Languages, Literatures, & Cultures Theses and Dissertations

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    Her Gaze, Their Voice: an analysis of three documentaries by Yamina Benguigui, Alice Diop and Agnès Varda
    (2024) Adle, Richard James; Eades, Caroline; French Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    A stylistic analysis of three documentaries by Yamina Benguigui, Agnès Varda and Alice Diop: Mémoires d’immigrés : l’héritage maghrébin (Benguigui, 1997), Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (Varda, 2000), and Nous (Diop, 2021).
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    What's Playing? Immediacy, Authenticity, and Playfulness in the Work of Christophe Honoré, Ahmed Madani, and Faustine Noguès
    (2024) Muravchik, Madeline; Eades, Caroline; French Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Christophe Honoré’s Le Ciel de Nantes (2021), Ahmed Madani’s Incandescences (2021), and Faustine Noguès’ Surprise parti (2019) represent a new wave of French playwrights who have rejected postmodern aesthetics and have intentionally returned to traditional classic French theater techniques - immediacy, authenticity, and playfulness - in order to create compelling theater for contemporary French audiences despite being confronted with the development of film and social media. These works rely specifically on the synchronous co-presence of performer and spectator. They create intimate portraits of different aspects of French life, drawing on material from both auto/biography and fiction. At their core, these elements are used to explore liveness, whether thematically by looking at an array of human connections (self to family, self to community, self to society), or artistically by exploring the nature of representation and play on stage.
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    (2024) Malone, Jonathan; Gor, Kira; Hui, Bronson; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The tantalizing prospects of learning benefits from multimodal conditions on second language (L2) learning in general, and L2 vocabulary development in particular, have important implications. Indeed, opening a language learning app on any device provides the immediate experience of simultaneous input modalities, and a wide range of input types. But how helpful is multimodality to vocabulary learning, especially when the focus of the learner is on the meaning of a text? Researchers have manipulated input to compare a variety of learning conditions and examined vocabulary learning gains. However, relatively few within second language acquisition (SLA) have utilized real-time monitoring of learner behavior to examine how learners encounter new words over multiple exposures during a reading task, and how the quality of these encounters may or may not influence explicit learning outcomes. Even fewer have mapped differences in the developmental trajectory of form-form and form-meaning mapping for new words at the group level, comparing reading only (RO) with reading while listening (RWL). Crucially, to my knowledge, none have made or tested predictions within RWL on possible psycholinguistic source(s) of reported benefits. Our understanding of outcome benefits, along with implications for optimizing input in classroom or individual instructed contexts, is thereby quite limited. My dissertation study was designed to address each of these issues. 119 advanced English learners read or read while listening to a 7,400-word short story under incidental conditions (time pressure, focus on comprehension, and unannounced posttest outcomes). The text was embedded with 25 target pseudoword items 10 times each, with target items replacing real nouns in object positions. Measures of real-time form learning were defined as faster reading times and fewer total visits to the new words across encounters (Godfroid, 2020b), and there were three post-exposure measures of explicit word knowledge (form recognition, meaning recognition, meaning recall). New to this area of vocabulary research, outcome items were presented in randomized item modality (visual or auditory), to ensure congruence between treatment and test items and reducing modality-specific testing bias (Jelani & Boers, 2018). Group-level comparisons examined differences in (1) developmental trajectory of form familiarity and meaning integration for RO and RWL groups, (2) learning outcomes, and (3) effects of multi-componential L2 proficiency and phonological short-term memory (PSTM) skills on processing and learning outcomes. Within-RWL analyses operationalized a theoretical source of benefit (reading slightly ahead of the audio) and its impact on reading time and posttest learning gains. Findings indicated differences between RO and RWL across three measures of eye movements: (1) gaze duration (GD), a measure of form familiarity with new words; (2) total reading time (TRT), a measure of meaning integration; and (3) visit count, or the total number of encounters looking at the words. The overall pattern for RWL indicated longer initial reading times for new words, fewer re-readings, and steadier decrease in GD and TRT across encounters. Additionally, differences in learning outcomes were most clearly revealed through auditory test items, with RWL superior to RO across all three posttest outcome measures, and a group by item modality interaction. In other words, RWL indicated superior overall effects compared with RO across all items in form recognition and meaning recall, across all three posttests in auditory items, and better scores on visual than auditory items in RO (but equal across test item modality in RWL). Within-RWL analyses revealed that reading ahead of the audio was a positive predictor of TRT, as well as the most difficult of the three outcome measures (meaning recall). While PSTM predicted processing of new words, it did not predict outcomes for any of the three measures of vocabulary learning gains for advanced-level L2 readers. In sum, this study provides convergent evidence that process (form-form / form-meaning acquisition) and product (learning gains) are both positively impacted for new words under multimodal incidental conditions for advanced L2 learners, along with an initial indication that audiovisual asynchrony may play a role in RWL benefits in learning new words above and beyond L2 proficiency or memory skills.
