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linguistics

    In many topics, it is possible to compare English with Hungarian (or some other language known to our staff), pointing out issues of translation or language teaching, and/or typical foreigners’ mistakes.

    Instead of “Typical Hungarian mistakes” you may deal with mistakes made by other learners.

    There are no internal deadlines on thesis title submission in DELG. Just make sure you find your tutor and head of DELG (Dr Péter Szigetvári) in due time for the formalities.

    Syntax

    • Future-like elements in English
      be going to, be about to, be to, be expected to
    • Modal Auxiliaries: When do they express different meanings and when do they express similar meanings?
      Can I or May I? I can/may play the didgeridoo? It may/might happen? You may/might leave the room? That might/should/will be enough?
    • Tense and aspect in English: how many tenses and aspects are there?
      Morphology/syntax; distribution; tense/aspect and finiteness
    • The subjunctive mood in English: does it exist and where?
      Present/past subjunctive; main/subordinate clause subjunctive
    • How many prepositions are there?
      Is in front of a preposition? And touching?
    • Topicalization or left dislocation?
      This dish I can’t recommend. That dish, I wouldn’t recommend it
    • Cleft and pseudo-cleft sentences: what are they good for?
      It is Joe who brought it. What Joe said was funny.
    • Comparison in adjectives and adverbs.
      Pleasanter or more pleasant? Fewer or less? Most quickly or the most quickly?
    • Future: Simple versus Progressive
      The train will be arriving soon. What will happen to the money?
    • The Split Infinitive
      I decided to fully describe / fully to describe / to describe fully…?
    • Some and any in negative and non-negative clauses
      If somebody/anybody tries to take my place… I wonder if somebody/anybody could…
    • The status of that in restrictive relatives: relative pronoun or complementiser?
      the man who/that I saw, the man to who(m)/*that I spoke, *the man who that I saw
    • The status of whether: is it a complementiser?
      I wonder whether to go/*I am anxious for to go. It depends on whether/if he’s there. It depends on whether/*if or not he’s there.
    • What relatives in non-standard English.
      a man what I know, the reason what he gave, the house what I live in, but *the house in what I live
    • The relationship between phrasal verbs and prepositional passives
      the plane took off — the bed was slept in
    • Sentential vs. constituent negation: is the distinction real?
      he may not have read the article / he may have not read the article
    • Pre-, Post- and Central determiners: how many different types of determiner are there?
      all these many questions, each of her several problems
    • Inversion: is it the same in interrogatives, conditionals and negative fronting?
      Have you seen him?, had I seen him (I would have …), Hardly had I seen him
    • Typical Hungarian (German, etc.) mistakes in the use of the English articles
      *He became pilot. *?I love the music. *I love Renaissance(?). *Glasgow of today.
    • Typical Hungarian (German, etc.) mistakes in English word-order.
      *Who did take my pen? *Dickens in his book says… *Near Bük have they a house.
    • Are semi-auxiliaries auxiliaries? And marginal auxiliaries?
      have to—ought to—need(s) to—want to—was to, etc.
    • Special cases/meanings/uses of “the genitive”
      a woman of great beauty—the City of London—cow’s milk—Down’s syndrome
    • Light verbs: do they have meaning? Are they idioms?
      make a turn—take a look—do a favour, etc.
    • Different ways of expressing causation in English (and Hungarian)
      had him pay—made him pay—caused him to pay—forced him to pay, etc.
    • The special syntax of English proverbs
      Easy come, easy go.—First come, first served.—Once bitten, twice shy. etc.
    • The special syntax of English news headlines
      Italy strikes mushroom.—Wheely bin cat woman charged. etc.
    • Sentence stress: contrast and emphasis
      Liz NOTICED Joe, but HE didn’t notice HER. — Oh, I DO apologize.

    Phonology

    • The present state of “cure-lowering”
      poor = pour? tour = tore?
    • The “Carrot Rule” in American English
      marry = Mary = merry? mirror = squirrel?
    • The Glottal Stop in Standard British and in London popular speech
      bottle = bo’l? not enough = no’ enough? butter = bu’er?
    • The “stop”-vowel in British and American
      shop = sharp? passable = possible? God = “Gawd”?
    • The th-sounds: how are (and were) they replaced by foreigners?
      Check older Hungarian dictionaries/textbooks; ask French/German/Italian etc. people.
    • Compounds in English and Hungarian: definition, stress, spelling.
      Are the following compounds: global warming, paternity suit, apple tree, railway?
    • Diphthongization of the long high vowels
      Are /iː/ and /uː/ pronounced as diphthongs: tree, mean, feet, two, moon, boot?
    • The Low Rising Tone: its nature and use.
      Check handbooks and compare. Contrast with Hungarian.
    • Words beginning with re-/de-/pre: how is the vowel pronounced?
      Compare decorate, detective, December, de-ice, etc.
    • Intrusive-R: how long has it existed and how widespread is it?
      vanilla[r] ice, we saw[r] it, a spa[r] in Surrey
    • Stressed prepositions: when do they occur?
      Finish it for me. Who with? During the lecture. etc.
    • Length of vowels and consonants in English: diphthongs, geminates
      be—been—beet; black ace—black case; kiss Tom—kissed Tom; Hung. szvetter
    • Palatalization in English and Hungarian
      H. ússz—moss—tetszik/tetsszen/tessen; E nature—mature—grandeur—amateur
    • A comparative analysis of transcription systems for English: aim and usefulness
      move = mu:v—moov—múv; centrifuge = sentrɪfjuːʤ—sentrifyooj—szentrifjúdzs
    • The phonological aspects of loanword adaptation in English
      French genre, Russian Gorbachev, Spanish macho, Italian pizza
    • Yod Dropping across the Sea: /uː/ and /juː/ in British and in American English
      tune—duty—mature—endure—avenue—overdue etc.

    Morphology

    • Negative prefixes in English
      The use of non-, un-, in/il/ir- (dis-, mis-); their assimilated forms
    • “Ethnonyms” in English: Are there any patterns?
      Nepalese, Turkish, Kuwaiti, Canadian, Rumanian, Cuban, Malay
    • Irregular past tense forms: Are there any patterns?
      blew, flew, drew, thought, brought, sought, meant, dealt, felt
    • Vacillation in regularity–irregularity: how irregularities disappear
      dived—dove, learned—learnt, dreamed—dreamt; Shakespeare: holp > PresE helped
    • Rapidly spreading derivational suffixes: -able and -ize/-ise.
      downloadable, un-put-downable; vandalize, computerize…

    Lexicon and dictionaries

    • Style labels in English dictionaries: different editions or different dictionaries (or both) compared for the treatment of various labels
    • Style, register, etc. labels in dictionaries of English
    • Grammar in English dictionaries: what, how much, where, how
    • The lexicon/grammar divide in dictionaries (English)
    • Major review article of a dictionary /of different editions of the same work

    General

    • Linguistic punning in English. Based on data analysis, old or current
      We called him “tortoise”, because he taught us!
    • Aesthetic judgments on languages. “beautiful” and “ugly”
      Field work: ask people to judge recorded passages. Which is most “pleasant”?
    • Condemned innovations in recent English
      Forms that purists try to eradicate: there’s four people; didn’t ought to have said; etc.
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