Our intriguing public lecture will be presented by the renowned linguist, Jonathan Culpeper, who has conducted extensive research on Shakespeare's language and its impact on English. With his expertise, he will guide us through the fascinating world of Shakespeare's language and provide valuable insights into its historical significance and modern-day implications. Don't miss the chance to learn from one of the foremost experts in the field.
Complimentary refreshments will be provided after the lecture.
Compared with the voluminous output of literary critics on Shakespeare’s works, linguists have not had much to do with Shakespeare’s language. But times are ripe for change. In this talk, Jonathan will reflect on both Shakespeare’s language and the English language, drawing on work undertaken as part of the AHRC-funded Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's Language project, a project that largely deploys corpus-based methods.
Having dispatched the small matter of what exactly is meant by “Shakespeare’s language”, he will first consider the role of Shakespeare’s language in shaping the study of the history of English, and especially its effect on the Oxford English dictionary, illustrating his points but with a brief discussion of compound words.
Next, Jonathan will turn to the perceived effect of Shakespeare’s language on the English language, concentrating on generally held myths, and especially the myth that Shakespeare created thousands of neologisms. He will briefly report the preliminary results of a study to get at the truth of this, along with the problems and issues it encountered.
Finally, Jonathan will report three studies probing different areas of Shakespeare’s language: affixes, words and grammar. He will dwell rather longer on the second of these, as there he will take the opportunity to introduce a new corpus-based dictionary of Shakespeare’s language and some of the insights it affords.
Jonathan Culpeper is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK. His research spans pragmatics, stylistics and the history of English, all of which he has pursued at some point through corpus methods.
His major publications include Early Modern English Dialogues: Spoken Interaction as Writing (2010, CUP; with Merja Kytö), Pragmatics and the English Language (2014; with Michael Haugh), and English Language: Description, Variation and Context (2018; lead editor).
He is currently leading the corpus-based the £1 million AHRC-funded Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's Language project, which will provide evidence-based and contextualised accounts of Shakespeare's language.

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