LING200 - Researching Language



This list of topics has been updated for students graduating in 2010

The deadline for handing in your topic choice form is: Friday 13 March 2009

The topic choice will be available on the LING200 Domino site. soon

If you have any questions, email Kevin Watson,

Project Title
Charles Alderson JCA1. An analysis of pilot - air traffic controller communications via radio telephony.
JCA2. An examination of air accidents records (publicly available on aviation databases) to identify whether and to what extent language, and in particular second language proficiency, is implicated in any accidents or incidents.
JCA3. A study of the implementation plans of national civil aviation authorities to see to what extent they are complying with the language proficiency requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
JCA4. A critical analysis of the ICAO's language proficiency rating scale in order to make proposals for possible revisions and validation.
JCA5. Building a corpus of aviation spoken communications

Important note: please arrange a meeting to speak with Charles before you choose any of these topics, so you fully understand what is required for a dissertation in this area.  Anyone who chooses one of this topics without speaking to Charles first will not be allocated it.

Paul Baker

PB1. Corpus assisted discourse analysis of newspapers

PB2. Construction of gendered and/or sexual identities in everyday talk

PB3. Sociolinguistic variation in the British National Corpus

PB4. Diachronic change in British Corpora

PB5. Language use in computer mediated communication

See further details about Paul Baker's topics

Paul Chilton

PC1. Compare and contrast the use of rhetoric in two recent political speeches.

PC2. Analyse syntactic nominalization and its uses in different kinds of text.

PC3. Is internet "chat" different from face-to-face "chat"?

PC4. Compare conceptual metaphor theory with blending theory.

PC5. Using your knowledge of English and one other language, compare and contrast  some characteristics(s) of both languages, choosing from the following general areas of linguistic structure: (1) grammatical constructions and/or morphology (e.g. tenses, modal verbs, conditional sentences…) (2) lexical domains such as colour terms, spatial prepositions, verbs expression movement and manner of movement, verbs expressing emotions…. (3) patterns of politeness usage.

Please see Paul for further information about these topics.

Jonathan Culpeper
JC1. (Im)politeness analysis of confrontational interactions on TV

JC2. Pragmatic analysis of scripted dialogue, such as plays, films, sitcoms. You will need to focus on a particular aspect, e.g. characterisation, the creation of humour.

JC3. Historical corpus-based studies

JC4. Lexical explorations using the electronic Oxford English Dictionary

JC5. Corpus-based explorations of particular styles or genres

See further details about Jonathan Culpeper's topics

Andrew Hardie

AH1. Early modern journalism 

AH2. Investigating word meaning using informants and corpus data

AH3. Corpus-based investigation of grammar

AH4. Part-of-speech, meaning, and metaphor

AH5. Corpus-based study of child language.

AH6. Creativity and the idiom principle.

See further details about Andrew Hardie's topics

Francis Katamba

FXK1. Normal and disordered acquisition of Phonology 

FXK2. Phonology in second language acquisition 

FXK3. Phonology of loanwords 

FXK4. Topics in morphology (e.g. compounding, the role of affixes, etc.)

FXK5. Pidgin and creole phonology. 

FXK6. Tone languages. 

FXK7. The influence of English on the phonology, morphology and lexicon of some other language

See further details of some of Francis Katamba's topics

Veronika Koller

VK1. Communicating brands in traditional and new media. 

VK2: Public perception of brands

VK3: Metaphors and religious/political/corporate discourse

VK4: Studying an electronic corpus of corporate communication texts 

VK5: Multimodality and gender: texts, visuals, artefacts 

See further details about Veronika Koller's topics

Judit Kormos

JK1. Investigating the development of vocabulary knowledge in second/foreign language learning

JK2. Investigating the motivation of learning modern foreign languages in the UK

JK3. Investigating the motivation of learning English in a selected a country

JK4. Investigating the fluency of second/foreign language speech

JK5. Learning disabilities and foreign/second language acquisition

See Judit for further information about these topics

Uta Papen

UP1. Literacy at home: reading and writing in different communities.

UP2. A critical analysis of public media discourse about literacy

UP3. An investigation of literacy in schools.

