Based on the acclaimed Oxford Companion to the English Language, this is the most compact, authoritative, and up-to-date source of information about the English language. With contributions from more than 130 experts worldwide, the language is viewed from an international perspective, covering Cockney to Creole, Aboriginal English to South Asian English. The historical range of the work is large - Beowulf rubs shoulders with Ebonics, Chaucer sits alongside Chomsky, Latin, and the World Wide Web. Substantial entries are given on key subjects such as American and British differences, computing, etymology, pidgin, poetry, sexism, Shakespeare's language, and slang. Features include pieces on place-names, borrowings from other languages, the evolution of the alphabet, and the story of the expression 'OK'.