The Queen's English Pronunciation Drills

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Gaining 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 syllable.

  • 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 thine.
  • 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 ate?
  • long a and long e blend (pronounce "ea" like the a in day):
    see, she doth be belove'd o' lee stream. she seems please'd. he seizes secret delights. she leaps under freely.
  • pronouncing "ed" (pronounce it as an extra full syllable):
    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 throat):
    take comfort and come from thy dumb sorrow. thou hast a bumpy lump on thy hump good hunchback. come! but nay! come, cousin! Costumes Acting Language RPFI History
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