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    Gynocolonial Legacies: Lasting Influences of the French Founding Mothers in North America
    (2023) Robinson, Elizabeth W; Baillargeon, Mercédès; French Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Within the annals of history, women have begun to emerge as silent architects and resilient figures who have navigated the labyrinthine constructs of patriarchal systems. Their stories are finding their way to the light of day and taking up more space than they have previously. Such is the case with the historical figures of les filles du roi in New France, and the Casket Girls in Louisiana. In this dissertation, I embark on a comprehensive analysis of literary works from Quebec and Louisiana and the representation of these historical figures within them. Through the stories about the women transported to the French colonies in the late 17th century and early 18th century to serve the patriarchy as wives and mothers, this study extends beyond mere literary and historical analysis and explores the influence of these women in shaping cultural identity reinforced by patriarchal norms.
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    (2023) Laverdiere, Marie; Campangne, Hervé-Thomas; French Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis analyzes the connection between prénoms (first names) and l’identité française (French identity). Today, l’identité française is a term that can be used to create a negative view of immigrants, favoring a homogenous national identity. This paper analyzes the history and evolution of l’identité française to better understand how and why the term can be negatively associated. Simultaneously, this paper tries to connect the evolution of l’identité française with analyses of the changing prénoms in France.
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    (2022) Maurette, Sofia; Demaria, Laura; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Según la Pew Foundation, Latinoamérica es uno de los continentes más religiosos del mundo, con más del 90% de su población identificándose como parte de una religión organizada. Sin embargo, la religión latinoamericana no ha recibido una atención equivalente a sus números. Mi investigación analiza el campo poco estudiado de la religión latinoamericana a través de la lente de su producción cultural, combinando los campos de los estudios religiosos con los estudios literarios y culturales latinoamericanos. En mi trabajo afirmo que definiciones estrechas sobre la Modernidad e ideas normativas sobre el lugar de la religión en la esfera pública moderna, uno de los postulados de la "teoría de la secularización", han resultado en una lectura sesgada de los movimientos y textos religiosos latinoamericanos, generalmente considerados incompatibles con sus aspiraciones modernas.En mi tesis me centro específicamente en las revistas católicas argentinas y su compromiso con las consecuencias del proceso de modernización del país a principios del siglo XX. Para una de estas revistas, Criterio (1928-presente), esto significó elaborar un lenguaje que adoptó la retórica de los movimientos de vanguardia para atraer a la élite intelectual a la que deseaban convertir. La revista femenina Noel (1920-1939), por otro lado, al contrastar la construcción tradicional de género dentro del catolicismo con las nuevas definiciones de feminidad adoptadas por los movimientos feministas contemporáneos, se convirtió en un espacio seguro para sus autoras en el cual construir y realizar una comprensión del género que, si bien respaldaba explícitamente una cosmovisión patriarcal, reformulaba sutilmente el papel de la mujer dentro de ella.
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    Heterodoxia critica: Ezequiel Martínez Estrada y Néstor Perlongher
    (2023) Diaz, Juan Manuel; Demaria, Laura; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The dissertation explores how marginalized discourses of identity have been a central concern in Twentieth-Century Latin American literature. I am interested in writers that have been displaced, muted, ignored, or persecuted for one reason or another: race, sexual orientation, nationality, religious belief, and language. To combine these multiple reasons of marginalization, I advance the concept of heterodoxy. Two among the many representatives of heterodoxy are Ezequiel Martínez Estrada (1895-1964) and Néstor Perlongher (1949-1992). Thus, I argue, on the one hand, that Martínez Estrada inscribes in his Radiografía de la pampa (1933) a pioneer reading of the Frankfurt School’s critical theory to completely subvert the question on civilization and barbarism. On the other hand, I discuss the role played by Perlongher’s Prosa Plebeya (1997) in the dissemination of poststructural criticism in Latin America to rethink the dichotomy through his reappropriation and resignification of concepts like corporality and desire.
