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Oxford's spelling differs radically from whatever may be imputed to the author of the Shakespeare canon. It constitutes positive evidence that the Shakespeare plays and poems were not and could not have been written by Oxford. I will follow the numbered paragraphs in the head page.

This essay is under development.

  1. I would guess that a practised writer would tend to establish uniform habits of spelling; the fact that Oxford did not do so may suggest that he was not a practised writer. This, however, is a topic which must be studied comparatively. A good starting point might be the letters of Philip Sidney.

  2. One would expect that some of an author's signature spellings would find their way into the final corpus, even with the personal and "house-style" alterations inserted by professional scribes and compositors. The fact that Oxford's most characteristic spellings never occur in the Shakespeare corpus must count strongly against his authorship.

  3. The fact that Oxford's English was strongly dialectal and even provincial constitutes proof positive that he could not have written the works of Shakespeare. I do not mean to denigrate dialectal or provincial English, only to point out that it is not the language of Shakespeare, except for some of his most comic and rustic characters.
    Here Oxfordians are hoist with their own petard. They frequently claim that because William Shakespeare was from Stratford on Avon, he must have been burdened with a Warwickshire accent which would have disabled him from speaking or writing the London English of the Shakespeare canon. Many people, however, overcome their native dialects and adopt a new one: Oxbridge students do it as a matter of routine. Some individuals, however, cannot shake off their native accents; Oxford was clearly such an individual.
    I have heard it argued that it is unfair to compare Oxford's English written in his own hand to the Shakespeare canon because the latter was subjected to revisions, corrections, and other improvements by editors and compositors. If this was the case, however, then the felicities of Shakespearean verse and prose were the work not of the original author, but of contemporary editors and compositors. In other words, faceless drudges were the true "Shakespeare."
    I presume, however, that whatever changes editors and compositors made to their copy texts, those changes were for the worse, not for the better. The true author of Shakespeare was the original author, whoever he was. At any rate, he was not the earl of Oxford.

  4. The fact that Oxford's most characteristic substitutions never occur in the Shakespeare corpus must count strongly against his authorship. (See No. 2 above.)

  5. The fact that Oxford's English is at some level incompetent, however fluent, constitutes proof positive that he was not the author of the Shakespeare canon. I do not argue that Oxford was stupid or hard of hearing, merely that like a lot of people he tended to mishear words. He was also ignorant of or indifferent to etymology. It must be the case that the author of the Shakespeare canon was a master of the English language. By the evidence of his own hand, Oxford was not.

  6. Oxford's limited competence in Latin, especially legal Latin, does not in itself prove that he could not have written Shakespeare, unless the more extravagant claims that the author of the canon was a master of all knowledge, including legal knowledge, are strongly pressed. The errors Oxford makes in Latin are of a piece, however, with his demonstrable indifference to the etymology of words. Only a person ignorant of or indifferent to Latin could have spelled impudent as either "impodent" or "impotent".

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