I'm struggling to come up with an idea for my EPQ. I'm currently studying French, Spanish, Latin and Economics and was hoping to do a topic based on Modern Forgein Languages and perhaps incorporate a linguistics aspect. Any ideas?
Title for MFL EPQ Watch
- Thread Starter
- 19-07-2016 12:50
- 19-07-2016 13:16
Ahh hello! I'm a linguistics/language nut, so hopefully I can give you a few suggestions and see if you like any of them?
- Child bilingualism/bilingualism: you study 2 languages, and an important area of linguistics is looking at how bilingual people think, how we learn new languages, how our brain deals with 2 languages etc. You could look at the effects of speaking 2 languages, and find a question surrounding that area?
- Acquisition of language: another cool area of linguistics is looking at how we pick up languages, and you could do something about whether it's better to learn a language when you're younger or when you're older?
- The effect of English on French/Spanish: looking at imported words and possible changes in the language brought about by English? I know someone who wrote a very interesting EPQ on the effects of loan words in Korean - I don't know Spanish as well as I know French, but there could be areas of the languages which are affected by English?
- How French affected English: every aspiring linguist has done the whole "words associated with the upper class are derived from French, lower class from Anglo-Saxon/Germanic" (compare "beef" with "cow", "beef" from Old French and "cow" from Germanic), so you could look at the ways in which French influenced speaking and continues to influence speech today?
- 'Untranslatable words': I believe in Spanish there's a word 'ojalá', where there's no particularly good translation into English? You could look at the implications of such words, find other words (possibly in other languages if you want to keep in the same language family ie Italian and Portuguese), and write about that?
- Translation in literature/poetry: you could find a couple of different versions of poems/pieces of literature in Spanish, French or Latin, and explore the differences which the translators employ, and evaluate which is 'better'? For example, you could look at Virgil's Aeneid and explore a couple of different translations of it, possibly contrasting one written in the rhythm and metre of the poem, and one written in prose. If you wanted to be super tricky, you could take one book translated into both Spanish and French and explore the difference in language and translation!
- Translation: hear me out - you could find some really beautiful poems, I would personally recommend Spanish poet Pablo Neruda, and see if you could translate them into English, then write your commentary about the different things you've done (ie keeping a rhythm, using certain types of word sounds to create the same atmosphere etc). This could work the other way around too: take a few English poems, some Shakespeare sonnets might be really interesting!, and try and translate them into a different language, and then comment on how you did it and the kinds of difficulties you encountered.
To get more ideas, I'd recommend looking up MFL essay competitions and looking at the questions they pose - Trinity Hall Cambridge has got a really good one going on at the moment!
I hope some of these suggestions help, let me know if you want me to expand on any of them/more advice, I'm more than happy to chat about the linguistics side of things