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History of the English Language (English 3040)

Finding Books

Using Catalogs: Use the WSU online catalog to find location and availability of books and other media in Stewart Library. Books on the history of the English language are generally located within the call number PE in the General Collection.  Books on linguistics are found under the call numbers P29 and the P100's. Works of literature  are found under PR.

NOTE:  When searching for information on English, remember to allow for spelling differences between U.S. and British English:  behavior/behaviour, color/colour, etc.  The computer will NOT do this for you.

Electronic Books: 

Interlibrary Loan: If we do not own a particular book or article you need, we will borrow it for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Reference Resources

Reference resources include encyclopedias, dictionaries and other materials you use to "refer" to. Use these resources for background information on a topic.



  • Cambridge History of the English Language (6 vols)
    General Collection PE1072.C36 1992
  • International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Edited by William Bright, Oxford, 4 volumes. 
    Reference P29.I58 1991
  • Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics, R.L. Trask.
    Reference P143.T727 2000
  • The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Edited By Tom McArthur.
    Reference PE31.O84 1992
  • The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, By David Crystal, Cambridge.
    Reference P29.C64 1987
  • The Cambridge History of the English Language. By Norm Blake, Cambridge.
    Reference (may be on reserve) PE1072.C36 1992


Finding Articles


To find articles on your topic you need to use article databases, also known as periodical indexes. Each database usually covers a group of subject related journals. Search by subject or keyword in these indexes. Most indexes are available from off campus.

  • Academic Search Premier - Provides full text articles from magazines and journals  
  • ERIC - For articles and other types of information on language teaching.  Some fulltext
  • JSTOR - Fulltext scholarly articles
  • MLA - MLA International Bibliography is usually the best index for researching language and linguistics topics. MLA provides article reference for articles in literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore back to 1963.  Citations and some abstracts only.
  • Literature Resource Center - emphasis is on literature, but includes some other information.
  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts - Not online; see Stewart Library Periodicals P1.L28742



Current magazines and journals can be browsed in the Current Periodicals Area, in the "PE" section on the Main level. Bound volumes of older issues are found upstairs in the periodicals stacks. Relevant  journals are listed below:

  • Philological Quarterly P1.P566
  • Studies in Philology p1.S933
  • Language Learning: A Journal of Research In Language Studies P1.L2872
  • Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America P1.L287
  • The Chaucer Review PR 1.C496
  • English Language Notes P1.E584
  • English Studies: A Journal of English Language and Literature PE1.E58
  • Journal of English Linguistics (via interlibrary loan)
  • Language (via interlibrary loan)



The library subscribes to many electronic journals.  Check our ejournals database to see our current holdings.


Web Resources

Here are some sites to get you started. Most of these will take you to other links, so explore!

History of the English Language


Research Tips

Updated December 29, 2008 . Please send comments to Kathy Payne.
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