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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Natalya St. Clair, Aaron Williams
  • Producer Niamh Herrity
  • Director Aoife Doyle
  • Composer Paul Lynch
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Our discussion of Shakespeare’s identity draws from a few sources. A great reference is Slate’s episode, How Mathematicians Determine Authorship. Most claims in the video are based on a study by Craig and Kinney, Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship.

What makes Shakespeare’s prose so easy to memorize? Could it be the patterns found in Shakespeare’s text? Check out David Freeman and Gregory Taylor’s TED-Ed Original to learn more about “Why Shakespeare Loved Iambic Pentameter.” These kinds of patterns made it easy for actors to memorize Shakespeare’s verse. More about rhythm and mathematics can be viewed at A-rhythm-etic by Clayton Cameron. You can’t help but count along with him! Try it.

Because of the transition from print media to digital media, stylometry has recently grown as a topic of interest for researchers. Some examples of tools used for visualizing words include Wordle and Poll Everywhere. Take some time and try them out, and create your own Wordle.

Learn more about stylometry by reading: “What’s In a Word-list?” Do you think your writing could be identified by a word-list? How might stylometry be used in forensics? Can authors hide their identity anymore? Read this article from the Smithsonian and see what you think: How Did Computers Uncover J.K. Rowling’s Pseudonym? Then listen to Science Friday to learn more about how this mystery was uncovered.

Interested in linguistics? Noam Chomsky challenged linguists with this phrase, “colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” What about this phrase is so interesting and perplexing? Read about it and see what you think.

Natalya and Aaron would like to thank those who contributed to feedback for this piece, including Wendy Cho, Richard Lederer, Katerina Popova, and Rusanda Soltan.