Spring 2017
English 336: Linguistics

Guidelines for Linguistics Projects

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Home page for Linguistics 



[Note: If you do some interesting work on Appalachian dialects, I would be interested in publishing it in the web site AppLit.]

Other Language Differences, Old and New:

Style (limitless possibilities for methods of style analysis and samples to analyze):

Other Topics Relating to Teaching:

Usage and Discourse Analysis:

Theory, Miscellaneous Topics:

Methods and Resources:

The projects should not be just library research reports and no one is expected to do extensive research, although background reading may help you focus on a topic or provide crucial ideas and information to be used in your report. Even if most of your material comes from books or journals (secondary research), in most cases you should do some kind of primary research or "hands-on" work yourself, or develop some examples on your own. For example, if you are interested in stylistics, read about different methods, decide which one(s) you want to try out or compare, and try that method on some short samples of writing or speech. Other projects might involve use of interviews, surveys, exercises, computers, letters of inquiry, etc. Even though the focus should be narrow and only a short report will be required at the end, leave yourself enough time in case you want to send for information, arrange for interviews, etc.

If you approach any real people for information or assistance—either teachers/scholars or others, be sure to do so with courtesy and tact. Some people are very self-conscious or defensive about their language or the teaching of English. You don't want them to get the impression you are spying on them or trying to criticize their language habits or teaching methods. Sociolinguists have spent decades refining their methods for collecting data because direct questions about language create an environment in which people cannot report accurately on their own natural usage, and there are many controversies surrounding the teaching of formal grammar and other language skills in the schools.

Creative approaches and original hypotheses are welcome, but you are not expected to create original methods or theories about your subject. Feel free to borrow the ideas or methods of experts and practitioners, and then look for your own examples or test the method on your own samples. You may find that what you learn about the difficulties and complexities of gathering valid data or teaching effectively is as important as the content of the data or teaching lesson itself. If you plan a project that does not succeed in getting the results you expected, report on what you did learn about the methodology in that particular area.

Reporting on Projects:

• Let the professor know your topic by April 12 at the latest (preferably before that date). You can use the proposal outline form below if you wish. Consult me about methods or progress as often as you wish.

Submit a list of sources used for your project. Use MLA or APA documentation. This is the only required writing that applies to all projects. Be sure any sources you use for theoretical or historical or linguistic background are reliable ones, and that you document all sources accurately in your bibliography. If you wish to add annotations, guidelines for annotated bibliographies can be found at the Purdue U. OWL, http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_annotatedbib.html.

• Any pertinent format or media may be used in the oral reports (or online submissions): give an overview of the work you did on your project and/or use handouts, whiteboard, recordings, posters, videotape, computer, etc. Be sure to arrange in advance for any equipment or photocopying you may need.

• Plan on giving a 7-minute report in class at a time we will schedule. The audience for your report is this class. Feel free to bring in guests; engage the class in discussion or debate; or ask us to pretend we are a special kind of audience, such as a ninth grade class. The class will be asked to offer comments and questions after your report.

• Do not plagiarize (obviously). If you use anything in your reports that you did not write yourself, or quote from any of your sources in written material you submit, be sure to acknowledge where you got those words or ideas.

Proposal for Project in Linguistics

Name (List others in group, too, if part of a group project):


Statement of Purpose of Project:

Scope or Parts of Project (indicate how your portion fits into whole project if working with a group):

Procedures and Methods to be Used:

Resources to be Used (may include people and written sources):

Final Form in which Project will be Presented:
(must include annotated bibliography)

April 17, 2017