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)
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You need a specific topic, a guiding question, "Shakespeare's Hamlet" is not suitable; "Self-Referentiality in John Barth's 'Lost in the Funhouse" is. Biographical information on the author is almost always irrelevant and should be left out. Always assume the texts you are discussing to be familiar – a plot summary is superfluous.
At the end of your introduction, always formulate a thesis statement clearly anticipating your main argument in the essay.
A full seminar paper should have about ten pages of net text (plus title page, bibliography etc.). The minimum structure includes title page, table of contents, introduction, your main text, some form of conclusion, and a bibliography.
Please leave a right margin of about 4cm for corrections.
Be selective with www-resources; check their scholarly credentials; an "Online-Schülerhilfe" with biographical and interpretive notes about major authors and texts is not a scholarly source.
All references should be made in footnotes. Cf. the model passage below for sample citations of primary texts, monographs, essays in collections and in scholarly journals. If you prefer, the MLA style with short references in brackets in the text and a list of works cited at the end is also acceptable. But please be consistent!
The bibliography should be divided into "Primary Texts" and "Secondary Material" and should be alphabetically ordered in both sections. Here, the format is: Empson, Wiliam, Milton's God (Cambridge: CUP, 21981).
In order to acquaint yourself with scholarly research tools, use the MLA Online Bibliography available on the website of the UB to find scholarly sources on your subject. In addition to books and journals from the UB, use at least one book that you ordered via inter-library loan (Fernleihe) and one essay or article ordered electronically from another library and indicate them in your bibliography.
For a short assignment of 2-3 pages during the semester, you do not need a title page and a table of contents, nor do you need sources ordered via inter-library loan, but the same guidelines for citing sources apply.
Every time you use information from another source, this must be indicated. Always distinguish between information you take over and reformulate entirely in your own words (in this case, a footnote is enough) and passages in which you use formulations from the source, even if it is only a few words (here, everything you directly quote from a source must be cited in quotation marks).
Using material from the internet (or from any other source) without acknowledging quotations in not acceptable. Since there have been a lot of cases of plagiarism from the web in recent years, we check every Hausarbeit for unacknowledged sources from the internet.
Include the following text at the end of every Hausarbeit and sign it: "Hiermit erkläre ich, dass ich diese Arbeit eigenständig verfasst habe und alle wörtlich oder dem Sinn nach aus anderen Quellen übernommenen Passagen als solche gekennzeichnet sind. Mir ist bekannt, dass Plagiatsversuche zentral registriert werden und in schweren Fällen ein Ausschluss vom weiteren Studium geprüft werden wird." Papers will not be accepted without this note.
Model Passage for Bibliographical Conventions A convenient entry into the maze of critical debate about Paradise Lost is afforded by two passages from Empson'snotorious but now dated Milton's God:
Model Passage for Bibliographical Conventions
A convenient entry into the maze of critical debate about Paradise Lost is afforded by two passages from Empson'snotorious but now dated Milton's God:
- [O]n one point Cromwell was impeccable, and appears to be unique among dictators; his admitted and genuine bother, for a number of years, was to find some way of establishing a Parliament under which he could feel himself justified in stopping being dictator.1 After accepting the sacrifice of the Son [God] is still an autocrat, grossly inconsiderate and at times spiteful (a form of military discipline perhaps), but all his actions are purified by his eventual high purpose, which is to stop being an autocrat.2
In his essay on Milton's theodicy, Dennis Danielson claims that "… to believe or not to believe in this God is such a fundamental thing that one cannot realistically join the conversation created by Paradise Lost and expect one's belief or unbelief to go unaddressed."3 In this context, Christopher Hill cites a crucial passage: "Since thy original lapse, true liberty / Is lost, which always with right reason dwells." (XII, 83f.)4
1 William Empson, Milton's God (Cambridge: CUP, rev.1981), 144. [for a book]
2 Empson, 323. [for further references to the same book]
3 Dennis Danielson, "The Fall of Man and Milton's Theodicy", in: D. Danielson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Milton (Cambridge: CUP, 1989), 113-129, 113. [for an essay in a collection of essays]. Cf. also VirginiaMollenkott, "Milton's Rejection of the Fortunate Fall", Milton Quarterly 6:1 (1972), 1-5, 4 [for an essay in a scholarly journal].
4 John Milton, Paradise Lost, in: Poetical Works, ed. Alastair Fowler (London: Longman, 21998); all further references with book and line indicated parenthetically in the text will be to this edition [for the primary text you are citing most frequently].