aining proficiency in
Elizabethan English (or any language!) requires repetition and
practice. These drills were designed by Julie St. Germaine for
the RPFI Washer Women. Repeat the sentences out loud, stressing each
- the nasal a (pronounced like the "ah" in apple) (Mpg)
(aif c) (Au):
father, i want to wash i' the water with margaret gardener.
art thou walkin' and talkin' with arthur and martha martin?
- the o sound (pronounced "uh" as in shove):
mother, brother doth want another brother verily much; but
with such a brother, heaven above, give us not another!
- the ow and oo blend (pronounced "owoo" as in owl)
(Mpg) (aif c) (Au):
how now, brown cow? a lousey mouse now i' the house doth be
down with the sow by the plow. thou sour cow!
- the uh and ee blend (pronounced "uhee" like spice)
(Mpg) (aifc) (Au):
my, thy fly doth fly high, cy. by and by my fly shall be
thy fly. i sigh and be like to die o' delight! the fly is
- the short a and e blend (pronounced "eh" like said)
(Mpg) (aif c) (Au):
make the baker bake a cake that i might take. hast thou
- long a and long e blend (pronounce "ea" like the a in
see, she doth be belove'd o' lee stream. she seems
please'd. he seizes secret delights. she leaps under
- pronouncing "ed" (pronounce it as an extra full
he turne'd, stoppe'd, and aske'd "art thou angere'd?" she
leane'd towards him and vowe'd his death, then walke'd and
talke'd no more. had he tarrie'd they might be marrie'd.
now he doth be burie'd. they were kille'd and trappe'd by
hate, carrie'd away by evil.
- the "zh" sound (pronounce "sure" as "zhure"):
a measure o' pleasure doth be an earthly treasure. leisure
doth be another measure o' pleasure.
- special words:
*surely* (ssurely, not shurely), *william* (willam) drake's
father shall *ne'er* (drop the v) have the *patience*
(pa-c-ience) or *affection* (a-ffect-c-ion) to take
pleasure i' bein' *married* (marr-i-ed) now. sin' he doth
be *perfection* (per-fect-c-ion), i *assure* (a-ssure, not
a-shure) the his wife wants thy pity. a vile *association*
(a-ssoc-i-a-c-ion) without *gratification*
(grat-if-i-ca-c-ion) for either.
- more drill and special words:
where? o'er there! ne'er! thou are vile and lousey! take up
thy wash thou poxy water-braine'd baudstrot!
- the oo sound (pronounced like a cross b/t "ooom" and
"um"...sort of swallow the sound in the back of your
take comfort and come from thy dumb sorrow. thou hast a
bumpy lump on thy hump good hunchback. come! but nay! come,