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Languages and Literatures: Dictionaries, Grammar Books, etc.

Language Reference Books

Dictionaries, grammar books, verb books, language textbooks (though textbooks for courses currently being taught at OSU would be on reserve in Room 105 of the Library) and other books for linguistic study of languages will be located in the 400s in the Dewey Decimal system.  Some will be shelved in General Reference on the 1st floor, west side (those cannot be checked out), but most of the books will be on the 4th floor and available for check-out.  We have both bilingual dictionaries to look up how to translate a word or phrase (i.e., Spanish-English, Russian-English) and dictionaries that are all in the language that provide definitions of words, etymologies, etc.

To browse the language collection, use the following table as a rough guide to the call numbers where you will find dictionaries and language books for the various languages:

433/435 German dictionaries/grammar

473/475 Classical Latin dictionaries/grammar

443/445 French dictionaries/grammar

483/485 Classical Greek dictionaries/grammar

453/455 Italian dictionaries/grammar

491 Russian dictionaries/grammar

463/465 Spanish dictionaries/grammar

492 Arabic dictionaries/grammar

469 Portuguese dictionaries/grammar

499 Chinese & Japanese dictionaries/grammar


Specialized language dictionaries such as medical, business, engineering dictionaries, etc., may be in other call number ranges.

Finding Dictionaries/Grammars with BOSS (Big Orange Search System)

To search for dictionaries, grammars, readers, and other books on languages, use these Library of Congress subject headings as guides:

Spanish language -- Dictionaries -- English

Spanish language -- Conversation and phrase books -- English

French language -- Dictionaries -- English

German language -- Grammar

Japanese language -- Verb

Spanish language--Readers

You can make keyword searches using those terms and the language.  To search for Spanish language dictionaries (Spanish-English, etc.) using the BOSS or Big Orange Search System Book Search, go to the Library homepage, select the Books radio button on the orange search box in the center, and then enter the keywords to search. You could also search Spanish English dictionaries for a bilingual dictionary to look up words in both languages, or other keyword if you want a specialized dictionary (medical dictionary, etc.). This search will bring up both Spanish dictionaries in both print and e-book formats.


To limit to dictionaries in print, on the left-hand "Refine your search" column, scroll down to Location and select "Main Library."  For e-book dictionaries, in the left-hand "Refine your search" column, select "Items with full text online."

Note: Do not select Spanish in the Language section of "Refine your search" unless you want dictionaries, etc., that are only in that language; that would remove most Spanish-English or other bilingual dictionaries from the search results.


WorldCat (for books or media, not articles) is a catalog database of library holdings worldwide.  Use it to search for books NOT necessarily at the OSU Library.  Use the "Borrow from another library" link when viewing a book/media record to access the Interlibary Services loan form to request the book from other libraries; that service is free to OSU students, faculty, and staff, but the other library determines how long you can keep the item.