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The Honors Program in Linguistics provides majors with the in-depth research experience of writing an honors thesis under the close supervision of a faculty member. Majors who are considering graduate study (whether in Linguistics or another field) are especially encouraged to participate. After finding a faculty supervisor near the end of their junior year, a major interested in honors must email their supervisor’s name and their proposed thesis title to by November 1st. A draft of the thesis is due after Winter Break, and final versions must be submitted by March to be considered for departmental and college-wide thesis prizes. Notes:

  • Honors in Linguistics is separate from the Honors College. Anyone may pursue Honors in Linguistics.
  • The only departmental requirement for Honors is the submission of an approved thesis. The College, however, additionally requires an overall GPA minimum of 3.4 across all courses, not just those in Linguistics.
  • Honors students may, but are not required to, register for one or two special independent study courses (LING 495/496, 1-3 credits, non-repeatable). These do count towards the limit of 6 independent study or experiential practice credits countable towards the degree. 

Recent Honors Theses


Erika Adsit
The Morphosyntax of Case in Cuzco Quechua: Evidence for a New Type of Nominalized Clause
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires, Second Reader: Samuel Epstein

Amelia Flynn
Diachronic Development of Haitian Creole
Supervisor: Marlyse Baptista, Second Reader: Sarah Grey Thomason

Isabel McKay
Laughing with Letters: A Corpus Investigation of the Use of Written Laughter on Twitter
Supervisor: Deborah Keller-Cohen, Second Reader: Robin Queen
Isabel received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics, and from the Honors Program, a Virginia L. Voss Memorial Award for excellence in writing by Honors women

Gabrielle Valentic
The Influences of Teacher Multilingual Linguistic Response of Spanish-English Bilingual Student Linguistic Output
Supervisor: Carmel O'Shannessy, Second Reader: Marlyse Baptista


Sarah Harper
Phonetic Transfer in Third Language Acquisition: L2 Spanish Influence on the Production of L3 Portuguese Voiced Stops
Supervisor: Pam Beddor, Second Reader: Nicholas Henriksen.
Sarah received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics


Rachel Bayer
Null Subjects in Creole Languages.
Supervisor: Marlyse Baptista, Second Reader: Acrisio Pires.
Rachel received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics

Julia Bogen
An Evaluation of Written Recasts and Metalinguistics Information on Second Language Learner
Uptake Supervisor: Nick Ellis. Second Reader: Carmel O'Shannessy

Amy Hemmeter
Gender and Formality Effects on the Production of Vocal Fry.
Supervisor: Carmel O'Shannessy Second Reader: Robin Queen

Patrick Kelley
Semantic Processing of Escher Sentences: Seemingly Null, informatively Full
Supervisor: Jonathan Brennan Second Reader: Samuel Epstein
Frances Morton The Sex Trade: Language Ideology Behind "Sex Work" and "Sex Trafficking" Supervisor: Carmel O'Shannessy Second Reader: Debby Keller-Cohen


Liam Considine
Early Linguistic Interactions: Distributional Properties of Verbs in Syntactic Patterns
Supervisor: Nick Ellis, Second Reader: Ezra Keshet.
Liam received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics

Emily Coppess
The Resetting of the Null Subject Parameter in Old and Middle English
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires, Second Reader: Sam Epstein.
Emily received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics

Sarah Hansen
An Analysis of Linguistic Discrimination: Undergraduate Reactions to Nonnative Instructors
Supervisor: Robin Queen, Second Reader: Carmel O'Shannessy

Lucy Zhao
A Cultural Comparison of Spatial Metaphors in Chinese and English
Supervisor: Ben Fortson, Second Reader: Ezra Keshet


Gifford Edward Reed Blaylock
The Phonetics of Default Consonant Epenthesis
Supervisor: Patrice Beddor, Second Reader: Andries Coetzee

Jaclyn Zetta Cohen
An Analysis of Classification: A Look at the Semantic Function of Mandarin Classifiers
Supervisor: Ezra Keshet, Second Reader: William Baxter

Jaclyn Fiscus
The L Words: Lesbians and Language Investigating Linguistics Performance of Sexuality on The L Word
Supervisors: Anne Curzan and Robin Queen

Bryn Hauk
The Vitality of Veps: Preserving Language Across Provincial Borders
Supervisor: Steven Abney, Second Reader: Robin Queen.
Bryn received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics, and from the Honors Program, a Virginia L. Voss Memorial Award for excellence in writing by senior Honors women

Jasmine Hentschel
Idhar-Udhar Se: The Use of English in Modern Hindi Cinema
Supervisor: Sally Thomason, Second Reader: Carmel O’Shannessy

Shang Kong
A Minimalist Analysis of Chinese wh-Question
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires, Second Reader: Samuel Epstein.
Shang received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding honors thesis in Linguistics

J. Lee McMahan
The Processing of English Definite Determiner Phrases & the Eye-tracking Research Methodology
Supervisor: Rick Lewis. Second Reader: Samuel Epstein


Katharine Lee Barcy
Parlez-vous Anglais?: Rhythmic Transfer in French Accented English.
Supervisors: Andries Coetzee & John Swales.

