THINKING IN A WORLD WITHOUT STANDARD SPELLING. Rosenbaum says that: “At its deepest level Andrews’s argument is that this is not a question of Shakespearean spelling habits, but the nature of Shakespearean THOUGHT, his original way of using language to create meaning.” It is no accident that Shakespeare’s writing is filled with ambiguities and multiple meanings because the Elizabethan language encouraged that mode of thinking.
In thinking about this, I experimented with how I experience words, both my own and those of others. I did find that I sometimes see those words. Mary Jane commented that that is because I am lexic. Here is an example from Rosenbaum and Andrews which may illustrate what I am trying to express. It comes from the deposition scene in Richard II. Bolingbroke asks Richard if he is ready to resign his crown to Bolingbroke. Most modern editions render Richard’s reply as: “Ay, no, no ay; for I must nothing be…” The 1608 quarto, however, reads: “I, no; no I, for I must nothing be….” The double meaning with ay/I, which is powerful, could not easily be avoided by somebody listening who did not spell. I think that in listening to it, I would in some way “hear” only one spelling.
Andrews says: “I think what we need is to recover the ability to hear the words as we read them, even if we’re reading them silently….” By the same token, it would be helpful to hear the words without putting them into letters when we are listening.