Folklore, Dialect and Language

Key Publications:

Collection of English Proverbs, 1670

 Collection of English Words, 1673

 Trilingual Dictionary, 1675

Ray had a wide interest in the world around and collected proverbs, unusual words and details of dialects.

He published these notes in two books, ‘A Collection of English Proverbs’ in 1670 and a ‘Collection of English Words’ in 1673. For many proverbs and words he is our earliest historical source, and you can still find his name today listed as such in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Ray’s approach to the Proverbs collection shows the classificatory bent of his mind, organizing them by topic and location.

Ray’s other popular publication was a ‘Little Three-language dictionary’ of English, Latin and Greek published in 1675. It had reached 8 editions by 1736 and was a common resource for students.