IMPORTANT NOTICE: This site is scheduled for closure in September 2016.
If you have any comments about the closure, please post them to the newsgroup. See this page for information about the newsgroup and how to post to it.
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 (email@example.com) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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
(email@example.com.) 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,