Thursday, July 03, 2008

Question from Ella - Dictionary of useful Tudor words

Is there a dictionary of useful Tudor England words? Or a way I can find out about the kind of language they spoke?

Thank you



Nicole said...

Well, it isn't a dictionary but it does list some slang words and has a chapter on how the Tudor people spoke.. This is "The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Renaissance England" by Kathy Lynn Emerson.

I really enjoyed reading this book as it covers such a big range of topics from language to medicine, clothing to marriage, furnishings to entertainment and quite a lot more. I got my copy from amazon, if you're interested.

PhD Historian said...

What an excellent question! This is exactly the kind of book that academic researchers are always wanting but that no one has ever taken the time to compile, beyond Emerson's limited work. When reading Tudor-era letters and documents, one often encounters odd words or words that are used in a way that indicates the meaning has changed since the 1500s. "Wherefore," which meant "why," springs immediately to mind from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Or "advertise," which meant "inform" (as in "let me advertise you that X has happened"). A simple dictionary of "Tudor-speak" would be hugely useful when trying to figure out what some obscure word means in a given document. Unfortunately, I am not aware that one has ever been created.

kb said...

You might find the glossary section on this site useful as well. Go to the main page - and then click on Glossaries in the left column.