Dictionary Research Centre 

The Dictionary Research Centre is an umbrella for lexicographical activities and interests within the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics.

The Department has been involved in dictionary projects of different kinds for nearly twenty-five years. Perhaps best-known are the COBUILD project (1980-2000, in association with HarperCollins), and the Johnson Dictionary project (1988 onwards, partly in association with Cambridge University Press). There have also been several smaller research initiatives, for example within the Centre for Corpus Linguistics.

The Dictionary Research Centre was created in autumn 2001, when the Dictionary Research Centre in the School of English, University of Exeter, was transferred to the University of Birmingham. Exeter itself had a long tradition in relation to dictionaries and lexicography within its Dictionary Research Centre, created by Professor Reinhard Hartmann (now an honorary professor at Birmingham).

Research activities

Current and recent research activities include: work on Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, including the sourcing of Johnson's citations; corpus-based lexicography; bilingual and multilingual lexicography; the lexicographical description of collocation; the language of definitions; perceptions of dictionaries; and metaphor and dictionaries.

Research degrees

If you are interested in researching for an MPhil or PhD, the department can offer supervision in a variety of lexicographical topics, including bilingual and multilingual ones. More information can be found at the College of Arts and Law Graduate School website.


Most lexicographical materials are housed in the main library, with some smaller collections in other parts of the university. Our resources include books and materials transferred from the University of Exeter, while their dissertations on lexicographical topics are housed in our teaching/research rooms. There are facilities and programmes for visiting scholars who want to make use of the material.


For more information about courses, degrees in lexicography, and access to resources, contact the Director of the Dictionary Research Centre, Dr Rosamund Moon.