etymological research essay 1

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Choose a word you use often. Make sure the word has some history (at least a few hundred years). After you have your chosen word, find the word’s root and history by going to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Summarize the word’s history and root language(s). Write an essay of 750-1,000 words describing the history and developmental changes of the word, including its beginnings in the English language and how it has changed in usage, prevalence, and context over time.

Then, answer this question: In chapter 1 of Changing English by Graddol et al. (2007), Joan Swann explains that some accounts of change in the English language differ in terms of their approach. She explains that one of her sources, Tom McArthur, emphasized “the diversity of different ‘Englishes’, in terms of their linguistic characteristics and the social political contexts in which they are used” (p. 6). By contrast, another of Swann’s sources, Randolph Quirk, approached the study of English from the assumption that the language is “relatively fixed, something unified and discrete, playing down the diversity highlighted by McArthur” (p. 6). Thus, we have two paradigms: the paradigm of diversity or the paradigm of stability. How do your representation of your chosen word’s history and the entry you find in the Oxford English Dictionary reflect one of these two paradigms? Or do your history and the Oxford English Dictionary‘s entry fall somewhere in between? Explain your reasoning.

This assignment is designed to get you familiar with the history of a single word. By studying a word’s history, you will gain greater insight into the flexibility of language and the importance of meaningful reading and writing.

Prepare this assignment according to the MLA guidelines found in the MLA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

Be sure to cite your sources, check grammar and spelling, and write the assignment in essay format (including an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion).

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