Specific Topic Description
The attachments include the guideline about the assignment2, the syllabus and all notes from the lectures. There is no need to write it so professional but mention all things needed in the guideline I provided with.
The morpheme clog exhibits polysemy, having at least two distinct meanings: • a kind of shoe with a wooden sole, as in She was wearing clogs.
• to prevent something from flowing freely, as in The kitchen sink is clogged.
The morpheme sabot exhibits a similar polysemy:
• the word sabot itself also refers to a kind of wooden shoe.
• in the word sabotage, it means to intentionally prevent something from
Your assignment is to discuss how these polysemies came about: i.e., why is it
the case that clog and sabot have these two meanings?
For this assignment, you must use the Oxford English Dictionary, since it’s the only dictionary with reliable, in-depth data on the history of the meanings of words. You’ll probably find it useful to look at both the etymologies of these words and the lists of definitions.
Remember how the OED groups together meanings of a word to show its history: major senses are numbered (1), ( 2), etc. and listed in chronological order by when they were first used; but within a major sense there might be several sub-meanings, lettered (a), (b), etc., listed in chronological order within the major sense. The OED also has separate entries for the noun and verb uses of clog; it may be helpful to look at both of them.
In an essay of 1–2 pages (i.e., about 500–600 words), address these questions:
• For each of clog and sabot:
• Is one of the two meanings the original meaning, which the other one derived from, or do both meanings derive from an earlier third meaning? Or something else?
• What type or types of semantic change caused the meanings to develop? Was metaphor or metonymy involved? Weakening, strengthening,
narrowing, widening, etc.? (But remember not all semantic changes fit neatly into
• Do clog and sabot have the same history as each other, or did their meanings
evolve in different ways?
• Do you think it’s just a coincidence that clog and sabot show similar patterns
of polysemy? Or do you think there’s a plausible explanation—based on either linguistic facts or real-world facts—for why two unrelated morphemes would end up with similar pairs of meanings like this?
Your essay is due on paper at the beginning of your tutorial on December 6th.
How to read an OED entry with multiple meanings
The OED groups the definitions of polysemous words into categories of closely related definitions. The categories are listed in chronological order by the first known usage of the word with a meaning in that category, and within the categories the definitions are also listed in chronological order. Here’s an (abbreviated) example, showing the word car:
a. A wheeled, usually horse-drawn conveyance; a carriage, cart, or
b. A chariot, esp. of war, triumph, splendour, or pageantry. (1350)
c. A vehicl e resembling a cart without wheels; a sleigh. (1488)
a. The passenger compartment of a balloon, airship, cableway, etc.
b. The passenger compartment or cage of an elevator or lift. (1847)
a. A railway carriage or wagon. (1826)
b. As many or as much as a railway car will hold. (1851)
4. A motor car. (1896).
Each definition is accompanied by multiple dated quotations (omitted above, for space reasons; I’ve only given the date of the earliest quotation) that can give you a more in-depth idea of the contexts each definition of the word appears in.
Note that the definitions themselves aren’t necessarily all individually in chronological order—definition (3a) of car is older than (2b). But they’re in order by category.
The order in which the meanings of a word originated does not necessarily tell you exactly how the meanings originated and developed into one another, but it can give you a general idea, and it can rule out some possibilities. For example, from the entry for car, you can tell that the meaning ‘passenger compartment’ didn’t originate from the meaning ‘automobile’, since the ‘passenger compartment’ meaning is a century older.
You’ll definitely need to cite OED definitions for this assignment. On the online OED, there’s a “Cite” link at the top right corner of a word’s entry that will show you the proper format for citing a definition. It’s not necessary to seek out any other sources.