Throughout history, the works of William Shakespeare have been the subject of many “hidden code” conspiracy theories. But never before has The Bard been accused of hiding an entire foreign language in his writing. Until now.
Ask anyone to recite some of their long forgotten high school Shakespeare and the most oft-quoted line is “woe is me.” It was frequently used by Shakespeare, appearing in half a dozen of his plays and sonnets, including “Hamlet” and “Henry the 8th.”
Then ask any speaker of the world’s most ancient living language about this passage of Shakespeare and they will laugh. Why? Because in Mandarin Chinese, “wo” is “me.” Literally!
In fact, every example of the extensive output of the man who is arguably the most revered writer in the English language appears to contain not just hidden Chinese words, but a side-by-side translation into English as well!
The discovery of this amazing-but-true linguistic phenomenon in 2014 by GLU (Global Learning Universe) led to many of the unique sketch comedy scenes that make up “The Mandarin Show” a revolutionary new way to learn Mandarin Chinese. GLU refers to its unique methodology as “Mandarin without Memorization.TM”
The irony of Shakespeare’s secret language is not lost on the many actors and comedians who are part of the Mandarin Show, most of whom have spent years laboring in Shakespearean productions.
Of course, you might feel justified in claiming that this is “much ado about nothing.” So, let’s start right there, shall we? With William Shakespeare’s most celebrated comedy of errors: Much Ado About Nothing.
Here’s Bill again: “and I do with an EYE of LOVE requite her.”
Yes, you guessed it, “eye” means “love” in Chinese!
But, all the world’s a stage, so as you like it, let us turn to Othello. In one of the most emotional scenes of this classic tragedy Shakespeare’s writes:
“I never KNEW WOMAN love man so.”
Of course, the one-syllable word “KNEW” means ‘woman” or “female” in Mandarin. And once more with Othello:
“Tempest themselves HIGH SEAS!”
Another coincidence? We thinketh not! “HIGH” means “seas” or “oceans” in Mandarin Chinese!
The Mandarin Show LIVE! has been called “a cross between Rosetta Stone and Saturday Night Live.” The show features a host (comedian Andy Peeke) monologues, sidekicks, sight gags, a live audience and even commercial breaks in English and Mandarin. And, of course, references to Shakespeare, and any other instance, where the English and Mandarin Chinese languages cross paths.
GLU refers to their learning system as “Mandarin without Memorization.”TM The premise is that learners of Mandarin do not have to actually leave their native language of English in order to acquire a new Mandarin word. The reason: the sound of each new Mandarin word in this system always approximates an English word as well.
To help bridge the tonal and pronunciation gap between an English word and its Mandarin equivalent, the system makes liberal use of multiple English language accents, including Jamaican, Brooklyn, and, of course the proper British of Shakespeare.
In the GLU language learning system, instead of rote memorization, you simply jump from one English concept to another. For example, the English concept of “fan” (pronounced “fahn” in both upper crust British and in Mandarin) leads to the Mandarin concept of “food” This is illustrated by a British sports fan who loves “fahn food.”
The entertainment format of the Mandarin Show identifies and amplifies these mental connections between the two ENGLISH words, as the path of least resistance to learning its Mandarin meaning.
And it works. Research indicates that people using the GLU system can learn new Mandarin words at four times the rate of conventional memorization methods. Even years later, if they haven’t had a chance to use the new language, they still remember the connections between the words.