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Text like Shakespeare with ShakeSpeak by SwiftKey

6th April 2016

Learn to type like the revered playwright with our brand new KeyBard

To key or not to key… that is the question! To mark this year’s 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, SwiftKey is launching ShakeSpeak, a limited edition keyboard that lets you type exactly like the Bard would (if he’d had a smartphone in 1591, that is). It may not do you any favors in the modern world, but it does mean you can impress your friends with your learned Shakespearean prose.

How do I type like Shakespeare?That which we call - Shakespeare ShakeSpeak

All you need to do to download the “KeyBard” is visit ShakeSpeak on SwiftKey Greenhouse, where we seed new ideas.

Our language experts have been hard at work analyzing Shakespeare’s complete works, from Macbeth to The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Twelfth Night to The Tempest, enabling you to inject an authentic Elizabethan touch to the way you write. Similar to the SwiftKey app, the ShakeSpeak keyboard will learn from you as you type – keep a look out for some of his most popular phrases that are dotted throughout the app!

Our research revealed some of the playwright’s most popular words and phrases, but what can you do to type like the Bard?

  • Get ‘thou, thee, and thy-ing’. It’s true – the ‘thou, thee, thy’ cultural stereotype is there for a reason, with these three among the top words he used the most compared to the average modern English speaker*.
  • Start your sentence with ‘Ha!’ Or an ‘O!’ Or a ‘What ho!’ for an authentic Shakespearean feel.
  • Be polite. ‘Sir’, ‘Madam’ and even ‘Ay my good lord’ are peppered throughout Shakespeare’s plays and all appear among the top words he used more than the average speaker.
  • Prepare to be surprised. Of Shakespeare’s top 10 full sentences (defined as those words ending with a punctuation), five are exclamations – ‘Ha!’, ‘What!’, ‘How now!’, ‘Away!’ and ‘Hark!’

Stage directions were notoriously sparse in Shakespeare’s day and interestingly there are at least ten words within his 40 most popular sentences that have the same function as a stage direction but which are spoken by the protagonists themselves – phrases such as ‘who comes here?’, ‘who’s there?’ and ‘what’s that?’. Perhaps this is one reason why real stage directions such as ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’ from The Winter’s Tale are still so memorable all these years later.


You can join us on Twitter by Scribing a “Swift Sonnet” (or any phrase, really!) like the Bard and challenging your friends to come up with their best work. Use the hashtag #ShakeSpeak and share your best efforts with us @SwiftKey.

“2016 marks a yearlong celebration of Shakespeare and the incredible literary legacy he has left us,” SwiftKey’s Head of Languages, Caroline Gasparin, comments. ‘SwiftKey’s technology learns your personal writing style to predict what you will most likely type next. We have trawled thousands of words from his plays for SwiftKey to learn from the great playwright himself build this personalized language model. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death, the ShakeSpeak keyboard makes the greatest playwright of all time accessible in a new and unique way.”

All the world’s a page… so get typing like the Bard today!

Sarah and the SwiftKey team

*Based on SwiftKey English (UK) language model