Marcus Paul Berger
Mengarini Revisited: A Translation and Analysis of Selections from Grammatica Linguae Selicae.
Supervisors: Sally Thomason & Ben Fortson.

Lindsay Marie Blackwell
Changing the Possibilities: Narrative Discourse and Conversational Strategies in Instant Messaging.
Supervisors: Robin Queen & Anne Curzan.

Gabriel Palmer Pompilius
The Vowels of Alemannic in Diachrony: The Progression of a German Dialect Through Three Eras.
Supervisors: Robert Kyes & Robin Queen.


Rosalie Edmunds
"They'll be doing away with those buffalo": Language, Culture, and History in a Salish-Pend d'Oreille Narrative.
Awarded 2009 Virginia Voss Award for excellence in writing by senior honors women.

Charles Fletcher III
La Lengua Rosa: A Sociolinguistic Study of Gay Spanish in Madrid.

Alan Mishler
Voice Onset Time in Japanese Voiceless Stops: Domain-initial Strengthening and Perceptual Salience.
Awarded 2009 Marshall Sahlins Social Science Award from LSA Honors and 2009 Matt Alexander Award for best honors thesis in Linguistics.

Ania Musial
Overcoming the Subset Problem: The Subset Problem and You, or, Maximum Entropy Modeling of L2 Phonotactic Acquisition.



Lauren Friedman The Loss of Old English Null Expletive 'it': How a Language Can Transform from One that Allows Null Expletives to One that Disallows them.
Awarded the 2008 Matt Alexander Award for best honors thesis in Linguistics and 2008 Virginia Voss Award for best honors thesis by a woman writer.
Song Hee Kim Various Functions of the Discourse Marker "well" in selected Speech Events from Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English.
Emma Caitlin Schroder The Status of Loanwords in Wolof.
Emma was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in Linguistics for her outstanding combination of scholarship and leadership in the undergraduate program.
Justin Ryan Wedes Bare Necessities: A Quantitative Study of Bare Noun Frequency in Cape Verdean Creole.



Sehar Azad The Doctor's Orders: Prescription of Eighteenth-Century Grammarians and the Implications for the Written Language.
2007 Recipient of the Matt Alexander Award for the best honors thesis in Linguistics.
Edward Cormany Syntactic Models for Coordination in English and Latin
Louann Fang The Restaurant Workplace as a Discourse Community: A Case Study of Language Contact and Communication Ideology
Alexa Feldman The Etymology, Use and Perception of Taboo Language
Dave Kush Compound Interest: Applying a Serialization Phrase Structure to Hindi Verbal Compounds
Caitlin Light German in the Diaspora: Commonalities in Emigrant Dialects
Joseph F. Sawka Where Do Leading Questions Lead?: Working Toward a Linguistic Definition of Leading in Courtroom Discourse



Charles Crissman Incorporating Reference Time into a Binding Approach to Sequence of Tense
Kellan Cummings Contact, Malta: The ‘Language Question’ and its Implications for Linguistics Scholarship
Nayana Dhavan A Non-Absolutive and Unified Movement Analysis of Hindi Passives and Ergatives
Jori Lindley Linguistic Motivations Behind ‘Incorrect’ Pronoun Forms in English Coordinate NPs
Julia Malette A Sociolinguistic Case Study on Bilingual Education in Honduras
Erika Picciotto Phonological Transfer in Second Language Acquisition



Natasha Abner Resultatives gone minimal
Sunny Park The Acquisition of the English Article System by Advanced Korean Learners of English
Samantha Sefton Nasals and Nasalization in American English: Implications for Theories of Coarticulation
Nina Simms Running head: Speaker Awareness and Prosodic Disambiguation
Dara Smith Sounding Male or Female Online: Perceived Indexes of Gender in Online Communication
Sarah Van Bonn French and English Journal Article Abstracts from General and Applied Lingusitcs: A Comparative Study



Erika Alpert The Role of Coarticulation in the Origin of Canadian Raising
Eriko Atagi Simply Accented or Simply Incomprehensible: A Study of the Factors Involved in the Perception of Accented Speech
Aaron Isley A Linguistic Account for Cult Phenomena
Max Montesino An OCP-Based Description of Nasal Harmony in Optimality Theory
Keli Rulf The Syntax, Semantics, and Early Acquisition of One



Jessica Cooke Does subcategorization frequency influence eye movements in a passive listening paradigm?
Kathleen Shaw A Study of the Acquisition of Variable Vowel Systems Among African American Children