But thy name: Exam assignment in EXFAC03-EURA 2011

The year is 2011, and in their exam assignment in the preparatory course EXFAC03-EURA at the University of Oslo, rendered below, beginner students of European languages are presented with five questions about some aspect – phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic – of the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.

The assignment is based on the so-called "balcony scene" from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, second act, scene two. In addition to the original English text, there are enclosed Edvard Hoem's translation to Norwegian nynorsk and André Bjerke's to riksmål. Your paper should be based on the English text unless indicated otherwise in the text of the assignment, but you are free to include the Norwegian translations in your discussion as long as they exhibit the same phenomena as the original.

  1. The English language has consonant phonemes that are not found in Norwegian. Which of these are represented in the text (assuming it is read out by a present-day speaker of English)? Describe them from an articulatory point of view.
  2. Discuss whether the form "I'll" (line 4) constitutes one or two words. Are there more examples of the same phenomenon in the text?
  3. What does the sentence "That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet" (lines 10–11) express about the relation between linguistic form and meaning?
  4. The two word forms "thou" (line 1) and "thee" (line 15) refer to the same individual, Romeo. Why are they different?
  5. What kind of speech act(s) is/are performed through the utterance "Romeo, doff thy name, / and for thy name, which is no part of thee, / Take all myself." (lines 14–16)?

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy:
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand nor foot,
Nor arm nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
and for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

Å Romeo, Romeo, kvifor er du Romeo?
Fornekt din far, forkast ditt namn. Men vil
du ikkje, sver da at du elskar meg,
og eg er ikkje meir ein Capulet.
D'er berre namnet ditt som er din uvenn.
Du er deg sjølv og ingen Montague.
Kva er Montague? Det er 'kje hand og fot
arm eller andlet, ingen annan del
av mennesket. Å, ver eit anna namn!
Kva er eit namn? Det som vi kallar rose
vll ange like søtt med anna namn.
Om ikkje Romeo vart kalla Romeo,
så var han like fullkomen som no.
A Romeo, legg av det namn som ikkje
er nokon del av deg. I staden kan du
ta heile meg.
(Edvard Hoem)

Å, Romeo, Romeo! hvorfor er du Romeo?
Fornekt din far, ditt navn! Men vil du ikke,
så sverg på at jeg har din kjærlighet,
og jeg er ikke mer en Capulet.
... Det er ditt navn som er min fiende.
Du er deg selv, og ingen Montague.
For Montague er ikke hånd og fot,
arm, ansikt, eller noen annen del
av mennesket. Å, vær et annet navn!
Hva er et navn? Den blomst vi kaller rose,
vil dufte liflig uten rosens navn.
Og het han ikke Romeo, ville Romeo
beholde sine kjære fortrinn uten
det navn han bærer. Romeo, kast ditt navn,
og for ditt navn, for ingen del av deg,
ta hele meg.
(André Bjerke)

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