BEDFORD, GLOUCESTER, and Soldiers, with scaling-ladders


    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

    Or close the wall up with our English dead.


    The game’s afoot:

    Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

    Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

    Exeunt. Alarum, and chambers go off

  6. Visit the City of St. George, Utah
  7. Look at a satellite photo of St. George’s, Bermuda
  8. Find out about the Guild of St George, Interactive theatre company.
  9. See what the local Catalan government have lined up for Sant Jordi.
  10. Check out the latest collection by UK fashion house The Duffer of St. George.
  11. UPDATED 23/04/10Rob Hawley from the UK was kind enough to point out that we forgot to mention the 4th Skipton Beer Festival, which runs from the 22nd to the 24th. It is organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale and you can find more info here. Thanks Rob!

Strange Random St. George Quote:

“St George he was for England, / And before he killed the dragon / He drank a pint of English ale / Out of an English flagon.” G. K. Chesterton

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All the classroom’s a stage, as RSC helps bring Shakespeare to life | Education | The Guardian

The famous Droeshout portrait of William Shake...

Image via Wikipedia

Wednesday 10 March 2010 22.07

Eleven-year-olds are to learn Shakespeare using techniques employed by RSC actors, and English teachers will be encouraged to let pupils walk around the classroom rather than reading the plays while sitting at their desks.Exercises devised by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe theatre in London will see children aged 11 to 14 mirror the methods of professional actors at rehearsal. Written and oral assessments developed alongside the lessons will show how well students have understood the texts.

via All the classroom’s a stage, as RSC helps bring Shakespeare to life | Education | The Guardian.

Strange Random Shakespeare Quote:


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

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Hello, I Love You

February 12, 2010 2 comments

Romeo & Juliet comic by Classical Comics

To coincide with this weekend’s celebration in many countries of Saint Valentine’s Day, the website Grammar Man (specialising in English through the use of comics) presents a Classical Comics sample version of  Romeo and Juliet. You can find the complete balcony scene to view online or download as a pdf file and there are also question sheets available.

You can find it here.

If you prefer a more orthodox approach to Shakespeare, then you’ll probably hate the Reduced Shakespeare Company and their 10-minute version, so please DON’T WATCH IT.

Strange Random Romeo & Juliet Quote (or two):

Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 2.2

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Animated Shakespeare on YouTube (or not Tu be)

November 8, 2009 2 comments

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare via

Some years ago, BBC Wales made a series of animated Shakespeare stories in partnership with East European animators (if I remember rightly).

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Following a link from a friend, I was pleasantly surprised they were on YouTube, so here’s one of my favourites, A Midsummer Night’s dream. The whole of the episode is subtitled in English to make it easier to follow.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

See the YouTube Channel here

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