In other grad school news, Georgetown has moved up to tie Yale for my number-one desired acceptance since I realized that (a) their linguistics doctoral program is the largest one in the whole school - take that, teeny UF program! - and (b) I would really love to live in DC. Plus there's the proximity to the NSA. So Harvard is now a distant third.
(Randomly: did anyone know that Yale's athletic facilities include an on-campus ice skating rink? Awesome!)
Anyway, I just searched Peterson's again to make sure I didn't miss anyone, and while I mostly just found state universities, which I've already covered, I also came across four others which I hadn't seriously considered: NYU, Stanford, Cornell, and Northwestern. At first I thought Oh my God, I've got to start all over ... but I can eliminate NYU right away because I certainly don't want to live in NYC, and Cornell doesn't seem to offer much aid. Stanford is a possibility, I guess, but it really doesn't impress me any more than any of my current seven choices, and it's so far away... it's not worth it to me. But then there's Northwestern, which, oddly, actually sounds kind of appealing. Their site is clear, informational, and nicely organized (yes, I do place value on that) and, like Yale, they offer funding to all Ph.D-ers. So I'm getting awfully tempted... but then... I already have seven picks... and it's in Illinois... and it's another $60 application fee... and they only accept 4-6 students out of all 55-some-odd applications... is it worth it?
I don't know. Probably not. I think it's time for a nap.
Oh, but before I go: someone help me narrow down these thesis topics. (This is what I meant by 'more on the writing sample' ... I may end up sending a first draft of this to a couple of schools a few months down the road, because at the moment I have absolutely nothing suitable. Most of the UF professors seem to prefer exams and/or menial homework assignments to actual papers. Bah.)
1.) Word order changes in Dutch (inversion as well as Subject-Verb-Object to Subject-Object-Verb order in relative and complement clauses) and how they are or aren't related to the evolution of modern English. This is my current favorite topic, largely because I already did a short paper on it and therefore halfway know what I'm talking about. I can include Afrikaans and Frisian as well, and maybe Flemish, although that one wouldn't really have any outstanding differences...
2.) German and/or English influence on the Dutch language and the Dutch people's resistance/acceptance of it. Dr. JDG suggested the German influence and I added the English part. Because it's true, the Dutch are always insisting, "No, no, no, our language is not at all like German!" which it most certainly is... but English is sneaking in right and left too, and it's actually the Belgians who are more protesting of that. (Maybe due to the French influence?)
3.) Random strong verb creation in English (i.e. climb/clum, bring/brung, drag/drug) ... why do we do this and why is it so much more prevalent in the South? Is Ebonics involved? (And is this in some way related to our now-common use of the simple past in the position where the past participle should go, such as in 'I had ate dinner' and 'He had went there'? I think people who have one of these speech features also often have the other as well.)
4.) I don't have a very well-formed fourth idea yet, but something to do with British English versus American English - maybe the vocabulary or history or something...? (For instance, how do we know OUR accent isn't the 'original' one? LOL.) I'm quite interested in this area, but I think I'd have a lot harder time coming up with something original here than I would if I used Dutch. (Hey, a new answer to the "Why, out of all the languages out there, did you choose Dutch?" question! Woohoo!)
Anyway, I had some other half-formed ideas but chucked them out, so these are the 'finalists', as it were. Other areas of interest include languages in contact, pidgins and creoles, bilingualism, and language acquisition. If any of you have half a clue what I'm talking about with all of this and/or have any ideas, please leave a comment, no matter how random or stupid you think it is, because it might provoke some sort of new thought pattern - which would be a relief, after hashing these possibilities out in my head over and over for the past eight hours while driving the Sprinter.
Okay, now I really am going to take a nap.