The Tudor alphabet contained just 24 letters as opposed to the 26 letters used in the modern English alphabet. Anyone who has looked at the text contained in a Tudor manuscript will confirm that it is difficult to read. But with the vital, but little known, information about the Tudor alphabet it is easy to read these old Tudor scripts. An understanding of the old Tudor alphabet is essential when looking at copies of original manuscripts of the period. The confusion with the letters 'u' and 'v' and 'i' and 'j' is resolved with information about the Tudor alphabet.
Understanding the Tudor Alphabet
Understanding the Tudor alphabet makes it easy to read and understand old Tudor documents. The following points illustrate the differences between the Tudor alphabet and the modern English alphabet:
- The Tudor alphabet contained 24 letters, as opposed to the present day alphabet of 26 letters
- In the Tudor alphabet the letters "u" and "v" were the same letter as were and "i" and "j"
- The "j" was usually used as the capital form of the letter "i" in the Tudor alphabet
- The letter "u" was used only in the middle of a word, and the "v" was used at the beginning
- Another letter which resembled a "y" was used to represent the "th" sound. The word "the" was therefore written in a similar way as "ye" would be written in the modern day
- The written form of Tudor Numbers also cause confusion. Tudor numbers were frequently written in lower case Roman numerals, with the last "i" in a number written as a "j". For example - viij March
Tudor Alphabet - Inconsistency in Words and Spellings
There were not so many words used during the Tudor period and people used a whole variety of ways to spell them as dictionaries were not available. In 1558 a child's speller was written in England and at this point consistency in spelling gradually emerged. The number of words increased during the Tudor period. If William Shakespeare was looking for a descriptive word, and was unable to find one he just made one up. William Shakespeare is credited with contributing more new words to the English language than any other single person - approx 2,000. The new words he invented enhanced the Tudor language and increased the English vocabulary. Some of the words credited to William Shakespeare are as follows:
Accused Addiction Amazement Arouse Assassinate Blushing Champion Compromise Courtship Countless Critic Dawn Epileptic Elbow Excitement Exposure Frugal Generous Gossip Hint Impartial Label Lonely Luggage Majestic Negotiate Obscene Premeditated Puke Scuffle Torture Tranquil Varied and Worthless
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