These topics are suggested by DELG staff to students planning to write their BA thesis in linguistics. They only serve as an appetizer. You may come up with any other topic and convince a member of DELG to supervise you and that topic. You may also select a supervisor different from the one offering your topic.
Irina Burukina, Marcel den Dikken, Mark Newson, Krisztina Szécsényi
- The syntax and morphology of tense and aspect in English: How many tenses and aspects are there? What is the relationship between tense/aspect and finiteness? Is there a genuine future tense in English? How does the marking of tense, aspect and futurity in English compare to that in other languages?
- The subjunctive mood in English: Does it exist and, if so, under which circumstances do we find it? What is the relationship between the subjunctive and imperative mood?
- How can the differences and similarities between topicalisation (This dish I wouldn’t recommend to anyone), focus fronting (Only this dish would I recommend), ‘heavy NP shift’ (I wouldn’t recommend to anyone a dish prepared by this chef) and dislocation (both left-dislocation, as in This dish, I wouldn’t recommend it, and right-dislocation, as in I wouldn’t recommend it, this dish) be modelled in a syntactic analysis of these phenomena?
- Cleft (It is a pizza that he is eating) and pseudo-cleft (What he is eating is a pizza, A pizza is what he is eating) sentences: How does their syntax work? What are they useful for?
- Degrees of comparison in the adjectival system, and the interaction between morphology and syntax: e.g., pleasanter ~ more pleasant; most quickly ~ the most quickly; dumb ~ a lot more dumb ~ more dumb than cruel (metalinguistic comparison).
- The placement of adverbial modifiers in the English clause: pre- vs post-modal adverbial insertion (He likely will say yes ~ He will likely say yes; He likely won’t say yes ~ He won’t likely say yes); the distribution of the split infinitive (I decided to fully describe it / fully to describe it / to describe it fully).
- The distribution of the quantifiers some and any in negative and non-negative clauses: syntax and semantics (I don’t want to talk to somebody/anybody; If somebody/anybody tries to take my place; I wonder if somebody/anybody could help me).
- The status of that in restrictive relatives: relative pronoun or complementiser (the man who/that I saw, the man to who(m)/What did who buy? ~ Which book did which person buy?).
- The Uniformity of Theta Assignment Hypothesis and a comprehensive syntactic representation of the distribution of the Theme (They took the pirates off the ship; The pirates walked off the ship; The pirates are off the ship; With the pirates off the ship, the voyage can finally continue; As soon as they have left the gangplank, I consider the pirates off the ship).
Zoltán G. Kiss
- is there voicing assimilation in English?, compare the behaviour of obstruent clusters with respect to voicing in voicing languages (like Hungarian, Spanish, Russian, etc.) vs. aspirating languages (like English)
- neutralization in phonology, does complete neutralization exist?, neutralization phenomena (flapping, stops after fortis fricatives, vowel reduction, nasal place assimilation in English, voicing assimilation in Hungarian, etc.), the role of speech perception in potentially neutralizing positions
- the role of Voice Onset Time in the laryngeal contrast of obstruents; the role of phonetic features other than vocal fold vibration in the contrast of obstruents (vowel duration, consonant duration, glottalization, release, etc.)
- the laryngeal contrast of fortis vs lenis fricatives and affricates in English, what is their contrast based on?
- phonological and non-phonological (social, stylistic, dialectal, frequency, etc.) factors in phonological variation (e.g., glottalization, glottalling, flapping, Linking/Intrusive R, the distribution of /j/, etc.)
- different theoretical approaches to the analysis of Linking and Intrusive R (rule-based theories vs. phonetics-based vs. historical approaches vs. analogy-based analyses, etc.)
- variation in the realizations of CUBE vowels, when are the diphthongs pronounced long (without glides), when are the long monophthongs (R-vowels) realized as long vs. diphthongized; phonological and nonphonological factors in broadening, smoothing, breaking, unbreaking
Péter A. Lázár
- Multiword items classified in various English (and Hungarian) sources/frameworks.
- Regular polysemy types in English (and Hungarian): a heavy book vs a difficult book; a chicken vs some chicken. How language (type) has a role.
- Instances of word forms of a lexeme having different/restricted/special senses: in my eyes vs a black eye.
- Word families vs lexical/semantic fields.
- Dictionaries: print or electronic? Which, when, how? Advantages and disadvantages.
- Types of oppositeness: just two, three, or many more? Oppositeness with various word classes?
- Polysemy developing into homonymy: when/why/how it happens.
- Combining forms (neo-classical “compounds”) in English (and Hungarian).
- Non-right-headed compounds in English (and Hungarian).
- The opacity and the fixity gradience of English (and Hungarian) idioms. Can a word be an idiom?
- Creative variation with English (and Hungarian) idioms.
- “English gets millionth word on Wednesday, site says”. On how many levels is this an impossible claim?
- Inflection vs derivation: crisp contrast or gradience?
- Palatalization in English: how many times and when?
- Rules and lexicalization: when and how does a rule die?
- Lexical and postlexical rules in English
- Treatment of a historical rule in English: e.g., the influence of /l/ on the preceding vowel (all vs. ally)
- How did breaking and broadening happen in English?
- Analysing an older piece of text linguistically (e.g., Chaucer’s poetry)
- Has coda /l/ always been ‘dark’ in English?
- Phonotactic constraints of English
- The distribution of glides
- The distribution of liquids
- Excrescent plosives in consonant clusters (prin[t]ce)
- R-vocalization and its effects on the vowel system of English
- L-vocalization and its effects on the vowel system of English
- How many degrees of stress are there in English?
- The sound system of Hunglish
- Flapping after sonorant consonants in English accents
- Càpi[ɾ]alístic vs. mìli[t]arístic: the (non)applicability of flapping in “identical” environments
- “Yod-dropping” in unstressed syllables
- The phonology of the irregular past
- How regular is English stress?
- The stressing of compounds: patterns and predictability
- Stress clash (adjacent stresses) in words.
- Socially conditioned phonological variation in English