Re-read the description of the Final
Project assigned for this course. As explained in the
introductory lecture, this project counts for 20% of your overall
course grade. You'll submit the project in three stages. This is
the first of the two preliminary submissions.
For this assignment, you need to answer three questions about
your final project: what, how, and why.
1. What are you going to analyze?
This answer needs to be specific, defining how much material
there is, and exactly where it comes from. For example, you
could answer "a recording I made of myself telling a story to my
roommate", or "register variation in Drake's studio albums", or
"two hours of sports talk radio recorded from FM
97.5 on 10/15/2014", or "Scarlett's lines from the sound
track of the Gone with the Wind DVD", "the text of
U.S. Presidents' Inaugural Addresses, taken from the web site of
the American Presidency Project at UCSB", or "a sample of Barack
Obama's weekly radio addresses, one per month, taken from
www.whitehouse.gov/video", or "Hilda Doolittle reading Helen
in Egypt, taken from PennSound".
You should have your selected material in hand. As a result of
your futher work, or suggestions from your TA, you may extend or
modify this selection later on, but you should have a place to
start by the due date of this assignment.
The material does not need to be in English. You can select
sets for comparision: e.g. read speeches vs. extemporaneous
speeches, or two kinds of news broadcasts, or two different
actors or politicians.
2. How are you going to analyze your
selected material? Be specific, and give at least one real
example of each type of analysis applied to your specific
Your answers can be things like "speech rate", "final-rising
vs. final-falling pitch contours", "deletion of final /t/ or
/d/", "g-dropping", "active vs. passive sentences", "use of be
and be like to introduce quotations", "use of
metonymy", "interruptions", "depth of clausal embedding", and so
on. There are only two requirements: (a) each type of analysis
must be applicable, in a reasonably well-defined and reliable
way, to particular bits of talk or text; (b) you must deal with
at least two levels of linguistic analysis (out of phonetics,
phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics).
3. Why is your analysis interesting?
What point will you use the analysis to make?
Since you haven't done your analysis yet, the best way to
approach this may be to start with the question(s) you will try
to answer.There are no limits on this, except for coherence and
connection to the analysis you do, so pick something you care
Here is a list of some
successful final project topics from 2014 and 2015, with a brief
description of each one. And during the first couple of months of
the course, we'll often point out examples of topics that you
might turn into a final project. If you're still trouble finding a
topic in early November, talk with your TA or the instructor.
Note that you the sooner you choose a topic and get to work, the
better -- but you're free to change your mind if it turns out that
your chosen material is not as interesting or as accessible as you
thought it would be, or if you find something that appeals to you
Links you may find useful:
("top 100 speeches" of the 20th century)
Oyez.org (Supreme Court
materials, including oral arguments and transcripts)
Miller Center of
Public Affairs (U.S. presidential speeches, oral histories,
Program (the secret JFK, Nixon and LBJ tapes)
histories (e.g. National
Association of Music Merchants, Vietnam
(topical interviews on WHYY)
And of course as always, YouTube, Google, Bing, and Yahoo are
Note that you should be able to record on your computer from
streaming sources, just as you can record selections for this kind
of research from audio CDs or from DVDs. If you encounter
technical difficulties, ask you TA (or your ITA).