3310 Writing Assignment #1: Using the Oxford English
The first writing assignment in ENG
3310 asks you to explore the
First, if you have not explored the OED online through the UHV library, spend about 30 minutes or so trying out different words. Here are the directions for accessing the OED:
At the right on the homepage for your Blackboard courses is a set of Campus Book
marks. One of those bookmarks is for the library. (You will also find a link to the library on the UHV homepage.) Once you click on that link, follow these two steps:
?To the right under "Quick Links", click on "List of all Databases A to Z."
?Then scroll down to the Oxford English
You will need to login to use the database.
Inside ch. 7 in
, read the section on "Process of Semantic Change"
which discusses how the meanings of words changes over time.
When you look up your words in the
OED, you may find that the meaning of a word has become more generalized over the years of more specialized. You might also learn that a word that initially had a neutral meaning now has a more negative meaning.
In your essay you will write about the histories of
four words that you choose. Here are my guidelines for choosing those words:
?Choose the base form of a word, one without prefixes/suffixes. For example, instead of choosing agitation, which ends in the suffix -ion, choose agitate, or instead of choosing
realignment, which contains both a prefix and a suffix, choose align.
?Avoid choosing words with minimal entries. The point of the assignment is to be able to see how a word changes over time. If you choose the words with the shortest entries available, then you are not fulfilling the spirit of the assignment.
You can search by word or by category. To search by word, just enter
the word in the "search" box. If you want to do a category search, click "Categories" on the homepage. Then you can choose to search by subject area. i.e. under "Crafts and Trades," I can search for terms on "Textiles" or "Printing and Typography." You can also search "Humorous" terms under "Usage." where you can browse entries for
words/terms such as "Alpha Male" or "blonde moment." You can also search by "Region" or "Origin." If I click on "Creoles and Pidgins" under "Origin," I can find entries for words such as "calaboose" and
Planning and Preparing Your Essay
Examine the historical meanings of your four words in the OED and think about how the words are used today.
Write an essay in which you trace the changes in their meanings through the years.
Do not simply cut and paste information from the OED to create your essay.
I am looking for a thoughtful discussion about word meanings and their changes through time.
Use the information on pp. 222-228 in
your text to guide you in talking about changes in word meanings over the years.
Do not simply use a numbered list to respond in your essay.
I am looking for an interesting essay on word histories.
Answer the following questions about each word in your essay:
?What words did you choose and why did you choose them?
?When did each word enter the language and what is its language of origin?
?What spelling variations did you find?
?Has the meaning of the word changed through the years? If so, how? (Try to label the type of
change according to the pages you read in the chapter on "Semantics." You may not be sure if
the type of change fits any of the categories discussed in our text, but give it a try.)
?What are examples of the use of this word through the years?
?What word compounds does it appear with? (For example, to the right of "bird," I can find
entries for "birdwitted" and "bird-brained.")
?What surprised you, if anything, about the meaning of this word?
Begin your essay with a short introduction, explaining which words you looked at and providing a general statement about your findings.
End with a brief conclusion that tells what you learned in investigating word meanings in the
Your essay should discuss the full range of meanings, not just highlight one or two, as well as mention relevant phrases and compound expressions that the word appears in.
The essay should be double-spaced and approximately 2-4 pages in length. (I do not believe you can do an adequate job of fulfilling the assignment in one page.) Prepare the essay as a
How to Turn in the Assignment
Since Learn 9's course management system is relatively new at UHV, I've added link to a tutorial on "Submitting Assignments in Learn 9" on the homepage of this course. Taking the time to view the brief tutorial may save you time in uploading assignments quickly and correctly in ENG
An "assignments" icon is located in the course menu to the left on your homepage. If you have trouble
submitting your assignment in Learn 9, you can send the assignment to me as an attachment to an e-mail inside the course. Course e-mail "lives" inside the "Messages" area in the Course Menu.Either way, you will be attaching the assignment as a file.
Do not attempt to cut and paste the assignment into the text box in the Assignment Drop Box.
I will not grade your assignment that way.
A note of caution: I read all of my students' papers.
When I grade this assignment, I look up each of your words in the OED, just as you did.
I will know if several students have chosen the same set of words to minimize their work time. If I see that occurring, the students involved will not receive credit for the assignment. I also keep running lists of words students have chosen from previous semesters, and I keep copies of their essays from previous semesters. The only resource you should be using for this assignment is the Oxford English
Dictionary database in the library. If you use a source such as Wikipedia or any other source, you will receive no credit for the assignment.
My Login Information:
go to https://login.ruby2.uhv.edu/login?url=http://www.oed.com/
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