Baugh named to board of Oxford Dictionary of African American English


John Baugh, the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named to the advisory board of the first edition of the Oxford Dictionary of African American English (ODAAE).

The initial phase of the project will last for three years and is scheduled to be released in 2025.

Baugh, who is also a professor of psychological and brain sciences, of anthropology, of education, of English, of linguistics, and of African and African-American studies, all in Arts & Sciences, conducts interdisciplinary research, drawing extensively upon related work in the fields of anthropology, ethnography, linguistics and sociology. His research has, for decades, considered African American English (AAE), its history and its influence on other American dialects.

He recently spoke about the project and the history and importance of AAE on Wisconsin Public Radio.

“The linguistic contributions of United States slave descendants to American English have been considerable, but they are often overlooked or devalued,” Baugh said. “The Oxford Dictionary of African American English will honor this neglected linguistic legacy and do so with exacting scholarly rigor.”

Baugh will join a team of lexicographers and researchers who will together apply the “depth and rigor of the OED’s historical methodology” to the ODAAE, according to its website. The project aims to be the definitive reference for information about the meaning, pronunciation, spelling, usage and history of AAE words.

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