Review: All The Words on Stage

by Louis Scheeder and Shane Ann Younts

How many times have you been reading one of Shakespeare’s plays and stumbled across a word and wondered, “How the fardel do I say that!?” You can look up a definition without too much difficulty in a dictionary or some other books. But none of the published Shakespeare dictionaries offer pronunciations of the words in them. That’s where this book comes to the rescue!

All the Words on Stage offers a good solution for this. The book lists a few thousand words and names and how to sound like you know what you’re talking about. The book lists American English pronunciation in both the author’s phonetic spelling and in the International Phonetic Alphabet (yay!) The usual pronunciation is listed, along with an alternate if it is pronounced differently to fit into the iambic pentameter.

Also included are sections on scansion of the verse, pronouncing foreign accents and languages written in the text, and more language notes on this and that. This dictionary is missing a few words here and there – one can hardly expect perfection – but a related word is usually there whose pronunciation can help.

If there were only two books that I could take into a rehearsal for a Shakespeare play, this book would be one of them. The other would be Shakespeare’s Words. A good combination so that I know what the words mean and how to say them. A very good place to start when speaking text. For being so useful, I give this book 4.5 Bards. You need it. Get it!

All the Words on Stage: A Complete Pronunciation Dictionary for the Plays of William Shakespeare