Shakespeare Week is an annual national celebration to bring Shakespeare and his work to life for Primary School children.
For Shakespeare Week 2019, we’re sharing five facts about William Shakespeare that you might not have heard:
1. Shakespeare has been translated into more than 80 languages
Shakespeare’s work has been translated into every major living language, as well as fictional languages such as Klingon and Esperanto.
2. The longest word in Shakespeare is honorificabilitudinitatibus
Honorificabilitudinitatibus appears in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost” and is also the longest word in the English language that uses alternating vowels and consonants.
3. Shakespeare’s work was not protected by copyright
Copyright did not appear in the UK until 1710, so Shakespeare had to carefully guard his scripts. So that actors couldn’t take his work to rival theatre companies, they often weren’t given full scripts and had to prepare their own lines based on cues.
However, publications and adaptations of his work are protected by copyright.
4. Shakespeare introduced around thousands of new words to the English language (according to the Oxford Dictionary)
William Shakespeare was extremely inventive when it came to words and came up with thousands of new words by borrowing from other languages, changing nouns into verbs, adding prefixes. These include words that we use daily, like ‘fashionable’, ‘manager’ and ‘uncomfortable’, among many others.
5. Shakespeare was an unintentional plagiarist
We have different ideas around what is considered original work today than they did in Shakespeare’s day. In his lifetime, retelling familiar tales was expected. As a result, Shakespeare borrowed heavily from earlier European narratives and reworked well-known stories. For example, Plutarch was a key source for most of Shakespeare’s Histories, and Giovanni Boccaccio was a key source for several of his Comedies.
You can find a list of his main sources here.