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    (2023) Torrubia-Gortari, Isabel; Gironzetti, Dr. E; Demaria, Dr. L; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    El campo del español como lengua de herencia (ELH) en los Estados Unidos se ha construido a partir del reconocimiento de las diferencias entre hablantes de herencia (HH) del español y hablantes del español como segunda lengua o lengua extranjera (EL2/LE). Esta diferenciación se concreta tanto en rasgos y fenómenos lingüísticos propios de los HH, como en las conexiones históricas y socioafectivas con la lengua y cultura de herencia. En suma, se trata de una diferencia de relación entre hablantes, lengua y cultura. El cómo se trazan estas relaciones pasa por procesos de identificación, definición, exploración y explicación. Es decir, es preciso saber quiénes son los hablantes de herencia del español y, después, es necesario elaborar una definición de referencia, que en la actualidad se despliega en dos direcciones: hacia atrás, al capturar la identidad en los rasgos que conforman la definición, y hacia delante, al orientar la investigación y la interpretación de los distintos fenómenos y prácticas que se registran en los hablantes. El objetivo principal de esta tesina es explorar el concepto identitario que se ha capturado y negociado en la definición de HH y, de ahí, observar cómo se ha trasladado a las propuestas y prácticas pedagógicas dentro del campo de ELH. A partir de estas mismas propuestas, se quiere proponer un concepto identitario como herramienta operacional, es decir, que pueda facilitar la integración de los diversos rasgos identitarios de los HH y, a la vez, de otras dimensiones más universales de su multiculturalidad; que permita abarcar dimensiones locales y específicas (como las que señala y sobre las que trabaja el campo de ELH) y también otras más amplias, específicas a cada hablante y mediadas por otras dimensiones de subjetividad. Para ello, en esta tesina se lleva a cabo en primer lugar un análisis del concepto de identidad de los HH actual, de las disciplinas que han contribuido a su articulación y de sus logros y limitaciones. Después, a partir de los trabajos de Taylor (1995) y Levinás (1963), se propone un giro interpretativo y ético para llevar el concepto del plano teórico al operativo a través de un propuesta que incluye la personalidad y la afectividad como dimensiones subjetivas esenciales y de una orientación del concepto identitario hacia el exterior para destacar sus dimensiones relacionales. Se revisan algunas de las propuestas más populares dentro del campo de ELH para el desarrollo identitario (Critical Language Awareness y traducción pedagógica) y se plantea la traducción literaria como otra propuesta que integra la práctica y conciencia crítica de las otras, y permite aplicar el concepto identitario planteado en esta tesina. Luego se presentan los resultados de un estudio exploratorio basado en un protocolo verbal y una tarea de traducción literaria, cuyo objetivo es la observación del concepto identitario propuesto de forma aplicada, registrando múltiples dimensiones de forma indirecta, sin que los participantes sepan la relación entre la meta del estudio y la tarea. Finalmente, con base en todo lo anterior, se plantean propuestas y direcciones de trabajo que permitan incorporar la traducción literaria en el proceso del desarrollo identitario de los HH en Estados Unidos.
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    La "malgachisation" du théâtre: au croisement des traditions autochtones et des expérimentations théâtrales entre les années 1950 et 1990
    (2023) Cormier, Leandra; Orlando, Valerie K.; French Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation focuses on Malagasy experimental theater written and performed from the 1950s to the 1990s. This timeframe is important because it draws a parallel between the 1947 political revolution, leading to the independence of Madagascar in 1960 and, at the same time, the rebirth of classical (traditional) theatrical production; theatre silenced by the colonizer because it was in the Malagasy language. Ironically, the Malagasy Cultural Revolution also led to the rebirth of literary and theatrical production in the French language, thus establishing the sociocultural and linguistic multivalent qualities of Malagasy society’s collective memory denied by the colonizer and betrayed by the revolution of 1972. During this time, the theatrical oeuvre produced fostered thinking about Malagasy history as a braid of different sociopolitical, cultural, and linguistic pasts.
