Friday, April 23, 2010

Birthday for Shakespeare

Had he lived to see it, Shakespeare would turned 446 today, and Geekosystem has been kind enough to offer five geeky ways to honor the day, none of them especially good until the last two: read some actual Shakespeare and improve your vocabulary.

The latter cites Kottke.org:

In his collected writings, Shakespeare used 31,534 different words. 14,376 words appeared only once and 846 were used more than 100 times. Using statistical techniques, it's possible to estimate how many words he knew but didn't use.
This means that in addition the 31,534 words that Shakespeare knew and used, there were approximately 35,000 words that he knew but didn't use. Thus, we can estimate that Shakespeare knew approximately 66,534 words.
Some of those words, such as eke and withal, have sadly dropped from usage.

As to reading Shakespeare, that's a fine recommendation as far as it goes, but a much geeked-up version is to drag in the vocabulary suggestion and use the Shakespeare concordance to find every instance where Shakespeare used a particular word. That's how a real modern-day geek appreciates Shakespeare.

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