“‘A man of fire-new words’: depictions of Don Adriano de Armado’s Spanish accent”

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Shakespeare’s plays were primarily meant to be performed on stage; which means that their oral aspect is fundamental in the construction of meaning. Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (1598) is a comedy that features a great array of accents, out of which stands out Spanish in the character of Don Adriano de Armado. Dialects refer to “alternative Englishes, to versions of the language that were defined by their value or status” (Blank Broken 2). Thus, variation is a key element when speaking of pronunciation.
In plays, accents are inextricably linked to performance, which is why looking at modern productions of the play gives an insight into the choices that twenty-first century directors and actors are making when it comes to accents on the stage. Although modern productions of Shakespeare’s plays in Britain tend to heavily rely on Received Pronunciation (RP), the theatrical scene has been gradually changing towards a more diverse sound.
This paper discusses the different angles concerning the Spanish accent in the play: How is depicted in modern productions? How does it change when studying the play in original pronunciation? Why have certain Spanish elements been anglicised in modern editions? How do the other characters in the play interact with the foreign accent and foreign words?
Accents in Shakespeare has been studied by linguists and literature scholars alike, including Paula Blank, Gustav Ungerer, Katie Wales, Mélodie Garcia, and Erin Reynolds. Folio and Quarto spellings, as well as contemporary sixteenth century grammars on pronunciation, such as Ben Jonson and John Hart are fundamental pieces of evidence.
Period11 Oct 2019
Event titleSEDERI International Conference for Junior Researchers
Event typeConference
Conference number1
LocationMurcia, SpainShow on map


  • Shakespeare
  • Original Pronunciation
  • Accents