I wonder about people who can read Shakespearean language.Why did they spend so much time learning Shakespeare when they could have been studying something useful? Snobbery is about the only reason I can come up with.
Another reader thought practicality should come first.
It’s doubtful if most employers need or desire their employees to be capable of speaking in Shakespearean phrases.
Here’s another from someone with an e-mail suggesting he works for a California school district. Not as an English teacher, I suspect.
Sorry to have to tell you that this science major does not share your view about the value of liberal studies—especially shakespear. As an adult returning to complete my degree, I nearly ‘choked’ when I came across ‘required’ subjects that were supposed to broaden my horizons. It got so bad that I became beligerant to the point of almost being asked to leave; but I had to keep questioning why-oh-why is this required for a computer major? (I am now in my 50’s and still do not read novels or go to operas—this does not make me bad, just different. Oh, by the way, my poor life is not deprived because I simply don’t understand any of it).
I paid for my education, out of my own pocket. All I could do in ‘those’ classes was calculate the cost of each minute until an instructor made the mistake of calling on me in front of the class. It seems he had written a poem on the board. The poem was somehow comparing a B17 in WWII to a woman giving birth when it released its’ bombload (or at least that is what the navigator of this plane was writing about). When asked what I thought, I replied:” If I was the pilot in a wartime, killing situation, and my navigator was doing this kind of nonsense, I would turn the controls over to the copilot, pull out my .45, shoot the S.O.B., then throw him out with the bombs”. Needless to say, the class laughed and the instructor asked me to stay after class. Before he could say anything, I stuck my face right into his and said:”The college got their money; you can’t hurt my GPA; you give me a C and you will never see me again”. He said:”DEAL”.
I did something similar in linguistics, though with a bit more subtlety.
A chemist writes:
If I gave my next seminar to our customers in “Shakespearean English”, do you think I would be praised for my strong grasp of the language or simply fired? My guess would be the latter. I couldn’t stand Shakespeare in high school or college, but now that it has been translated into a language that someone can actually USE in the real world, maybe I’ll read some too.
By the way, I do acknowledge that much like Latin, there are certain people (historians, language scholars) who would actually find understanding dead languages useful. But for the rest of us…
Shakespeare’s English is a dead language? Most high school students read a few Shakespeare plays in the original, with help from footnotes, and enjoy it. More or less. The question is whether those who can’t read real Shakespeare should be given simplified Shakespeare, or should we stop pretending and give them a nice, easy, modern author. And admit poor readers are not on track for college success.