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The Shakespear/ Shakespeare Debate

Discussion rages among present day Shakespeares regarding the spelling of the name. This may be purely academic and depend on how a recent ancestor was taught to read and write - compulsory schooling in England did not begin until the 1870's: prior to this only the privileged few could read and write. The name, in many historical records, was spelled phonetically - even by learned scribes. This has led to very many variations.

A correspondent in the USA recently confided that his grandfather 're-adopted' the final (e)!

Rather than attempt to list each variation as found it may be easier to break the name down into syllables, number them, and present these in tabular form:

Sh(1)/a(2)/kes(3)/peare(4) 

(1)

Sh
Ch
S

 

(2)

a
e
ea

 

(3)

kes
ks
x
xs
xe
xes
xcks
ck
cks
ckes
gs

 

(4)

pear
peare
pir
pire
pur
pure
purre
par
pare
per
pere
perre
peer
phere
bey
bire
bier
bear
beare
beer!
bur
burr
burre
boy

 

You could take a syllable from each column and almost be certain of finding an example somewhere! There are undoubtedly other examples not included - please let us know!

It is possible that references to the name 'Shakeshaft' (and variants) may actually be 'Shakespeares' - and vice versa - although conclusive evidence for this has not been seen.

For possible definitions of the origins of the name see: What's the meaning of it all? - Various dictionaries' definitions/ origins of the name.

 

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