What would happen if we all spoke the way Shakespeare wrote? Would we fall in love more deeply and seek revenge more swiftly? Today just might be the day to find out. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially named this 448th birthday of Shakespeare, April 23, 2012, "Talk Like Shakespeare Day" (it's not the first time) in conjunction with Chicago's Shakespeare Theater, reminding us of The Bard's contribution of more than 1,700 words and phrases to the English language, "including but not limited to 'lackluster,' 'eyeball' and brevity is the soul of wit.'"
How does one begin apeing The Bard himself? Fear thee not! There are a handy set of guidelines for Talk Like Shakespeare day that go as follows (more detailed instructions here):
- Instead of you, say thou or thee (and instead of y’all, say ye).
- Rhymed couplets are all the rage.
- Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.
- Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.
- Don’t waste time saying "it," just use the letter "t" (’tis,t’will, I’ll do’t).
- Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns.
- When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).
- To add weight to your opinions, try starting them withmethinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.
- When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!"
- When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.
A number of comedians have filmed videos for the occasion, to show you how it's done if you still need a little guidance (vote for your favorite here).
The idea is catching on well outside of Chicago. According to Broadway World, celebrations have been planned as far away as Armenia, where a movement is underway for the inclusion of "Shakespearean" as an official language option on Facebook, alongside "Pirate."
WATCH Bleeting Heart Production's film for Talk Like Shakespeare Day, on the dangers of Shakespeare:
Check out where Shakespeare's been in the news of late:
In this undated theater image released by Brooklyn Academy of Music, Simon Callow performs in "Being Shakespeare" a new play by Jonathan Bate presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music at the BAM Harvey in New York. (AP Photo/Brooklyn Academy of Music, Stephanie Berger)
Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall speak with a local theatre troupe that carries Prince Hamlet during a visit to Kronborg Castle, where Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" is set, in Elsinore, Denmark, on Monday, March 26, 2012.
Tourists walk in the gradens of William Shakespeare's birthplace on April 10, 2012 in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. With only a few months to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Britain's tourist industry is hoping to benefit from the influx of athletes, officials and visitors. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Kevin Kline will play Romeo opposite Meryl Streep's Juliet for a one-night-only staged reading of Shakespeare's play in Central Park. The Public Theater said Tuesday that Streep and Kline will combine on June 18 to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Shakespeare in the Park series. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, file)
Actors plays scenes from Shakespeare to tourists in the garden of William Shakespeare's birthplace on April 10, 2012 in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. With only a few months to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Britain's tourist industry is hoping to benefit from the influx of athletes, officials and visitors. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Artist Tom de Freston sits with his painting entitled 'Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia', based upon Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet and commissioned by the British Shakespeare Association, in the Pallant House Gallery on March 6, 2012 in Chichester, England. The work, which is officially unveiled on March 9, 2012, coincides with 2012 being the year of the World Shakespeare Festival. Contemporary history painter Tom de Freston's paintings often are inspired by subjects from drama and literature. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Dancers of the Badora Dance Company perform on the stage of the National Dance Theatre in Budapest on December 20, 2011 during their rehearsal of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', choreographed by Hungarian Dora Barta. ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Mariano Andrade, US-art-theater Members of the New York Classical Theatre Company act at Battery Park in New York on July 19, 2011, during a performance of William Shakespeare's play Henry V. The audience takes part in the play as soldiers of King Henry V as they board their ship at the park to 'invade France.' The plays runs though July 24. Photo by Mariano Rolando Andrade/AFP/Getty Images
A woman dressed up as a clown looks at the stage before performing in 'The Winters' Tale' by Shakespeare in front of the National Theatre during the 9th World Shakespeare congress in Prague on July 18, 2011. Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images
French comedian Lorant Deutsch performs an adaptation of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' play by William Shakespeare, directed by Nicolas Briançon on June 9, 2011 at the Chateau du Plessis-Macé, near the French western city of Angers, as part of the opening of the Festival d'Anjou.