Otherwise, the alternative would be to think: did a group of people quiz him on his vocabulary? It would almost certainly have to be a group. Because if you figure, at a minimum of ten seconds per word (the average based on longer more complicated words plus the short and simple ones), having William say a word followed by its spelling and definition…this process would have gone on for 5000 minutes or 83 and 1/3 hours. By that final stretch of words, halfway through day number four (almost three and a half days in), I imagine all involved would have been quite loopy including Mr. Shakespeare. How would everyone involved have kept track of the word list? Simple. It would have to have been done in alphabetical order. What’s that Mr. Shakespeare? You just remembered that you forgot to add ‘attained’? Sorry, we are well into the S’s at this point and cannot go back. Excluded!!!
Now for the scary part. In addition to the 31,534 words credited known by William Shakespeare (unique words counted within his published works – per Google), it is estimated that William Shakespeare knew upwards of ANOTHER 35,000 words aside from the ones he used in his published works. Say what?! It is theorized that Shakespeare knew roughly about 66,000 words. This. Is. Insane. Upon delving into my research online, I found that it says there are 171,476 words currently in use and another 47,156 that are obsolete (??). The 171,476 figure encompasses root words but not including all their modified forms (i.e. coyote, coyotes = 1 root word). If you count the off-shoot words as their own entity, then there are over 600,000 words. Also, how the heck can words become obsolete? If the word is on a page somewhere or saved in cyberspace, then it can’t really be obsolete now can it?
But let us take a second to fully absorb some of the data I have regurgitated onto the page above. Most average English-speaking persons have a typical vocabulary of 10,000-20,000 words. Take away my Thesaurus feature and I’m probably on the lower end of that spectrum. Just being honest. To grasp that William Shakespeare had an intelligent person’s entire vocabulary storehouse and then two additional ones to boot? Madness! Seeing as he existed over 400 years ago and there was no internet or word processors, his prowess was all the more staggering.
Let’s get a little more goofy shall we? Shakespeare is credited with creating another 400-1700 words on his own, depending upon who you believe. Oh, what’s that? You know 15,000 words? Shakespeare, for giggles, created hundreds of his own. Finding these things out and adding them to this piece is making me feel more stupid by the minute. I honestly do not know how much more I should try to find out.
Again, I do not know what started my mind meandering down this road of wonder. Maybe it was a snippet of a show on Hulu or something about the costumes from the defunct show Gotham? Alas, the truth eludes me in the fleeting moments before the clock non-striketh 11.
I offer to you another interesting morsel about one of the most famous writers of our existence. William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in 1582. The Devil Wears Prada star looks amazing for someone in excess of 440 years old. Wait, what’s that? Not the same Anne? Apologies. She still looks good for her much younger age as well.
As the last few sips of air escape my balloon of information on this topic, I pose this question to you: Are you not entertained? Worth a shot. Moving on. For someone who was only on this planet fifty-two total years, he made the most of his minutes. Born in April 1564 and until his untimely death in April 1616, William Shakespeare put forth his soul for all to read, cheer and despise. If you are truly intrigued by the man and his astounding reputation, I will give you two other names to Google: Christopher Marlowe and Robert Cecil. There is much interesting conjecture surrounding these other two ‘associates’.
I give you a few silly points to ponder as I exit the blog stage:
Was William Shakespeare every defeated in spelling bee?
Who should we give credit to as his writing mentor?
At the time of his death, how many words were in existence at that time?
Did he take un-written stories to his grave that make have further expanded his legacy?
Did he edit for other writers?
There are some additional convoluted questions I could add to the list, but unless I do not want to sleep further this month, I will take a bow and call it a night.
Good night to all and to all, stay safe through the tomorrow to come.