Honors Program

Honors Concentration

Linguistics concentrators with strong interests in linguistic research and a strong academic record are encouraged to consider an Honors Concentration in Linguistics. The Honors Concentration is intended to provide students with an in-depth research experience, and students who are considering graduate study (in linguistics or another discipline) are especially encouraged to participate in the honors program.

Honors Concentration Requirements

The Honors Concentration in Linguistics requires completion of the requirements for the concentration and, in addition, a senior honors project leading to the honors thesis. The thesis must receive an "honors" evaluation by the thesis readers (the thesis advisor and second reader). Honors concentrators must also meet the requirement set by the College of LSA of a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher through graduation.

The Honors Thesis

The highlight of the honors concentration is the honors thesis, which reports on original research conducted under the supervision of a Linguistics faculty member. Students select their own thesis advisor, based on their specific research interests. Many students are introduced to faculty's research specializations through coursework, but further information is also available on faculty webpages; students may also wish to consult Research and Internship Opportunities. Attending talks and other department events serves as another introduction to linguistics research at Michigan.

Please see the Honors Concentration Guidelines and Declaration Form for more information. Please note that students must file the Honors Thesis declaration by October 15th in order to be eligible for the Honors Concentration in Linguistics.

Recent Honors Theses



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