The Secret Language of Shakespeare and How He Invented Over 1,700 Words

Shakespeare's influence on the English language cannot be overstated. His plays and poetry have not only entertained audiences for centuries but have also shaped the way we communicate today. One of the most fascinating aspects of Shakespeare's language is his ability to invent new words. In fact, he is credited with inventing over 1,700 words that are still in use today. This blog post will delve into the secret language of Shakespeare and explore some of the reasons behind his linguistic innovation.

Shakespeare's Linguistic Prowess

Shakespeare's plays are renowned for their rich and vibrant language. He had an uncanny ability to craft words that perfectly captured the essence of a character or a situation. From his tragedies to his comedies, his language was always a key element in conveying the depth and complexity of his stories. But what set Shakespeare apart was his willingness to venture beyond the boundaries of conventional language and create his own lexicon.

The Creation of New Words

Shakespeare's penchant for inventing words stemmed from his desire to capture the nuances of human experience. He often needed words that did not yet exist in the English language to convey the depth of his characters' emotions or to describe a particular situation. Instead of relying on existing vocabulary, Shakespeare fearlessly coined new words that served his artistic vision.

Some of Shakespeare's most famous inventions include "eyeball," "fashionable," "assassination," and "swagger." These words have not only stood the test of time but have also become an integral part of the English language. Shakespeare's creativity and linguistic prowess allowed him to shape the language in ways that no other writer had done before.

Words Borrowed from Other Languages

While Shakespeare was a master at inventing words, he also borrowed extensively from other languages. He drew inspiration from Latin, Greek, French, and Italian, among others, to enrich his vocabulary. By incorporating words from different languages, Shakespeare was able to add depth and complexity to his plays while also making them accessible to a wider audience.

For example, in his play "Hamlet," Shakespeare uses words like "per se" and "et cetera" to add a touch of sophistication and authenticity to the dialogue. These borrowed words not only serve to elevate the language but also provide insights into the cultural and intellectual milieu of Shakespeare's time.

The Influence of Shakespeare's Words

Shakespeare's linguistic inventions have had a profound impact on the English language. Many of the words he coined have become everyday vocabulary, seamlessly integrated into our conversations and writings. Words like "bedroom," "bump," "gossip," and "lonely" were all introduced by Shakespeare. These words have become so ingrained in our language that it is hard to imagine a time when they did not exist.

Shakespeare's words have also found their way into various fields of study. In medicine, terms like "fracture" and "obscene" can be traced back to the Bard himself. In the world of literature and drama, his words continue to inspire and shape the works of countless writers and playwrights.

The Legacy of Shakespeare's Language

Shakespeare's linguistic legacy extends far beyond the words he invented. His unique use of language, his mastery of poetic devices, and his complex wordplay have all had a lasting impact on literature and theater. His plays continue to be performed and studied around the world, and his words continue to resonate with audiences of all ages.

Shakespeare's language not only reflects the time in which he lived but also transcends it. His words have a timeless quality that allows them to resonate with audiences across centuries. Through his linguistic innovations, Shakespeare has given us a window into the human experience that is as relevant today as it was in the Elizabethan era.

Shakespeare's language is a testament to his genius and creativity. His ability to invent over 1,700 words and shape the English language is a feat that few writers can claim. Shakespeare's linguistic innovations have not only enriched our vocabulary but have also left an indelible mark on literature, theater, and even everyday conversation.

The secret language of Shakespeare continues to captivate and inspire. It reminds us of the power of words and their ability to shape our understanding of the world. As we continue to explore the works of Shakespeare, let us marvel at his linguistic prowess and appreciate the enduring legacy of his words.