Skip to main content

Linguistics and Language: A Research Guide: About

This is an extensive, annotated list of the print and online resources available for research in linguistics. Click on the TABS to access each Section in this guide.

Reference Books about the English Language

Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
(Olin Reference PE 1072 .C68x 2003)
A beautifully illustrated reference for all aspects of English. Chapter 17, "The Sound System," is about phonetics and phonology.


Hickey, Raymond. A Dictionary of Varieties of English. West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
(Online only)
"The present dictionary is intended as a tool for students and scholars alike. Essentially, this book contains two types of definition: (i) varieties of English and the regions/countries where these are spoken and (ii) terms and concepts from the linguistic analysis of varieties. The book is intended to give information about present-day varieties around the world, but in order to do this some historical facts must also be covered, both for English in England and at other locations." [Preface]


The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Tom McArthur, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
(Olin Reference PE 1628 .O975).
A lively textual exploration of the language. There are three types of entries: essay entries, brief dictionary entries for definitions or other explanations, and biographical entries. The Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language (1998), is available online.


Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
(Olin Reference PT 41 .E53x 2000)
Entries for 1,000 grammatical terms and their meanings. All the currently accepted terms of grammar are included, as well as older, traditional names, controversial new coinages, and items from the study of other languages. Concise definitions of the wider subject of linguistics, including phonetics and transformational grammar, are accompanied by examples of language in use, and frequent quotations from existing works on grammar.


Peters, Pam. The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
(Olin Reference PE 1464 .P48 2004)
The first usage reference to make regular use of larage databases (corpora) of written and spoken English, specifically the British National Corpus (BNC) for British English and American English from the Cambridge International Corpus (CCAE) as well as a series of six questionnaires, the Langscape survey. Usage guidelines are based on a three-point stylistic scale: formal, standard, and informal.

Selected English-Language Dictionaries

The Australian Oxford Dictionary. Bruce Moore, editor. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
(Olin Reference PE 3601 .Z5 A867 2004)
Over 100,000 entries for English words most commonly used in Australia. This title documents this national variation of the English language.
Other examples: The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed. (Olin Reference PE 3235 .C36 2004 +) and The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary
Dictionary of American Regional English. Frederic G. Cassidy, chief editor. 5 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1985-2012.
(Olin Reference PE 2843 .D55)
A record of of the regional variations in words, pronunciations, and phrases in the United States with historical examples. The first four volumes of DARE covering A-Sk are published (1985-2002). A fifth volume covering the remainder of the alphabet (Sl-Z) will be published in March 2012.
Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(2nd ed. in print: Olin Reference PE 1625 O86 2002 +)
The OED presents in alphabetical series the words that have formed the English vocabulary from the time of the earliest records down to the present day, with all the relevant facts concerning their form, sense-history, pronunciation, and etymology. It embraces not only the standard language of literature and conversation, whether current at the moment, or obsolete, or archaic, but also the main technical vocabulary, and a large measure of dialectical usage and slang. This online edition contains the complete A to Z sequence of the Second Edition, its three-volume Additions Series, and regular updates from the revision programme, which represents the latest progress towards the Third Edition.

See also:

Language Dictionaries Online. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Library, 2007.
(online subject guide)
Links to and brief descriptions of a selected list of reliable dictionaries available online. English language section and bilingual section for working with English and other languages. Includes information about the Dictionary of Old English, Old English Corpus and the Middle English Dictionary/Compendium.

Reference Help

Michael Engle's picture
Michael Engle
106 Olin Library
Cornell University Library

Selector for
Anglo-American News