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.
- Honors in Linguistics is separate from the Honors Program. Students may pursue Honors in Linguistics even if they have not had any previous affiliation with the Honors Program.
- 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.
Independent study courses
- 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 allowed for the Linguistics major.
Thesis Writing Coffee Hour
- To help with the process of writing the thesis, throughout the Fall and the Winter terms the department organizes a Thesis Writing Coffee Hour - a monthly meeting where students report what they are working on, on the progress they make, arising issues, etc. A different faculty member will be present at each meeting and possibly graduate students as well, in order to provide the best feedback for the students’ work. The meetings are not meant to take much time beyond attendance. The Coffee Hour is optional, but once students agree to participate, they commit to attending for the semester. The Coffee Hour is in addition to the independent studies courses students can take (Ling 495 and Ling 496). Students considering writing a thesis are encouraged to attend a meeting in the Winter of their junior year so they become familiar with the format of the Coffee Hour and meet students currently in the process of writing their thesis.
- LSA honors prizes. For more details about these, please check the LSA Honors Program website.
- The Linguistics Department's Matt Alexander Award. The student's advisor nominates the student for this award.
- Find a faculty supervisor near the end of your junior year.
- Email your supervisor's name and proposed thesis title to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1st.
- Submit a first draft of the thesis after the break in early March.
- The departmental deadline for a thesis to be considered for LSA awards and the Matt Alexander Award will be the Tuesday before the LSA awards deadline (see below); by this Tuesday the thesis and a nominating letter need to be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies and to the Student Services Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Nguyen.
- The LSA-determined deadline for nominations for the Honors Thesis Awards changes annually, but is typically in early April; please check the LSA Honors Program website.
- For all honors theses in the Linguistics Department, the final deadline for the thesis and the readers’ reports to be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies and to the Student Services Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Nguyen: May 1st.
Antipassives in Montana Salish
Supervisor: Sarah Gray Thomason
Deconstructing Verb Particles Constructions
Supervisor: Elaine McNulty
This student was awarded the 2018 Matt Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Linguistics.
Can Truncation in Montana Salish Be Predictable and Prosodic?
Supervisor: Sarah Gray Thomason
The Possible Effects of Formal Second Language Instruction on Conscious Syntactic Knowledge of One's Native Language.
Supervisor: Elaine McNulty.
Taglish in Metro Manila: An Analysis of Tagalog-English Code-Switching.
Supervisor: Marlyse Baptista.
Joseph received the Matt Alexander Award for an outstanding Honors thesis in Linguistics.
No Honors Theses
The Morphosyntax of Case in Cuzco Quechua: Evidence for a New Type of Nominalized Clause
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires, Second Reader: Samuel Epstein
Diachronic Development of Haitian Creole
Supervisor: Marlyse Baptista, Second Reader: Sarah Grey Thomason
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
The Influences of Teacher Multilingual Linguistic Response of Spanish-English Bilingual Student Linguistic Output
Supervisor: Carmel O'Shannessy, Second Reader: Marlyse Baptista
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
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
An Evaluation of Written Recasts and Metalinguistics Information on Second Language Learner
Uptake Supervisor: Nick Ellis. Second Reader: Carmel O'Shannessy
Gender and Formality Effects on the Production of Vocal Fry.
Supervisor: Carmel O'Shannessy Second Reader: Robin Queen
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
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
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
An Analysis of Linguistic Discrimination: Undergraduate Reactions to Nonnative Instructors
Supervisor: Robin Queen, Second Reader: Carmel O'Shannessy
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
The L Words: Lesbians and Language Investigating Linguistics Performance of Sexuality on The L Word
Supervisors: Anne Curzan and Robin Queen
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
Idhar-Udhar Se: The Use of English in Modern Hindi Cinema
Supervisor: Sally Thomason, Second Reader: Carmel O’Shannessy
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.
"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.
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.
Overcoming the Subset Problem: The Subset Problem and You, or, Maximum Entropy Modeling of L2 Phonotactic Acquisition.
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.
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.
Syntactic Models for Coordination in English and Latin
The Restaurant Workplace as a Discourse Community: A Case Study of Language Contact and Communication Ideology
The Etymology, Use and Perception of Taboo Language
Compound Interest: Applying a Serialization Phrase Structure to Hindi Verbal Compounds
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
Incorporating Reference Time into a Binding Approach to Sequence of Tense
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires, Second Reader: Sam Epstein
Awarded Highest Honors, the Linguistics Outstanding Graduate Senior Award., and the University of Michigan Honors Sidney Fine Teaching Award.
Contact, Malta: The ‘Language Question’ and its Implications for Linguistics Scholarship
A Non-Absolutive and Unified Movement Analysis of Hindi Passives and Ergatives
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires; Second Reader: Sam Epstein.
Awarded Highest Honors, the Matthew Alexander Award for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Linguistics, and the University of Michigan Honors V. Voss Award for Excellence in Academic Writing.
Linguistic Motivations Behind ‘Incorrect’ Pronoun Forms in English Coordinate NPs
A Sociolinguistic Case Study on Bilingual Education in Honduras
Phonological Transfer in Second Language Acquisition
Resultatives gone minimal
Supervisor: Acrisio Pires; Second Reader: Sam Epstein.
Awarded Highest Honors, the University of Michigan Honors V. Voss Award for Excellence in Academic Writing, and Linguistics Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.
The Acquisition of the English Article System by Advanced Korean Learners of English
Nasals and Nasalization in American English: Implications for Theories of Coarticulation
Running head: Speaker Awareness and Prosodic Disambiguation
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 Lingusitics: A Comparative Study
The Role of Coarticulation in the Origin of Canadian Raising
Simply Accented or Simply Incomprehensible: A Study of the Factors Involved in the Perception of Accented Speech
A Linguistic Account for Cult Phenomena
An OCP-Based Description of Nasal Harmony in Optimality Theory
The Syntax, Semantics, and Early Acquisition of One
Does subcategorization frequency influence eye movements in a passive listening paradigm?
A Study of the Acquisition of Variable Vowel Systems Among African American Children