This section contains information about the squibs, the students' term projects based on linguistic fieldwork conducted over the course of the term with volunteer subjects.
Your purpose in writing this proposal is not only to convince us that you can write an effective paper on your chosen topic, but to also make sure for yourself that you really know what you want to do in this paper. Are you clear about your goal and/or purpose? Writing down what you intend to focus on will help you in organizing your ideas, structuring your intended arguments, and in pointing out what you still need to think about or research.
We will read your proposal to make sure that it is focused enough, relevant enough for the course, etc. We will also give you important feedback on your writing. We will consider your proposed organization as well as all aspects of your language.
The more time that you put into the development of this proposal, the less time you will have to spend organizing the final version of your paper. Your proposal should be at least two to three pages long. The longer it is now, however, the less you will ultimately have to write. You should turn in a preliminary bibliography at this time also. It does not have to be the final version but it should give us an indication of the types of resources you will or have consulted in the development of your paper and proposal.
Your proposal should cover at least the following:
The question should be designed to open a discussion about the complexity of your topic. It should not be a question that can be easily answered by looking up a specific fact. For example, an inadequate question would be: "Does Spanish have vowels?" Or, "How many vowels does Spanish have?" A more interesting question would be how do tense/lax vowels differ in Puerto Rican versus Argentinean Spanish?
In order to do an adequate job on this paper, it is necessary that you do some reading first on your topic. Browse through some of your resources to get a general overview of the topic. It may be that there has never been anything ever written on your topic in the particular language you are working on. Try to be as specific as possible. Don't write simple overgeneralizations. For example, don't tell us, "Spanish has vowels" as an indication of what you have already found out about your topic.
Tell us about your library or internet searches. Write about your subjects and information about their background. Tell us how you conducted or will conduct the interviews, etc.
What is your paper going to contribute to the total sum of human knowledge on this subject? What are you doing that previous work in this area has not done?
Where do you think you are going to have the most trouble doing this project? Are you going to be able to deal with these problems? How? What other resources have you not yet considered? Are there any other aspects of the topic that you have not yet considered?