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Here, Crystal (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language) explains the nature of language and poetic effect in Shakespeare's work, giving a brief and clear description of English prosody and commenting on old (through the 1100s), middle (through the 1400s), early modern (1500-1750), and modern English. Crystal examines the differences between Shakespeare's plays written before and after 1600 to track the playwright's art and development. (He mostly uses the first folio of 1623 but also makes comparisons to the quarto texts.) He explains the nature and use of iambic pentameter and how it works in Shakespeare's plays; gives a good overview of Elizabethan printing practices; brilliantly describes Shakespeare's grammar, spelling, punctuation, pronunciation, and vocabulary; and insightfully shows how the elements of syntax, morphology, and accents combine to form Shakespeare's discourse. The appendix list of "false friends," words that are spelled the same but have different meaning in early modern and modern English, is especially illuminating. A fine introduction to Shakespearean studies; essential for literature collections.