What's the leklywhode?

Oxford's spelling was idiosyncratic, even for an Elizabethan. He almost always wrote "lek" for like, in all its forms: "misleke," "leklywhodes," and "lekwise," among many others. Another quirk of his is "wowld" for would. Alan Nelson writes: "So characteristic is Oxford's spelling in this regard that the three spellings 'cowld', 'showld', and 'wowld', along with 'lek' for 'like', are almost enough in themselves to identify a piece of writing as his."

Nelson also notes that Oxford's e-for-i and wh-for-h spellings are "typical for an East Anglian dialect, reminding us that Oxford spent his formative years in rural Essex. Thus Oxford (like his contemporary Walter Ralegh) habitually spoke a provincial dialect."

Who's the country bumpkin now?

A third and "distinctly odder habit is Oxford's invariable use of 'oft' or 'ofte' for 'ought'" which Nelson sees as "a positive linguistic error, not just a rural dialect."

None of these Oxfordian markers appear in the canon--and distinctive spellings do have a way of persisting even through the hands of printers, as loud wallpaper shows through a coat of whitewash. Conversely, none of Shakespeare's linguistic idiosyncrasies appear in Oxford's writing. And the provincial dialect in Shakespeare belongs to the West Midlands, not East Anglia

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