Linguistics 001      Final Project Examples  

Here are a few examples of successful project topics from the 2014 and 2015 editions of LING001.

  1. Tracking Taylor Swift's Evolution from Country Starlet to Pop Superstar: "What are the linguistic differences in Taylor Swift's new pop song, Blank Space, compared to her first country single, Tim McGraw?"
  2. Yoruba Tone Perception in Context: "Native speakers are not always able to distinguish isolated Yoruba words that differ only in tone, but they recognize them accurately in sentence context."
  3. The role of text and speech in the interpretation of paraprosdokians: "A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the second part of a phrase causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. In this experiment, reaction time measures suggested that spoken cues play an important role in the process."
  4. Rhoticity in the speech of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Although TR and FDR came from similar regional and socio-economic backgrounds, their life histories were different: TR was a sickly child who was mostly home schooled; FDR attended upper-class boarding schools where the Transatlantic accent was the norm. This may explain why FDR's recordings show only 'linking r', while TR has 21% rhoticity in non-linking contexts."
  5. A comparative linguistic analysis of Broca's aphasia and Wernicke's aphasia: "How are syntax, semantics, and phonetics disrupted for people with Broca's and Wenicke's aphasia, and how does this disruption affect the ways in which they communicate?"
  6. The Linguistics of Death Metal -- "Of" in Behemoth and Bloodbath: "I show that the frequency of the word of is 10 times higher in Death Metal lyrics than in other genres of popular music, and argue that this is due to subversive imitation of Old Testament (King James Version) language."
  7. A Morphological and Pragmatic Investigation of the Michif Language: "Analysis of a text written in Michif, an indigenous Canadian language (of French and Cree origins), clarifies the nature of Michif as a 'mixed language'."
  8. Association Between Nationality of Accent and the Perception of Intelligence: "When given a neutral statement, almost all listeners believed that the British accent sounded more intelligent."
  9. Gender Differences in Disney Songs: "Males in this sample of Disney songs are represented as having more advanced vocabulary, and females are represented with more complex sentence structure".
  10. 'They Said Xe Said': A Study of Non-binary Pronoun Usage and its Effect on Conversation: "The goal of the experiments was to determine whether the use of non-binary pronouns detracts from casual conversation. The findings were that they is easier to use but harder to understand, while xe is the opposite; in either case the difficulties are small and improve with practice."
  11. Linguistic Differences Between Dominican and Puerto Rican Spanish: "I thought it would be interesting to compare Dominican Spanish, which is often stigmatized, to Puerto Rican Spanish, which is not criticized to the same extent although it is similar in many ways to Dominican."
  12. The Art of the Promo: CM Punk, a Linguist, and Cicero walk into a bar...: "A promo is a monologue that attempts to convince the audience to buy into a professional wrestler's current persona and interactios. The larger the audience pop (reaction), the more prestige that the wrestler achieves. Based on a comparative study of two promos directed at the same opponent by different wrestlers, I argue that the features of effective WWE promos are closely paralleled by features of Cicero's rhetoric."
  13. Pikey and Shelta: A Socio-Linguistic, Phonologic, and Pragmatic Analysis of Irish Traveller Linguistics in Guy Richie's Snatch: The dominant language of the Irish Traveller community, Shelta, features prominently in Guy Ritchie's crime-comedy film Snatch (2000). The film features a Brad Pitt character, Mickey O'Neil, who is an Irish Traveller (known as a "pikey" in the film) who utilizes the Shelta language as his character's dialect.
  14. Spells and Stereotypes: The Gender Bias in Harry Potter's Spells: The question I am asking in this paper is if subversion of traditional gender roles is represented linguistically in the films. In the magical world of Harry Potter, the greatest source of power and action are the spells, conjured by all experienced wizards and taught at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Do these spells and their linguistic origins reflect this progressive vision of reversed gender roles or will the female characters be restricted to traditional definitions of a woman's place in society?


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