Choosing a Thesis Topic

Deciding what to write my thesis on has become a greater challenge than I might have anticipated. There are a number of subjects that tempt me, but I find each, in some way, inadequate.

Here’s a brief list:

  1. The Syntax of the Hellenistic Greek Noun Phrase
  2. The Greek Pronominal System: An Analysis of Its Morphology and Meaning
  3. A Comparison of Role and Reference Grammar and Lexical Functional Grammar with Reference to Hellenistic Greek:
  4. Predicate Types & Verbal Semantics in Hellenistic Greek

As you can see my ideas move from focused closely on Greek itself to broader linguistic theory with quite a bit in the middle too.

Here’s a list of why I wouldn’t want to write on each of them:

  1. I’ve already written quite a bit on the NP on my blog. While that might make writing a thesis easier, I would feel as if I’m doing something I’ve already done.
  2. I have some ideas about how to treat pronouns as a unified system rather than disassociated parts with little reference to the others that we see in grammars, but its the idea that I’m probably least interested in writing about for a thesis.
  3. Differences between linguistic frameworks fascinate me. LFG and RRG are two frameworks that don’t often get compared to each other and doing such a comparison would be profitable to the broader linguistic literature, but would hold very little value for those who are interested primarily in Greek and that makes me unsure of the idea–though this idea would probably require at least writing a partial grammar sketch covering a good chunk of the grammar of the language in the formalisms of both frameworks. This, by itself, might be useful to others beyond linguistics or could provide a basis for moving forward on a larger grammar project (which I intend to do at some point–and in some ways I’ve already started it).
  4. I have a comfortable grasp of tense and aspect in Greek, but larger issues of verbal semantics where tense and aspect intersect with other categories such as lexical semantics are things that I’m less sure of. This, by itself, is extremely tempting for me and in many ways makes this idea that most attractive one much of the time.  T. V. Evans and Buist Fanning both touch on the questions I’d be interested in, but treat them in a manner that I find entirely inadequate, while also holding that what they’ve done is the necessary way forward for understanding the Greek verb. BUT aspect has been written about so much lately that I fear I’d be beating a dead horse. Part of me is so completely sick of people writing about aspect that other times, this is the last thing I’d want to write about.

Anyway, feedback or comments are welcome. This is a big question for me and I’d like to move forward on the question soon.

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