Talk like Shakespeare Day- April 23

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day? Come to think of it you might be looking more like a green eyed monster. No time to figure it out, because we have a birthday to celebrate! Today, in honor of William Shakespeare’s birth, it is talk like Shakespeare day! April 23 is commonly accepted as the birthday of the English poet and playwright. (There actually isn’t a record of his birth, just his baptism.) As a result of this fine fettle, we embrace our inner performer and go on with the show!

For today doth shine brighter than that of the sun! Step out of thy comfort zone and into thee limelight, for all the world is a stage!

A cartoon image portraying a scene from Hamlet with an actor holding up a skull. The large speech bubble serves as the text overlay and reads: You talk like Shakespeare more often than you realize.

What did Shakespeare invent?

English as we know it has no greater influence than Shakespeare. In fact you most likely already talk like Shakespeare more often than you realize. Not only did he write 39 plays, 154 sonnets, 3 narrative poems and other works, Shakespeare is credited with inventing words and phrases that are common in the English language today. For example, the one used above: All the world is a stage – this comes from his play – As You Like it, Act 2 Scene 7.

A few others I bet you would recognize:

All that glitters is not gold (The Merchant of Venice)

For goodness’ sake (Henry VIII)

It smells to heaven (sometimes said, smells to high heaven) (Hamlet)

Kill with kindness (Taming of the Shrew)

The Oxford dictionary gives Shakespeare credit for being the first to use, seemingly inventing, almost 500 words.

Many of these common phrases are considered idioms. One of my FAVORITE subjects to teach! I absolutely love figurative language!

The first Knock Knock Joke

Two cartoon children having a Knock Knock Joke exchange. Knock Knock. Who's There? Shakespeare. Shakespeare who? The one that invented the knock-knock-who's-there exchange!

He may even have told the world’s first Knock Knock JOKE!

The first time a Knock-Knock , Who’s there exchange was documented happens to be in Act 2, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. While this was not intended to be funny, the way we use the jokes today, it did create a trend among theater goers of knocking on one another’s doors! I believe we can give credit where credit is due, and admit Shakespeare was simply ahead of his time.

Knock, knock! Who’s there, i‘ the name of
Beelzebub? Here’s a farmer, that hanged

himself on the expectation of plenty: come in
time; have napkins enow about you; here
you’ll sweat 

Knock, knock! Who’s there, in the other devil’s
name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could
swear in both the scales against either scale;
who committed treason enough for God’s sake,
yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come
in, equivocator.

Act 2, Scene 3  Macbeth William Shakespeare
decorative image of a cartoon Shakespeare that reads: 7 ideas for celebrating Talk Like Shakespeare Day April 23.

Ways to Celebrate National Talk Like Shakespeare Day

  • If ‘t be true thee just wanteth to has’t some excit’ment, tryeth this online English to Shakespeare translat’r!
  • Simply type in your sentence, and it “translates” it to Old English style.
  • You can also have everyone in your circle of influence talk in an English accent
  • Adding the letters -eth to verbs is a very Shakespearean thing to do. You can hiketh up the hill. or Layeth on the bed. It may make a bit of a spelling nightmare, but we are TALKING like Shakespeare, not spelling like him!
  • Thou and thee were used under the same circumstance we use the word you. Thou might want to replaceth it for fun.
  • Look at the list of words Shakespeare is credited with Inventing . You can also download our FREE vocabulary study pages to complete a word study on your favorites. When Shakespeare was doing his writing, grammar, spelling, and the way words were pronounced didn’t follow a common set of rules the way they do now. Maybe you can invent a word or two!
Product cover for the Homeschool Holiday free vocabulary word study. Clicking on the image brings the reader to the homeschool holiday store where the set of worksheets can be downloaded for free.
  • You could also celebrate by taking a closer look at the idioms Shakespeare invented. I created an easy to use slide presentation with 6 common idioms from Shakespeare that learners can illustrate. There is an easy to understand definition of idiom. Each sample is used in a sentence to increase understanding. The resource comes with a link to an original Homeschool Holiday video with Mrs. Crabtree (wait, that’s me!) Teaching the lesson!

Here is a sneak peek at the lesson. The downloadable resource contains a full 8+ minute video lesson.

Product cover for the Homeschool Holiday resource: Idioms in Shakespeare. Clicking on the image takes you to the Homeschool Holiday Store where the item can be purchased.
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