Please refer to the following guidelines when preparing...

General Guidelines

  • Linguistics Style Sheet (pdf) [July, 2013]
  • How to read research papers (pdf)
  • Template for research papers (rtf)
  • Guidelines for oral presentations (pdf)
  • Presentation Template (ppt)

Theses (Abschlussarbeiten)

length:

  • Lehramt – Schriftliche Hausarbeit: ca. 60 pages
  • Magisterarbeit: ca. 70-80 pages
  • Bachelorarbeit: ca. 25-30 pages

(based on the style sheet for seminar papers)

requirements:

  • combination of theory and application, i.e. working with data & conducting at least some linguistic analyses of your own
  • preferrably written in English

some examples of topics that were accepted in the past:

  • Lexical Change in Present-day English: A case study of the IT lexicon
  • International Communication: English as Lingua Franca versus artificial languages
  • Middle English Phraseology: Native Developments and Foreign Influences
  • Humour in advertising:A comparison of British and German TV ads
  • Metaphors in Political Speech
  • Idioms in Second-Language Learning

Final Written Exams

four-hour essay on a linguistic topic

  • for Lehramt modularisiert to be based on modules VI or VIII
  • extent of topic to be prepared: roughly one seminar (e.g. politeness; Old English; semantic change…)
  • literature for preparation: ca. five references (books, chapters, articles), around 300-400 pages – the literature list needs to be agreed on with me and the final version to be handed in six weeks before the exam date by the latest; for Lehramt by February 1 and July 1 respectively
  • type of essay: a well-structured research-paper type of essay with a proper thesis statement and line of argumentation; you will usually be expected to apply your knowledge to an example provided or integrate an analysis into your essay
  • length of essay: ca. 10-14 pages (depending on your handwriting!)

Example (based on a seminar entitled Cognitive Linguistics):

The following excerpt from the beginning of a newspaper article is full of instances of ‘non-literal’ language. Choose examples from the text to illustrate how (1) Conceptual Metaphor Theory and (2) Blending Theory explain such usages and their effects. Compare and evaluate the two theories in the light of your application to the examples.
Sapir and Whorf: until recently these names were dirty words among linguists. They were remembered mostly as the architects of an infamous theory, the “linguistic relativity hypothesis”, arguing that there was a connection between language and “worldview”, as they called it, and claiming that language was to some extent organised and structured by these worldviews. Language thus was not autonomous – heresy, of course, for the new linguists of the 1960s and 1970s. The Chomskyan steamroller crushed Sapir and Whorf and made sure they were struck off the linguistics canon. (…)
(Jan Blommaert, “Why we are as good or bad as our language”, Guardian Weekly, Learning English Supplement, 21.10.2005, p. 7)

Final Oral Exams

Lehramt modularisiert: 40 minutes

Magister Hauptfach: 45 minutes

  • extent: two larger topics (e.g. word-formation; sociolinguistics; Early Modern English) or three smaller topics (e.g. compounding; language and gender; the Great Vowel Shift)
  • literature for preparation: ca. 8-10 references, distributed fairly evenly between the topics – the literature list needs to be agreed on with me and the final version to be handed in six weeks before the exam date by the latest; for Lehramt by February 1 and July 1 respectively
  • exam topics can be based on actual classes that you took or can be put together individually