language connects us.
“oh, how scary and wonderful it is that letters and words
can change our lives simply by being next to each other.”
Everything on the earth bristled,
the bramble pricked
and the green thread nibbled away,
the petal fell,
falling until the only flower was the falling itself.
Water is another matter,
has no direction but its own bright grace,
runs through all imaginable colors,
takes limpid lessons from stone,
and in those functionings plays out
the unrealized ambitions of the foam.
read her book to us
proud and confident
younger grandie j
watched and listened
when she was done
he was happy she could read the words
but he seemed
because he wasn’t sure how to read yet
he had an idea
the lightbulb go on
that he would
‘read his book to us in spanish’.
he proceeded to
show us the cover
read us the title
each and every page
in his version of spanish
taking his time
nodding and facing the book towards us
turning the pages
at appropriate times
pointing out the pictures
in a his brand new version of spanish
that was so very, very advanced
know the translations
but we understood
that he was proud
he was reading
when he was finished
he snapped his book shut
muy bien, and gagglesmithjong kipisanlomita paskajonti to you!!
“if you want to talk about something new,
you have to make up a new kind of language.”
grandie v met a new girl at the pool
her daddy is a soccer coach at the university
who moved here from another country
though i have no idea where
the language that the family
spoke between them
i couldn’t identify it
it was wonderful
to watch the girls play
without any difficulty
in two very different languages
neither one speaking the other’s language
they played and played
they were singing
to each other
laughing out loud
neither seemed to
even realize or care
that they began
two different languages
they were simply
speaking a new one together.
“the language of friendship is not words but meanings.”
henry david thoreau
They’ve both got big anniversaries this year:
2016 marks 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth, and 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. That means 2016 is a pretty great year for celebrating the lives and works of these two world-famous writers.
They both made up some crackling words:
Shakespeare coined countless new words and phrases, many of which have found their way into common usage, including ‘wild goose chase’, ‘laughing stock’, and ‘heart of gold’. Roald Dahl invented quite a few words of his own, especially while writing The BFG – who can forget snozzcumber, gigglehouse and exunkly?
Both authors have their very own dictionaries, both published by Oxford University Press. The Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary and The Gobblefunk Dictionary (coming in June).
Can you tell which of the following 5 words are Roald Dahl words, and which 5 are Shakespeare words?
Babblement, Smilets, Bubukles, Crumpscoddle, Pulsidge,
Vizaments, Squizzled, Twangling, Bootboggler, Sossel.
(Answers at the bottom of the page!)
They both have links to the Royal Shakespeare Company:
Set up in 1875 the Royal Shakespeare Company was established to inspire a lifelong love of William Shakespeare and to produce new plays and productions. In 2010 the RSC’s production of Matilda the Musical based on Roald Dahl’s Matilda, premiered at The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, before moving to the West End in 2011. This record-breaking, award-winning musical is still going strong, made its way to Broadway in 2013 and toured Australia in 2015.
They are both loved worldwide:
Shakespeare is well and truly international. According to The British Council his works have been translated into over 100 languages (including Klingon), and performed worldwide – Romeo and Juliet has been performed in 24 countries in the last 10 years alone!
Roald Dahl books have been translated into 58 languages including Norwegian, Welsh and Japanese, but not Klingon… yet. During his lifetime Roald Dahl stuck a pin in a world map every time he received fan mail from a new place. Far flung destinations included Sao Paulo, Beijing, Addis Ababa and Windhoek.
Roald’s Fan Map
They are both top ten borrowed authors:
Both Roald Dahl and Shakespeare are very popular with library goers it would seem. The Public Lending Right lists Roald Dahl as the number 1 most borrowed classic author in 2015, with Shakespeare taking tenth place. Not bad!
They’re big on the big screen:
Many of Shakespeare’s plays have been made into movies. According to the BFI the first Shakespeare film was made in 1899. Since then there have been countless film versions and adaptations including William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (1996), West Side Story (1961), and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).
There have been some great film adaptations of Roald Dahl’s books too, Including Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The BFG is coming to cinemas this July.
You can visit their home towns:
Two places you must definitely visit are The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire and Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Roald Dahl lived in the village of Great Missenden for 36 years and wrote all of his children’s books in his Writing Hut in the bottom of his garden. The Museum is housed in an old coaching inn on the High Street, you can’t miss it – look for the painted BFG on the front.
William Shakespeare lived in Henley Street in Stratford from the time of his birth until he was old enough to marry. Visitors can tread in his footsteps in the house he lived in, for millions of enthusiasts worldwide this house is a shrine.
Some of their stories are rooted in folklore:
Witches, magic, sprites and mysterious creatures appear in work by Roald Dahl and Shakespeare, and almost certainly rooted in folklore. Roald Dahl’s Norwegian heritage may have influenced his stories about jumbly giants and witches. His first story for children The Gremlins was inspired by RAF folklore which held that little creatures were responsible for the various mechanical failures on aeroplanes.
Shakespeare plays feature similar characters: Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream, the sorcere Prospero, and the witches in Macbeth. Even Hamlet is borrowed from an old Scandinavian tale.
Roald Dahl = Babblement, Crumpscoddle, Squizzled, Bootboggler, Sossel.
William Shakespeare = Smilets, Bubukles, Pulsidge, Vizaments, Twangling.
credits: roald dahl museum