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    (2023) Mackey, Beth; Gor, Kira; Bolger, Donald; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The U.S. Military Services employ thousands of servicemen and women in language-related positions that are critical to the nation’s national security. These positions require personnel with high-level capability in various languages and dialects (Asch & Winkler, 2013). A complex accession and training system that begins at local recruiting stations across the nation leads to worldwide placement of language professionals who serve multiyear tours in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. High levels of cognitive ability, as measured by two cognitive aptitude batteries, one general (ASVAB) and one language (DLAB), are required for selection into these positions. Following significant investments in basic levels of training, the jobs themselves demand high level skills, and the service members find themselves constantly challenged to grow their skills. Traditional research on the effectiveness of the accession and training processes focuses on learning outcomes, rather than growth. This research used a longitudinal design to investigate how general aptitude, language aptitude, non-cognitive and language distance measures impact language proficiency growth. Hierarchical linear models and hierarchical generalized linear models were used and the significant findings were similar. The study found that overall, while language test scores followed a drop-and-recover pattern, there was very little growth overall. Three aptitude subtests, one from ASVAB (Mechanical Comprehension) and two DLAB subtests (Part 3 and Part 4) were found to constrain initial growth in the listening modality. Language distance was found to constrain initial and subsequent growth in listening and reading.
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    (2023) Blank, Samuel Galen; Frisch, Andrea; Mahalel, Adi; French Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation studies the role of marginalized desire in the works of Swiss-French author Albert Cohen; specifically, marginalized desire within same-sex and Jewish-Christian interfaith relationships, which have historically been deemed socially and religiously corrupt and therefore have been seen to constitute boundaries to spiritual legitimacy. Therefore, this study seeks to understand why Cohen grants such marginalized desires the same spiritual legitimacy as mainstream desire in his novels, and what can be learned from the effects of this decision. Albert Cohen’s relationship to marginalization is explored across the various chapters, which address immigration, oscillations between tradition and modernity, and curiosity towards same-sex and interfaith couplehood. The final chapter of this dissertation presents a pedagogical implementation of this material. Initially perceived as an outsider, Albert Cohen used imaginative literature to compensate for this supposed errant state, as he actively sought to conquer French culture and forge his place in the Francophone Europe of the 20th century. The result is a novel that creates a refraction of pluralistic Judaism with an affirming spirituality, one that showcases the common righteousness in all of humanity. For Cohen, this righteousness exists beyond cultural constructions such as nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. Inspired by his own life experiences, the author depicts same-sex attraction as just beyond his complete ability to conquer, in essence just beyond his world, which is synonymous with the Eternal. Ultimately, this spiritual elevation of marginalized desire conducted by the author reflects a proximity to God that is possible regardless of social and cultural boundaries to spirituality.
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    Individual Variables in Context: A Longitudinal Study of Child and Adolescent English Language Learners
    (2023) Struck, Jason; Jiang, Nan; Clark, Martyn; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Millions of public-school students in the United States are identified as English language learners (ELLs), whose academic success is tied to their second language (L2) English education. Previous research in adult populations indicates that L2 proficiency is related to the contextual variable of the prevalence of one’s first language (L1) among their peers, called L1 density, which may also moderate the effects of individual variables such as age and exposure to the L2. Despite its substantial impact on the amount and quality of adult learners’ exposure to the L2, the variable of L1 density has received little attention in child and adolescent populations, even though it is unknown what role, if any, L1 density plays in L2 acquisition in a school context. Other outstanding questions concerning individual variables include the nature of the purported rate advantage of later starters and whether the similarity of one's L1 and L2 is related to L2 proficiency.The current study addressed these questions by analyzing longitudinal L2 proficiency assessment records of 10,879 ELLs in grades 1–12 in the United States. The assessment was WIDA's ACCESS for ELLs Online Test, a national, standardized test with scores for each of the four domains of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Multilevel models were used to estimate the effects of several variables: age of enrollment in a United States school, length of enrollment, language similarity, and L1 density. In the fitted model estimates, age of enrollment had a small, positive effect. Length of enrollment had a sizable, positive effect but attenuated over time. ELLs enrolling at a later age progressed slightly slower than ELLs enrolling at an earlier age, contrary to the widely accepted notion that later starters enjoy a rate advantage. Little to no evidence was found for a relationship between test scores and language similarity or L1 density, or that the effects of age of enrollment or length of enrollment varied with L1 density. The results of this study give evidence for the following conclusions for ELLs in United States schools: an earlier age of enrollment is associated with greater gains in L2 proficiency over time, speakers of different L1s are not expected to become differentially proficient in L2 English, and ELLs’ levels of L2 proficiency are not expected to vary with how many of their peers speak the same L1.
