Friday, October 16, 2009

It Gets a Little Wordy


March, 2009

POLONIUS
What do you read, my lord?

HAMLET
Words, words, words.
Hamlet Act II, Scene II

When the children in The Shakespeare Club are given their scripts and we read through the play, I ask them to circle words they either do not understand or do not know how to pronounce.

When I work with them privately, we look at their circled words and address the problems.

And some days I get lazy.

SIR TOBY(loudly)
We are — politicians;
Malvolio's a — Peg O'Ramsey; and
(sings)
Three merry men we be!
Am I not consanguineous? Am I not of her blood?
Tilly-vally! 'Lady'!

William Shakespeare made up a lot of words that we use in regular speech today. So, shoot me when I supposed that "consanguineous" was one of his more fanciful concoctions and brushed it aside two times with two different kids before saying, "Hey, while we're here in the library, let's get a dictionary and just check if it's in there."

con⋅san⋅guin⋅e⋅ous adj. having the same ancestry or descent; related by blood

Sir Toby's line right after he uses "consanguineous" gives the definition.

"Oh, gee...would you look at that?"

I had to go into the next club meeting and fess up that I'd misled some people and was entirely incorrect when I tossed the word aside as an example of Sir Toby being silly.

I'm a believer in owning mistakes, but let me tell you, doing this in front of twenty-one little kids is face-burning agony.

"Oooooo, Ms, Ryane!"

"Ohhhh, you were so wrong!"

"Ms. Ryane...you blew that one!"

It's party-down when I make an error. It's a festival when I admit it. Imagine confetti pouring from the ceiling and cannons blasting...you get the idea.

"Consanguinity," a legal term, originated from 1595-1695. Shakespeare wrote "Twelfth Night" in 1601 and his use of the word might further indicate that he had some lawyerly education.

My ignorance would indicate that I do not.

Amazed before my critics and accusers, I was no longer pale-faced but blushing as they castigated my laughable, baseless, flawed, worthless and zany lapse.

I should be bumped downstairs to a bedroom, a gloomy worm-hole of accommodation, with a blanket and flea-bitten puppy-dog like a lonely bandit ranting in torture and championed for assassination*.

(*A few of the 2,000 words William Shakespeare made up.)


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
Shakespeare is fun. I like it because Shakespears words are so so pretty. I also like the plays romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Misdummers Night dream. Shakespeares words are so butiful and pretty did I mention that already. I joined the Shakespeare Club for two years because the shakespeare club sonded very fun.

—April, 4th grade

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