Early Modern English Hath Returned
April 1, 2021 — by Per Christensson
In a school year already filled with unexpected twists and turns, get ready for one more: a return to Early Modern English. Amidst growing concerns that online slang has watered down the English lexicon, the U.S. Department of Education took drastic action. They decided to replace standard English courses with Early Modern English, also known as Elizabethian or Shakespearean English, starting this spring.
"The linguistic pendulum has swung into cyberspace," stated board member Mike Hamlet. "It is henceforth time to swingeth it back in the other direction." Board member Viola Rosalind echoed Hamlet's comments. "The modern student's vernacular has become overloaded with acronyms and abbreviations. Thanks to computers and the Internet, they have lost the art of eloquent communication. A return to Shakespeare tis the only way."
Some teachers are in favor of the updated curriculum, while others have reservations. "I'm excited to teach — and learn — Elizabethian English!" announced Miss Macbeth. "I'll finally be able to read the King James Version of the Bible, which I think is the original version." Mr. Banquo was less excited. "I'm just a math teacher."
Students also have mixed opinions on the decision. 15-year-old Gabby Talksalot was not happy with the change. "This seems like kinda unnecessary? I'm like already learning Spanish 1, and now I like hafta learn English all over again." But other kids are up for the challenge. "Behold, I shalt learneth to speaketh in this fanciful way," declared 10-year-old Horatio Tybalt. "Tis this freshest dare of thine, grant I thou to make it mine."
The new curriculum, scheduled for national rollout this fall, is already being tested in some schools. Duncan Yorick, a seventh-grader from San Jose, has been learning Shakespearean English and shows encouraging progress. "I'm pretty good with my thys and thous... it's those thines and thousts where I struggle." Miranda Cassio from Seattle said she is having a hard time not mixing the new words with the acronyms and abbreviations she's been using for several years. "Yesterday, I texted my BFF, 'Didst thou seeth ur bf 2day?' She was like, 'Nay, I didst not, lolz.'"
Will turning back the clock on the English language produce a leap forward in students' language skills? We shall findeth out, ROFL.