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NICHOLAS TWINER, United Kingdom, 2018-2019

Fulbright Year: 2018-2019
Country: United Kingdom
Proposal Type: Study
Proposal Title: Master’s Degree in Linguistics at Queen Mary University
UGA Undergraduate Majors: Linguistics, Classical Languages, Classical Culture
Graduation Date: Fall 2017
Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia

Growing up in the American south, Nicholas Twiner often heard phrases like “might could,” the reduction of vowels, and the dropping of consonants—what he terms the syntactic variations of Southern American speech.

Nicholas points out that theoretical linguists have generally ignored the Southern vernacular and its use when devising theories that have been critical to English syntax research, and he adds that his research unites formalism with consideration of variation and seeks to construct an inclusive model of language generation.

For his Fulbright year, Nicholas will be completing his master’s degree in linguistics at Queen Mary University and continuing the research he began while a UGA student.

“My research so far has explored the syntax of double object constructions in Southern American English,” he says. “My home dialect is a perfect case to explore because it exhibits greater varieties of pronouns and nouns after verbs.”

In addition to his research, Nicholas says he will examine what prevents the personal dative from concurring with verbs of different registers and will continue other research interests, including one on German passive voice and German reflexive pronouns.

“I am also excited to explore London and the United Kingdom in hoping to learn more about the diversity of languages and dialects and how they are shaped in our minds, as well as how they shape and inform our interactions,” says Nicholas. “London is such a diverse city, and as part of my research and study, I am so fortunate to develop academically in a culturally rich city.”

During his time in Athens, Nicholas was an Honors student and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Demosthenian Literary Society, and Blue Key Honor Society, and served as a vice president for Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention. He plans to continue his advocacy for the prevention of violence while in London.

“I have been actively committed to ending interpersonal violence on my campus, and for this I have been recognized as a trendsetter within the local health-education community,” he says. “I will have the opportunity to continue this work in London.

Nicholas says that in addition to his research and studies, he’s most looking forward to exploring London, a city he’s never visited.

“Two of my degrees in undergrad were focused on the ancient world, so the British museums will be on the top of my ‘must visit’ list,” as well as cities like Bath, with their great connections to Ancient Rome,” he says. “I’ve also heard so much about London’s incredible international cuisines, and cannot wait to dig in.”

At the conclusion of his Fulbright year, Nicholas plans to begin his Ph.D. in linguistics at Stanford University with an eye on continuing his research as a university professor.