When you’re scouring the lines of Shakespeare, trying desperately to make sense of the “where fors” and “cullionly barber-mongers,” what accent are you internally applying to the text? Is there a tiny version of the Queen in your head reciting it silently in Royal English? Interestingly enough, many scholars are finding that the accent of Shakespeare’s time was more akin to your own American accent than to modern day British English. The article below presents many interesting points and reasons for this.
TL;DR Version of the above article
Colonization generally lead to the conservation of Language practices in the newly established colonies. The beginning of colonization in North America and Australia occurred in the mid 1500-early 1600’s- during Shakespeare’s life. Through comparison of grammar, puns and rhyme schemes found in Shakespearian plays, we find that the 17th century author’s accent was a mix of Irish, Australian and American English.
If you are interested in more scholarly articles, I have provided a few below.
To hear an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPlpphT7n9s
This is written by the man in video above. Fully viewable if logged into the university library site (though the book over-view is interesting in and of itself) http://eng.sagepub.com/content/38/1/94.extract
I hope there are a few fellow linguistics nerds in the class 😛