Students are required to demonstrate that they can carry out a sustained piece of linguistic research on a language other than standard English. The choice of language must be made in consultation with their advisors. Students demonstrate the required in-depth knowledge of the chosen language by completing a research paper on some facet of the language. This process encompasses implementation of all phases of the project, including the choice of research question, the method used to address it (e.g. fieldwork, design of experimental materials or data collection surveys, use of primary and secondary sources), and the analysis of the language data collected. The paper should also convey that the student has a larger understanding of the language and is approaching the research topic within this context.
The choice of language should be made in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Work on non-standard varieties of English is welcome, if the features under investigation are distinct in a substantive way from those of standard English. In recent years, students have investigated a multitude of languages, including: African American Vernacular English, Akan, Arabic, Chuvash, Dagaare, Dogrib, Ende, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mandarin Chinese, Marathi, Matses, Norwegian, Nuxalk, Persian, Picurís, Polish, Portuguese, Samoan, Saramaccan, Seto, Spanish, Turkish, Wan, Welsh, and Yucatec Maya.
Many, but not all, students satisfy the language requirement in conjunction with one of their qualifying papers (QPx). Some instances where students have completed the language requirement independently of the QP requirement include:
Middle Welsh Poetic Convention, Matthew Adams. The paper argues that the rhyming and alliterative characteristics of cynghanedd, a Middle Welsh poetic convention, could be encapsulated in an optimality-theoretic grammar that enforces non-local agreement relations among consonants and prosodic units in Welsh, arguing that pitch accent, not stress, is a primitive of the metrical system.
Norwegian when-clauses, Nola M. Stephens. Published in the proceedings of the LFG06 Conference.
Stress, Length, and Moraic Trochees in Northern Tiwa Picurís. Stephanie Shih. [Abstract]
Examples of papers where the requirement is satisfied in conjunction with a QP requirement can be found on the QP Information page.
Further details about the language requirement can be found in the Ph.D. Handbook.