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Books on Britishisms, Canadianisms, etc.
by Mark Israel
[This is a fast-access FAQ excerpt.]
There are many *hundreds* of differences between British and
American English. From time to time, we get threads in which
each post mentions *one* of these differences. Because such a
thread can go on for ever, it's helpful to delimit the topic
The books to get are The Hutchinson British/American Dictionary
by Norman Moss (Arrow, 1990, ISBN 0-09-978230-8); British English,
A to Zed by Norman W. Schur (Facts on File, 1987, ISBN
0-8160-1635-6); and Modern American Usage by H. W. Horwill
(OUP, 2nd ed., 1935).
You can order British books from Bookpages at
[An AltaVista search on 'bookpages' turns up the
Amazon recently acquired the UK book
website "Bookpages". They have a URL:
They are currently (2000-Nov-10) answering to
and U.S. books from Amazon Books at <http://www.amazon.com>.
[A Web search will turn up many places to buy U.S. books
online. Two that are comparable to amazon.com are Barnes
& Noble, <http://www.barnesandnoble.com/>, and Borders,
<http://www.borders.com/>. It's wise to compare prices,
Jeremy Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) has compiled his own
British-American dictionary, available on the WWW at
<http://www.peak.org/~jeremy/dictionary/dict.html>. He plans to
publish it as a paperback. There is another British-American
dictionary, maintained by Mark Horn (email@example.com), at
[The "britspk" URL doesn't work, and I haven't been able
to find a URL that seems to be the same dictionary.]
For Australian English, see The Macquarie Dictionary of
Australian Colloquial Language (Macquarie, 1988,
ISBN 0-949757-41-1); The Macquarie Dictionary (Macquarie, 1991,
ISBN 0-949757-63-2); The Australian National Dictionary (Oxford
University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-19-55736-5); or The Dinkum
Dictionary (Viking O'Nell, 1988, ISBN 0-670-90419-8). You can
order Australian books from the Australian Online Bookshop at
<http://www.bookworm.com.au>. Robert P. O'Shea
(firstname.lastname@example.org.) has an online dictionary at
[Robert P. O'Shea's online dictionary is now at
For New Zealand English, there's the Heinemann New Zealand
Dictionary, ed. H. W. Orseman (Heinemann, 1979, ISBN
0-86863-373-9); and A Personal Kiwi-Yankee Slanguage Dictionary,
by Louis S. Leland Jr. (McIndoe, 1987, ISBN 0-86868-001-X).
For South African English, see A Dictionary of South African
English, ed. Jean Branford (OUP, 3rd ed., 1987, ISBN
For Canadian English, see A Dictionary of Canadianisms on
Historical Principles (Gage, 1967, ISBN 0-7715-1976-1); the
Penguin Canadian Dictionary (Copp, 1990, ISBN 0-670-81970-0); or
the Gage Canadian Dictionary (Gage, 1997, ISBN 0-7715-7399-5).
You can order Canadian books from Canada's Virtual Bookstore at
["Canada's Virtual Bookstore" no longer seems to exist.
Site visitors are automatically redirected to amazon.com.]
For Irish English, see Padiac O'Farrell's How the Irish speak
English (Mercier, 1993, ISBN 1-85635-055-X); Patrick W. Joyce's
English as We Speak it in Ireland (Wolfhound, 2nd ed., 1987, ISBN
0-86327-122-7); or Niklas Miller's Irish-English, English-Irish
Dictionary (Abson, 1982, ISBN 0-902920-11-1); or search for titles
containing the word "dictionary" at the Read Ireland Bookstore at
A "Scots Leid Haunbuik an FAQ" is available at [...].
[That FAQ no longer seems to be available.]
For English in India, see Ivor Lewis's Sahibs, Nabobs and
Boxwallahs: A Dictionary of the Words of Anglo-Indian (OUP, 1991,