Honors Thesis

An honors thesis is required of all honors students majoring in linguistics. The thesis is completed by registering for the two-semester sequence LING 3051H-3052V. These courses must be taken on an A-F grade basis. The final thesis usually is 20–40 pages, although actual length may vary according to the topic. Summa cum laude theses require the approval of the thesis supervisor and two readers. Magna cum laude and cum laude theses require the approval of the thesis supervisor.

The first semester is conducted as an independent study under the supervision of a professor with expertise in the subject of the thesis, and usually consists of background reading, data gathering, and other research. The first semester should culminate in completion of an initial draft of the research. The final writing of the thesis is done in the second semester, LING 3052V, which will meet concurrently with LING 4901W. This is a seminar devoted to the writing and structure of linguistics papers, as represented by models to be examined and discussed in class. It will include peer review and commentary on successive drafts, along with discussion of the linguistic issues appropriate to the topics students are writing about in each seminar.

For further information on the honors thesis and guidance in choosing a topic and/or an advisor for the first semester's research, contact the honors advisor in linguistics, Brian Reese, prior to registering for the course.

Sample Thesis Titles

The following are some of the honors theses written by linguistics graduates in recent years:

  • “Classifying” Bengali as Southeast Asian: An analysis of definiteness and quantificational approximateness in the DP
  • A Minimalist analysis of Case in English gerunds
  • A sociolinguistic study of Bulgarian l-vocalization
  • The structure and shaping of narrative in Colloquial Malay
  • Borrowed scripts, unique Identities: Writing systems of the Uighirs and Japanese
  • Tongues at war: Language and politics in Yugoslavia
  • Henrik Ibsen's Terje Vigen: Translation and discussion of syntactic structures
  • Diglossia among university and upper secondary school students in greater Rabat, Morocco
  • Portuñol: Nos nao falemos un dialeto! (Turner Award Winner)
  • Unraveling the mysteries of schwa: An optimal prosodic approach to Saami epenthesis
  • Analysis of the anthropological, historical, and linguistic factors of language obsolescence, endangerment, and attrition in Mexico (Turner Award Nominee)
  • Investigation of typicality shift of dab in White Hmong Christian discourse (Turner Award Winner)