Mark Alan Canada

Several of you expressed interest in the assignment I described in my “Teaching Lexicography” talk [at the DSNA Conference in Barbados].  Here it is:

Coin a word and write a dictionary entry for it. Your entry should include all of the components of a standard dictionary entry: headword, pronunciation symbols, and information about part of speech, denotation, and etymology. Thus, you should become very familiar with your own hardback dictionary and understand the form and purpose of each of these components. Don’t worry about using fancy pronunciation symbols; just try to represent the pronunciation of the word with normal letters. Finally, please include a paragraph explaining your reason for coining this word, the type of process of word formation it demonstrates (blending, compounding, acronym, eponym, etc.), labels for the morphemes in the word (free/bound, base/affix, derivational affix/inflectional affix), a sentence or two about the word’s part of speech, and at least one sample sentence. (Length: 250-300 words. Sources: 2. Value: 10 points.)

As I explained in my talk, I used this assignment in an English grammar class, but I suspect that one could adapt it for other kinds of classes, such as a class on basic linguistics or lexicography.