Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Americans preserved British English
How did British people in Shakespeare’s time speak English? Like any other language, people in those days spoke English differently from modern times. Then, do modern-day British maintain the traditional way of speaking English more than those on the other side of the ocean?
Most languages change or evolve as time goes on, especially when people hear voices through radios and TVs and also when they travel and move from place to place more often. So modern British English sounds quite different from the one their great ancestors spoke. But interestingly, some of the pronunciation believed to have been used in old times is still heard in some places of America. Linguists think old language could have been kept unchanged in isolated places where interactions with outside world are rare. In other words, preserved.
It’s noteworthy that it was the 16th century when the English Bible, Elizabeth I’s letter and Shakespeare’s works were first printed in England. In those days, the spelling of English wasn’t that standardized but rather reflected how the words would have been pronounced. It is also thought that nobles, including the queen and the kings, didn’t seem to have spoken like present-day posh English.
Enjoy reading and learning how a language could have changed and kept.