HDEL - Helpful Websites

This list of sites is by no means comprehensive; with a little bit of surfing, you will be able to find much more. BE careful; make sure your source has some authority. The web is a morass of redundancies (and often trash) in which it can be hard to find an original, authoritative idea. Please let me know about any problems on this page.

General Resources

  • Of course, the HEL Timelines for the course should be your key resource here.
  • Another timeline, within a very helpful HEL course website, by Elly van Gelderen at Arizona State University. The site also has a great glossary.
  • Studying the History of English, a site from Duisberg-Essen University (though in English), has much interesting material to browse through.
  • The Ethnologue seeks to catalogue and describe all of the world's languages.
  • Learn the phonemic alphabet from SIL (full IPA with sounds), and from the IPA itself. NOTE that some textbooks, such as Millward, use a slightly different phonetic alphabet that varies from the IPA for several consonants.
  • You may need to install a font or two on your computer to type the IPA or non-English characters. I recommend Cardo font, the Junicode font, or the Unicode fonts on this page.

Nifty Blogs


  • I've mentioned Lexicon Valley, a podcast about language and (often) pop culture from Slate.
  • A Way with Words is a radio show about language new and old that you can listen to in podcast form. The shows are broken up into clips so you can pick and choose what you want to learn about.
  • The History of English Podcast by Kevin Stroud includes a number of fascinating episodes. He spends a lot of time on each moment, often using an historical text as a platform to describe word histories. As I write this there are 97 episodes, and he's up to the Magna Carta, during Early Middle English period. The same podcaster also produced a podcast about the History of the Alphabet.



  • The BYU Corpora collect immense sets of data about various Englishes around the world. There are some videos on The Grammar Lab on YouTube that explain how to use it. There is a bit of a learning curve to these, but they are well worth your time.
  • The Google Books corpus of American or British English. BYU has developed this search tool on top of the dataset that Google has made available from scanning books, which it used to create its N-Gram viewer. It allows for more complex sets of searches.
  • Search Google's N-Grams here directly.
  • The Urban Dictionary displays in all of its glory the plasticity and creativity of English.

Pre-history: Indo-European and before

Germanic, Latin, and other close relations

Old and Middle English

Early Modern English and PDEnglish in Britain

American Englishes

Want to Speak an Accent?

These sites have files you can listen to. You might also put some key terms into YouTube.