Social and Historical Contexts of Words
English Language Dictionaries:
- The Oxford English DictionaryThe premier historical dictionary of the English language. Entries for each sense of the word are illustrated with quotations from the full extent of written English.
- Oxford Language Dictionaries OnlineOnline bilingual dictionaries for English and these languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian.
- Oxford Reference: English Language DictionariesCollected in one place, online access to Australian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed.; Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed.; New Oxford American Dictionary, 3rd ed.; The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary; Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd ed.; and two Oxford English-language thesauri.
Slang and Regional Englishes:
- Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)"DARE does not include words that are commonly used throughout the United States, but rather focuses on the regional aspects of our language, documenting words, phrases, and pronunciations that vary from one place to another." --catalog summary
- Green's Dictionary of SlangEdinburgh: Chambers, 2010. (Print version: Olin Reference PE 3721 .G677 2010 +)
An authoritative and extensive dictionary of slang words from the past five centuries up to the present day, from English-speaking countries and regions.
- Urban Dictionary: Define Your WorldUnexpurgated, crowd-sourced definitions and usage examples of current slang words and phrases.
Interesting Facts and Usage Guidelines:
- The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English LanguageCall Number: Olin Library Reference PE 1072 .C68 20193rd edition. Cambridge University Press, 2019. Print only.
An engaging guide to the history of English, where English words come from, social and personal variations in English usage, and much more.
- The Cambridge Guide to English UsageCall Number: Olin Library Reference PE 1464 .P48 2004 +Publication Date: 2004Available online and in print.
The first usage reference to make regular use of large 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.
- Oxford Companion to the English LanguageCall Number: Olin Library Reference PE 31 .O84 2018Publication Date: 2018Available online and in print.
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.
Language Encyclopedia Example: Encyclopedia of Language Development
- Encyclopedia of Language DevelopmentSage Reference, 2014.
See, for example, the article, "Gender Differences in Language Development."
Access a Range of Reliable Subject Encyclopedias
- Encyclopedias Online: Use Subject Encyclopedias to Understand Your TopicThis online guide links to a wide variety of reliable subject encyclopedias purchased by the library.