Lexicon Guidelines

A.Research at least ten words (or phrases) in the following dictionaries and in any other reference tools. Then write a concise history of the development of each word in its etymology and meaning.

Johnson, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language (1755). Humanities Reference PE 1620 .J6.

Webster, Noah. An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828). Humanities Reference PE 1625 .W3.

The Oxford English Dictionary (1933). Humanities Reference PE 1625 .O87 1989.

Watkins, Calvert, ed. The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (1985).

B.Collect examples of how the ten words are used in other written or oral sources.

C.Write your own definitions or senses of the words with examples from your usage and the usage of others.

D.Compare the words to their counterparts in foreign languages you may have studied.

E.You may pick any ten words, but you may wish to focus on a group of related terms or a set of words that interact in a particular text.

F.You may be creative in the content and format for your lexicon, but be consistent and thorough. You could write a "Biography" or "Personal History" or "Genealogy" of each word.

G.You may reflect on metaphoric resonances between words; you may do semantic analysis; you may develop a poem or a philosophy about language based on your research.

H.You may personalize each word, explaining why you chose it, why you like it, what you learned.

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1998-1999 © Dr. Cynthia L. Hallen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Monday, September 6, 1999