With over 1 billion speakers—and that’s a conservative estimate—English is an incredibly diverse language. Dozens of countries around the world have their own varieties, many of which have not historically seen adequate representation in English dictionaries.
This past April, the Oxford English Dictionary hosted the Oxford World English Symposium 2022, a two-day event featuring a series of parallel sessions and panels on topics relating not only to varieties of English, but language prejudice, colonialism, and context-based English language teaching, among others.
On today’s episode, we’re featuring Lisa Lim, Phillip Louw, and Michael Proffitt, three of the Symposium’s participants, in the form of a follow-up panel hosted by Dr Danica Salazar, World English Executive Editor for Oxford Languages.
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Featured image: @anniespratt, CC0 via Unsplash.
The recordings of the World English Symposium sessions are available to view on OED Online. They include panel discussions on dictionaries and the decolonization of English, language corpora and research resources, dictionaries, World Englishes, and ELT, and the spectrum of variation in English.
In 2021, Danica Salazar wrote a chapter for the edited volume Research Developments in World Englishes called “Documenting World Englishes in the Oxford English Dictionary: Past Perspectives, Present Developments, and Future Directions”, which offers a chronological overview of the OED’s coverage of world varieties of English.
In this 2021 post for the OED Blog, Michael Proffitt talks about the OED’s focus areas and goals, including World Englishes.
Phillip Louw worked on OUP South Africa’s flagship dictionary, the Oxford South African Concise Dictionary, which is now in its second edition.
You can also check out The Oxford Handbook of World Englishes, which investigates the astonishing diversity in structures of English around the world.
Additionally, you can visit the OED’s Varieties of English hub for content and resources related to varieties of English on the OED website, and information on the contributions made by the dictionary’s extensive network of consultants and partner institutions across the globe. There is also the opportunity to suggest a World English term for inclusion in the OED.