The Fake News About Shakespeare

Air Date:
Heard On The Morning Show
In this Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 photo book conservator Lauren Schott polishes a case containing 17th century editions of plays attributed to William Shakespeare in an exhibit called “Shakespeare Unauthorized” at the Boston Public Library, in Boston. The public is to get a rare glimpse of first and early editions of some of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays, including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Hamlet” and “The Merchant of Venice” in the exhibit which opens Friday, Oct. 14 and is to run through March 31 at the library. Steven Senne/AP Photo 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, William Shakespeare coined over 3,000 words that are still in use in modern-day English. Well, a few years ago the Oxford English Dictionary cut that number down to about 1,500 words — but no matter; it’s still a huge number. Well, actually … the OED never said that Shakespeare invented words. So why do so many people insist that he played a major role in shaping our modern vocabularies? It’s the 454th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth — or close to it; lore says he was born on April 23, but no one knows for sure (he was baptized on April 26). So we’re celebrating by debunking one of the greatest myths about the Bard from Stratford-upon-Avon: that he was a great inventor of words.

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Colleen Leahy Producer
  • Jonathan Hope Guest

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