Linguistics information resources: Background information

General linguistics encyclopedias

Research methods

ESL teaching

Language acquisition

Grammar & usage

Phonetics & phonology

  • A dictionary of phonetics and phonology / R.L. Trask, 1996 [print]
  • Understanding phonology / Carlos Gussenhoven and Haike Jacobs [print]
  • The atlas of North American English: phonetics, phonology, and sound change / W. Labov et al. Bennett Oversize Books [print or online]
  • IPA alphabet chart - A standard for the phonetic representation of all languages.
  • Speech Accent Archive - Collects a large number of English speech samples from around the world and is used by people who wish to compare and analyze the accents of different English speakers.



  • 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: The Library does not have a subscription to this database, but some information is still freely available on the website.
  • Compendium of the world's languages 2012
  • Global Mapping International World Language Phyla/Family Mapping - Dr Huffman has classified the languages of the Ethnologue into broader groupings following A Guide to the World’s Languages by Merritt Ruhlen (1987) [print]
  • 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 or online]
  • The world atlas of language structures/ Martin Haspelmath, ed. [print]

Endangered 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