UP4. Health literacy: reading and writing in relation to health and health care

UP5. The language of tourism: an analysis of tourism brochures or travel guides.

See further information about Uta Papen's topics

Andrea Révész AR1. Analysing the role of interaction in second language acquisition

AR2. A study of instructed second language acquisition

AR3. Communicative tasks and second language acquisition

AR4. Cognitive processes in second language acquisition

AR5. Investigating individual differences in second language acquisition

Please speak to Andrea for further information about these topics

Gila Schauer

GAS1. A cross-cultural pragmatic investigation of speech acts. 

GAS2. Investigating speech acts in L2 teaching materials. 

GAS3. An investigation of pragmatics and research methodology. 

GAS4. Investigating interlanguage pragmatic developments.

GAS5. An investigation of language learners' pragmatic awareness.

See further details about Gila Schauer's topics

Mark Sebba

MS1. Study of a bilingual/multilingual household's language and literacy practices.

MS2. Study of the language/literacy of a local ethnic minority community in Lancaster (the town not the University), e.g. the Gujarati, Polish or Chinese community.

MS3. Study of local adolescent graffiti including the spelling and word
play practices.


MS4. Study of the spelling and other language practices on one or a related set of websites which display idiosyncratic use of language or spelling, e.g. LOLcats

OR a study of bilingual blogs.

MS5. Study of attitudes towards bilingualism in a particular place (e.g.
in Wales or the west of Scotland) - could be based on a text analysis
(e.g. of newspaper articles) or interviews/questionnaires or a
combination. Alternatively could be about attitudes towards British Sign

Extra option - see Mark about this before you choose it:

MS6. Study of language practices in a temporary community, e.g. seasonal farm workers who come from abroad to work in the summer on a farm. How do they communicate with each other, and with their supervisors? A good topic if you live on such a farm, or want to get a job on one and do a participant study!

Elena Semino ES1. Analysis of the use of metaphor in a novel (with reference to authorial style, characters mind styles, characterisation, or ideological point of view).

ES2. Analysis of the use of metaphor in the works of a particular poet (with reference to authorial style, themes, concerns and world view).

ES3. Analysis of the use of metaphor in politics and the media (focusing on a coherent set of speeches or newspaper articles). 

ES4. Analysis of the use of speech and thought presentation in a particular novel (with particular reference to characterisation and point of view).

ES5. Analysis of the use of speech and thought presentation in the media (with particular reference to a coherent set of newspaper articles). 

Please see Elena for more information about these topics

Mick Short

MHS1. Stylistic exploration of poetry, prose, drama or film (e.g. looking at a small set of poems by the same poet, comparing first and final drafts of texts, comparing openings to dystopic novels, analysing the linguistic and non-linguistic basis of characterisation in a play or film).

MSH2. Testing the application of any particular method  (e.g. foregrounding theory, politeness analysis, viewpoint analysis) or methods of stylistic or pragmatic analysis to literary data (poetry, prose drama or film ).

MSH3. Analysis of speech/writing/thought presentation in a particular novel/short story (some data available for analysis).

MSH4. Analysis of speech/writing/thought presentation in spoken English (some data available for analysis).

MSH5. Analysis of (extract(s) from) a dramatic text to predict in detail (and test?) how it /they would be performed.

Please see Mick for more information about these topics

Anna Siewierska AS1. Variation in subject/verb agreement in English.

AS2. Impersonalization via active and passive constructions.

AS3. Variation in the use of prepositions in English

AS4. What determines word order variation?

AS5. The use of the first person plural in English or another language.

See further details about Anna's topics

Kevin Watson KW1. Phonetic variation and ethnicity in the north-west of England

KW2. An examination of the perception and/or production phonological 'mergers' in accents of English, e.g. 'nurse'/'square' in the north-west

KW3. Investigating Liverpool English plosives - the effect of social class

KW4. An acoustic phonetic investigation of the vowels of a north-western English

KW5. A study of dialect levelling/supralocalisation in a locality of your choice

Please see Kevin for more information about these topics

Last modified by Kevin Watson on 16 January 2009
LAEL, Lancaster University