Guidelines for Word Study Paper:
10-12 original, data-based paper giving a historical analysis of the word Rascal, with professional literature as background and support. Can be from any period in the history of English and any English dialect, as long as it analyzes a change in meaning/use over time.
Sample Topic Angles:
The development of the word rascal in contemporary English over Several prior decades.
A change in the word meaning/use in progress.
The steps to do the paper:
Use (COHA) Corpus of Historical American English to collect the data.
The data should be from COHA database.
Use the online Etymology Dictionary to refer to the origin of the word.
Use the OED Dictionary to tell when the word starts to be used in each meaning.
Use any reference you see it as helpful, there is no limitation on the number of references.
The semantic change in this word is Amelioration, write about amelioration some paragraphs then introduce the word and discuss the data collected from the Corpus of Historical American English.
Be precise in your analysis.
Analyze when the different senses developed.
Are they all being used in the beginning of 1800 and did anything changed over that time.
The way you figure that is to look at lots of examples, like in 1810 you found 20 examples, you want to see which meaning occurs in those and are they the same one occurred in 1820, 1830, etc… was there a time when a new meaning started.
We need to learn how the word has been used through time.
Look at the examples you found and divide them up according to the different meanings of rascal. For example you can say this is the first time in American English that rascal has been used in this meaning not just the other meanings, so you trace it that way.
Get different meanings from different dates.
Categorize the meaning for each decade and then look if you see any pattern one decade to the next, or for example, if one meaning is used more in 1910 but less often in 1920 and compare and contrast that way.
See when does the word changed from the negative meaning to the positive one.
See if it was used in the past as it is used today.
See when did the earlier meaning start to drop away.
If you couldn’t make a long paper with the word rascal, you can supplement it with the word Cad which is another negative word for men; and also collect data for this word from COHA.