English is the lingua franca
of the known universe, and the man who is more responsible than any other for that, is William Shakespeare. What do we know about him? Quite a lot. He was baptised April 26, 1564, and is thought to have been born on April 23; if true, that means he was both born and died on St George's Day, which is as quintessentially English as this most English of Englishmen could get.
Much nonsense has been written about Shakespeare, attributing his works to other people and so on, but he was the real deal.
Today, at the Global Theatre, London, in the run up to the Olympics
, a festival has opened which will see his 37 plays performed in 37 languages including sign language! The BBC interviewed one young lady
who is believed to have made the first ever translation of a Shakespeare sonnet into Somali.
In all, there will be 70 productions of the Bard's plays - including the classic Hamlet
- and a million tickets have been sold. Shakespeare has inspired a few songs in the modern era, including Brush Up Your Shakespeare
by Cole Porter and at least one song
with avant guarde
You can of course find England's greatest (still living) playwright all over the web, including at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust