Sunday, January 31, 2010

That is the question

In school, I had problems remembering correct Shakespeare's surname spelling. I always tried to make it more logical and harder to forget - well, you know, Shakespear is the one who shakes his spear (uhm, celebrating his victory in a fight where he used the spear to win, probably?). Anyway, that was pretty easy but the closing "e" was lost from the pattern, generating mistakes.

But yesterday I discovered that my way to spell it wasn't so wrong:

Then, I was able to search for both spellings to unveil the reason of those variant readings:

Elizabethan spelling was very erratic by twentieth-century standards, though it was not (as is sometimes stated) totally without rules. Even the simplest proper names were spelled a variety of ways, but we can at least look at the range of different spellings used for a given name and see what patterns emerge.

Oh, that was exactly my dream on Grammar lessons!

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