Lynne Murphy M_Lynne_Murphy at BAYLOR.EDU
Wed May 12 14:24:36 UTC 1999

I want to add to the endorsements of adopt-a-word projects in undergrad
classes.  Inspired by the discussion on this list, I had the students in
my semantics/pragmatics class pick a word near the beginning of the
semester.  The project was to develop a 'portfolio' on that
word--involving a minimum of 10 pages and 8 printed sources (at least 4
of which must be non-dictionary sources).  The students could decide how
many 'chapters' to give their portfolio--i.e., they did a number of
short papers (2-6 pages) on a specific word.  As we went through the
topics in the course (I used Saeed's _Semantics_ and lots of
supplementary readings), the students were given new ways to think about
their words, and thus got inspiration for their projects.  Some did
etymological studies, based on our historical semantics readings, some
did lexical fields, based on Adrienne Lehrer's work, some did analyses
of situation types that their verbs could fit in, some looked at
semantic change that happened when their words were borrowed into
another language, some did usage surveys, looking at variables like age
and gender.  In all, I thought that their portfolios represented much
better research than I get when I allow students an open research topic.



M. Lynne Murphy
Assistant Professor in Linguistics
Department of English
Baylor University
PO Box 97404
Waco, TX 76798

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