Publication details [#56927]

Keinänen, Nely. 2013. Female multilingualism in William Shakespeare and George Peele. English Text Construction 6 (1) : 89–111.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


While there is overlap in the ways that Peele and Shakespeare make use of female multilingualism in their plays, Peele’s repertoire is wider than Shakespeare’s, and he also seems to trust his audience will understand more complex code-switches from foreign languages. Shakespeare includes women who are resolutely monolingual in a multilingual context, highlighting the importance of English for personal and political identity. Both authors include characters who are shown understanding but not using foreign languages, perhaps reflecting cultural anxiety about educated women. In Peele, a wider range of women are shown code-switching, and Peele uses extended foreign language code-switches to highlight moments of high emotion, with Italian suggesting dangerous female sexuality and Latin evoking purity.