Oxford is Creating an African-American English Dictionary

From the partnership of the Oxford English Dictionary and nd Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African Americans, there will soon be a dictionary based on the language from the culture and its history.

The dictionary is a part of a three-year research project and Henry Louis Gates Jr. was named the Editor-in-Chief.

“Just the way Louis Armstrong took the trumpet and turned it inside out from the way people played European classical music,”  Gates said in The New York Times, adding that Black people “reinvented” English “to make it reflect their sensibilities and to make it mirror their cultural selves.”

The project was funded by grants from the Mellon and Wagner Foundations.

The dictionary will not only define words but explain where they came from. To get the origins, research was done through letters, books, magazines, and more.

“This massive project draws upon decades of scholarship from the most sophisticated linguists, especially those colleagues who have graciously joined this project as members of our advisory board, as well as the vast academic resources at Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and the crowd-sourced contributions of speakers of African American English as well,” Gates said.