A new project is shedding light on Black vernacular culture. Oxford University announced the creation of The Oxford Dictionary of African American English, funded in parts by grants from the Mellon and Wagner Foundations.
It is being touted as a landmark scholarly initiative to document the lexicon of African American English in a dictionary based on historical principles. Oxford English Dictionary partnered with Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research on the project.
The new dictionary is being called a historical dictionary, different from dictionaries of current English in which the focus is on present-day meaning. It will provide present-day meanings in addition to the history of individual words and the language. A familiar name, Henry Louis Gates Jr., is the editor-in-chief.
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