Posted on July 22, 2022 at 2:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
An upcoming project from Harvard University and Oxford University Press will document and celebrate the Black contribution to American English.
The Oxford Dictionary of African American English will not just define and spell words — it will provide a historical record of how usage came about, evolved, and, yes, came to be used popularly by white speakers.
Examples include hip, nitty gritty, cool, shout-out, side hustle, and woke.
Oxford had initially asked scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. to improve the current dictionary's inclusion of Black influences.
Instead, Gates proposed this entirely separate project and became its editor in chief.
The New York Times notes that this isn't the first dictionary of its kind, but it may have the most prominent (and well-funded) backers.
As with other versions of the Oxford English Dictionary (and other reference books), you can expect to see invitations to contribute to this three-year effort.
The NY Times has more on the Oxford Dictionary of African American English project.
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