There were 24 letters in the Elizabethan alphabet opposed to 26 we currently have in the modern alphabet. In the Elizabethan alphabet, the letters “u” and “v” were used as the same letter, interchangeable. Same with “i” and “j”. There was also a letter that resembled “y” which was used to represent “th.”

When Shakespeare began to write poems and plays, he brought new words and letters into the English language. This was the beginning of the “modern English” era. Shakespeare introduced roughly 1700 words into the English language such as addiction, assassination, bet, aroused, skim milk and generous. He grew up reading and writing Middle English, but he was the first person to develop and use Modern English.

Shakespeare also invented some insults such as:
· Thou impertinent fool-born puttock
· Thou art a disease that must be cut away

Shakespeare used new and obscure words because in his time the public did not have a good education. Although Shakespeare did have a good education, this is why he used more complex and unusual words. A special vocabulary case Shakespeare used was the common use of contractions. Such as ‘tis, I’, oft, e’en, gi’.

References
http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/old-english-letters.htm
http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-dictionary.htm
http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/Shaker/
http://www.fbrt.org.uk/pages/essays/essay-questions.html
http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/jgarret/417/Reading-Shakespeare.pdf