Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Words, words, mere words..."-Grammar and Shakespeare

Last semester I took a class on grammar, word origins and the like. So that got me thinking, just how much influence has Shakespeare had on our language today. How many words did he actually introduce into the English language?

I'm currently in the process of trying to determine if anyone has created a database or corpus of Shakespeare's language. A corpus is a list of words (nouns, verbs, etc.) in a particular language and how they function within phrases and different methods of presentation (written, spoken, etc.). BYU has a couple of corpus databases that you can view by going to the website:


My hope is to find a corpus similar to the one created by BYU specifically for Shakespeare. So far I've not had much luck, but I will continue to search! Who knows, that may be an excellent project!

Wish me luck!


  1. I think this is awesome. I think it would be great to also look at what has been wrongfully attributed to him.

    1. What a great idea to look at that aspect too! I think it may be interesting to see how those words and phrases wrongfully attributed have influenced language since Shakespeare. Great idea!

  2. This is awesome. I took a linguistics class last semester and we dealt with using the different BYU corpi (?) a lot. So let me know if you struggle in finding/ extracting the information you want. It is a really cool tool when you get in the hang of using it.

    The hard thing with finding another corpus could easily be that you might have to purchase a registration or access.

    I would talk to Mark Davies, Dee Gardner (the co-authors) and maybe also Diana Strong-Krause (she is really sweet, my last semester professor). I bet you could get their e-mail off BYU's online directory.

    Let me know if I can be any more help!
    This is a really cool project I would love to help you with.

    1. I took a class from Prof. Davies last semester. He's awesome. I've sent him an e-mail so let's see what comes of that eh? :) Thanks for the other references though! I really appreciate any insight you give me. Thanks!

  3. I wrote about you :) and this!
    nothing special but you crossed my mind