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Shakespeare’s Words

Found In: Language Arts, 9-12

Shakespeare’s Words is the online version of Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary & Language Companion by David Crystal and Ben Crystal. The site integrates the plays and poems with the Glossary, allowing users to search for words or phrases.

The plays are listed alphabetically and chronologically. Clicking a play title takes a user to the text of the play, which can be accessed page by page or by act and scene in the left margin. Problematic words are defined in the right margin. Other tabs reveal dramatis personae and a character circle (a Venn diagram associating characters in the play), a play synopsis, and an alphabetical list of all the glossary terms that appear in the play.

The poems are treated in a similar fashion. Tabs provide the text, details, and definitions.

The Glossary can be accessed separately. Clicking a word provides a sense or number of senses. Clicking a sense will produce a list of occurrences in the plays. Clicking the play citation will then take the user to the point in the text.

The Language Companion identifies:

  • frequently encountered words (FEW);
  • topics – grammar, pronunciation, and patterns of discourse of Early Modern English, as well as thematic groupings of vocabulary; and
  • themes – beings, times, place, and languages and dialects.

A special features section lists scene lengths for all the plays, and orders all characters, male characters, and female characters by part-size

Listed under the Home menu is the Portal. The Shakespeare Portal is the home site to David and Ben Crystal’s books on Shakespeare. The section has supplementary material, audio files, and links to related sites. Audio/Video Recordings  lets students hear Shakespearean excerpts in original pronunciation or OP.



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