This is the last report; in Week 13 I'll attempt to incorporate an
overview of the major phonological and grammatical developments into a
I'd like you to work on a topic that is of current relevance and that interests you; I've just tossed down a few ideas that occur to me. Most involve describing and accounting for the main ways in which a ridiculously specific register of English (e.g., bear hunting tourism, holistic dentistry) expands its vocabulary, and amusing/horrifying us with a representative word or two. (My undergrads last year were forced to think about words for insecticide, among other things. Have a look.) But you have the option of presenting on any very current topic: if you want to do something grammatical (shaved vs shaven? dived vs dove?), clear it with me and carry on.
Some of the topics will exemplify topics like "Euphemism", "Jargon", "Restricted language", "Slang", "Variety"; check out McArthur's Oxford Companion to the English Language to see what general trends you might find. Crystal's chapter on "Social variation" may also touch on trends that your topic illustrates.
The currency of the topic will mean that you will rely less on dictionaries and more on your classification of patterns within and analysis of a few representative words in your primary source material (the www is very useful here). For your report, you're welcome to consult (and cite, please) any reputable secondary sources that might exist (please cite whatever secondary sources you've used, whether it be a newspaper article, an archived e-list, or an academic article.
For future reference, if not now, don't forget the e-index "Linguistics & language behavior", which has abstracts, and archives of reputable e-lists like "the Linguist list" (home of "the gratuitous pig"), at http://linguistlist.org. ("Search LL issues", subject header "advertising" is fun.) Or open "Mailing lists" at the top right, select "read archived lists" to work out which lists you're interested in (HEL-L and LINGUIST?), then click on "search archived lists" and select those.
Remember how little time you have for your report: contexualize a representative word or two ("embedded" journalists?!) in your succinct, coherent, summary of the topic.
Topics might include: