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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: February 8, 2013

Recently, in my Shakespeare class at SUNY Old Westbury with Professor Hegde, the class was given as assignment. It was “discuss whether and/or why Shakespeare should be considered a creative genius.”

It is a fact that the plots or storylines in all of Shakespeare’s plays (about 36 of them) were based on pre-existing sources, in many instances, stories by other authors, Plutarch’s lives, etc.

Shakespeare took these stories and fleshed them out. This included adding brilliant dialogue and turning the story into an interesting and historically correct play. There were no English dictionaries during his lifetime so Shakespeare coined and invented many words and phrases that are today considered integral parts of the English Llanguage.

You may be surprised at these additions to English, which had not yet been formalized. Some of his coined statements:

“Knock, Knock, Knock! Who’s there?”— Macbeth

“Neither an borrower, nor a lender be.”— Hamlet

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”— Romeo and Juliet

“Neither rime nor reason.”— The Comedy of Errors

“To thine own self be true.”— Hamlet

“Too much of a good thing.”— As You Like It

“Wild-goose chase.”— Romeo and Juliet

“All the Worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players.”— As You Like It

Shakespeare’s vocabulary was 25,000 words; today’s college students’ vocabularies are somewhere around 5,000 words. Some more terms coined by William Shakespeare and still used today like amazement, birthplace, cold-blooded, dawn, eyeball, fashionable, generous, ill-tempered, jaded, love letter, majestic, outgrow, puppy dog, quarrelsome, rascally, schoolboy, tranquil, useful, vulnerable, well-behaved, yelping and zany.

Also: gossip, luggage, marketable, mimic, obscene, undress and submerge. More phrases: a fools paradise; foregone conclusion; sorry sight; dead as a doornail; bag and baggage; Ides of March; fairplay; good riddance; in stitches; heart’s content; tongue-tied; tower of strength; Greek to me; love is blind and vanish into thin air.

The English language today is certainly richer for the many words and phrases created by the genius of William Shakespeare.

News

If you’re like most people, your medicine cabinet might be a jumbled assortment of boxes, bottles and tubes.  

That innocent bit of disorganization in your medicine cabinet might actually pose a risk if you’re not careful, according to Leonard Langino, a pharmacist with North Shore Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Group, who recently held a lecture on the subject at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library.

In a pronounced response to the New York State Common Core standards, more than 800 Plainview-Old Bethpage students opted out of the English Language Arts and Mathematics exams, according to New York State Allies for Public Education.

In response to concerns from school officials, parents, and teachers regarding the level of testing administered to children in grades 3-8, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel joined 12 of Long Island’s school district superintendents, on Sept. 8, to present new legislation that would reduce the number of tests taken by students in grades 3-8.  


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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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