Linguistics information resources: Background information

General linguistics encyclopedias

Research methods

ESL teaching

Language acquisition

Grammar & usage

Phonetics & phonology



  • Blackwell Companion to syntax [print]
  • Concise encyclopedia of syntactic theories [print]


World languages

  • Ethnologue -- A catalogue of the world's languages including information on alternate names, number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistic affiliation, and other sociolinguistic and demographic information. Note: Accessible only with a personal subscription.The Library does not have a subscription for this database, but some information is still freely available on the website. 
  • Compendium of the world's languages (2013)
  • Atlas of the world's languages / Asher, R.E. and Moseley C., eds. 2nd ed. [print]
  • The atlas of languages: the origin and development of languages throughout the world [print]
  • The languages of the world / Kenneth Katzner [print]
  • The world atlas of language structures/ Martin Haspelmath, ed. [print]
  • The Mouton atlas of languages and cultures Vol. 1, Europe and West, Central, and South Asia

Endangered languages

  • Atlas of the world's languages in danger [print]
  • The Endangered Languages Project - Endangered languages research, revitalization, advocacy, culture, and more.  Information on over 3,300 languages.

Writing systems

  • Omniglot - Information about over 200 different writing systems. Each page contains an illustration of a writing system, details of its origin, usage, notable features and the language(s) written with it, as well as a sample text.
  • The Routledge Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets