BUT DON’T I NEED TO HAVE AN ACCENT?
Not at all. But there is a trick to sounding as if you have one. And the trick is in good diction. Think about how Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones, and Kenneth Brannagh sound. Remember Data from Star Trek? Absolutely no modern contractions. Every word clear and distinct. Speak slowly. Speak clearly. Actual Elizabethan, and therefore Basic Faire Speech, is spoken more slowly than modern English; and that is helpful, as it will give you time to think of your next phrase. You will find that BFS, which is a shorthand version of Elizabethan English, will more than baffle the modern Faire going public.
MORE TRICKS AND HINTS
Beware of speaking too fast, as we are wont to do in the modern age. Instead, slow thy speeche, and think thee upon good and clear diction. At all costs avoid a “Cockney” accent, as that is strictly late Victorian, and the Australian “G’day.” And if thee would further thy Education upon Elizabethan Speeche & Deportment, then do get thee hence to that greatest of Bards, Master William Shakespeare.
TO WHOM ARE YOU SPEAKING?
While at faire, in order to feel comfortable addressing people, you need to have a feeling for your social level and theirs. Fortunately, people wear clothing in accordance with their social standing, making it easy to make a quick judgment. Are you speaking to another Faire Participant? Look to see if perhaps they are carrying the tools of their trade. Is he carrying a wooden mallet? You might say “Good morrow, Master Carpenter”, or if he has forging tongs, perhaps “Fyne day, Master Smith. Are you greeting a girl or woman? Then “Good day, Goodwife” or “Greetings, dear mistress” or “Welcome, little wench”. And remember, that to an Elizabethan, wench was simply an affectionate term for either woman or girl. “Good Gentles” may be used if addressing a group. Sir or Mistress is always a safe bet for someone who is not nobility but who is dressed well. An older man might be addressed as father, or gaffer. Someone of your social standing or slightly above could be called Goodman, Goodwife or by their name or profession as Master Patrick or Master Brewer. A familiar tone may be taken by calling someone Cousin. To children, my lad/lass, or good young sir is appropriate, perhaps erring on the side of safety with my young lord/lady. To nobility, my Lord, or my Lady is safe if you don’t know their exact name or title. The Queen is of course referred to as Your Highness or Your Grace . In the third person, the Queen can be called Her Majesty, but this is not appropriate for addressing the Queen directly. Dukes, Duchesses can be likewise be addressed as Your Grace. Puritans refer to themselves as Brother and Sister others might address them as Good Puritan, if they did not know their name. Officeholders, such as judges, constables, or bureaucrats, and knights, or esquires may be called Your Honour or Your Worship .
In general, extra words such as Good may be thrown in to add further flattery and pomp to an address. Good my Honorable Lord Constable!.
Good Villagers all! When Her Majesty passes by with her court, let the Goodmen among you make a leg, doff their caps, and bow ! Goodwives and Lasses, do bow thy head and curtsey and all raise your voices in a hearty “God Save the Queen” and a “Hip Hip HUZZAH!” Vendors, call out extolling your wares! Players, let your voice be heard when greeting fellow Villagers. Join in a rousing cheer at special events.
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