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    (2023) Rhoades, Elizabeth Rogler; Gor, Kira; Clark, Martyn; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Although decades of research within the field of second language acquisition have been dedicated to investigating the impact of individual differences on second language learners’ success, longitudinal research focused on individual differences and their impact on adult second language acquisition is extremely limited. Additional longitudinal research on individual differences is necessary to further our understanding of the nature of the process of adult second language acquisition. This area of research is also critical to the U.S. Government and the Department of Defense as thousands of military service members work in language-related positions, and these service members’ maintenance of high levels of language proficiency is critical for our nation’s national security. The current study used a longitudinal design to investigate the impact of individual differences such as general cognitive ability, language aptitude, and attitude toward learning assigned second language (L2) on military service members’ language proficiency outcomes. Latent growth curve modeling (LGM) was used to model participants’ initial proficiency levels and growth trajectories, and measures of cognitive ability, language aptitude, and attitude toward learning assigned L2 were used to measure the impact of these individual differences on language proficiency outcomes. Additional variables including GPA, age, education level, number of language training hours, billet type, and sex were also included in the analyses. The results from the four phases of analyses support the conclusion that the predictive value of individual difference factors on language proficiency outcomes differ not only by DLI Language Difficulty Category, as suggested by previous research, but also by language and even language modality.
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    (2022) Battauz, Cecilia Edith; Sosnowski, Saúl; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    As a result of Spanish colonization, nation-building in Latin America followed distinctive and diverse processes, and a protracted chronology that spanned an entire century. The new nation-states that emerged from the nineteenth century wars of Independence forged their own symbols, imagery, and foundational narratives to provide a framework to disparate populations. Throughout the continent, literature played a fundamental role in the construction of symbolic narratives, which inexorably intertwined with official national history. In Argentina, one such myth was built around the “gaucho”, the cowboy of the Pampas plains who freely roamed the countryside. Once an actual social type, the “gaucho” disappeared around the end of the 19th Century due to changes introduced by modernization as Argentina transformed and refocused its economy to supply raw materials for European industries. As a literary figure, however, the gaucho survived as the dominant character of poems, novels, and short stories that conform a unique national literary genre: Gauchesca Literature.In my dissertation I study the comics Inodoro Pereyra, el renegau by Roberto Fontanarrosa (1944-2007), which features an atypical gaucho accompanied by his loyal talking dog. I analyze how Fontanarrosa deconstructs the national literary myth of the horse riding “gaucho” unveiling the inherent racism, social injustice, and ideological manipulation it has conveyed for the last two centuries. Fontanarrosa’s creation, which appeared regularly in the Argentine press and in book format for over thirty-four years until the author’s death, not only denounces the unspoken influence this traditional figure has had in shaping Argentine society, but it also highlights the common misrepresentation of indigenous communities and the unfair treatment to which they have been, and continue to be, subjected. Using parody, humor, and caricature, the comics revise national history and canonical literature along with artifacts from contemporary popular culture, such as films and folk songs. In addition, it offers a postmodern approach to the foundational narratives of the nation. My claims are that the comics offer an ex-centric perspective and that its subversive message defies traditional views of identity as fixed forms that could be predetermined. I propose that the narrative genre of comics—still marginalized from the literary canon—constitutes an excellent medium to present an alternative and irreverent approach to the subject, since its literary standing challenges the centrality of the official canon. At the same time, the comics suggest the need to see tradition and identity as concepts under constant change, thus showing a postmodern critique to monolithic grand narratives. Although my study concerns Argentine society, I believe it to be microstructurally significant for its premises may be applied to other societies built upon national myths, such as those created by most nation-states in the Americas after gaining their independence from colonial administration and cultural hegemony.
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    Variation in Interlanguage: Evidence from Internal and External Patterning of Morphosyntactic Variability in the Speech of Second Language Learners
    (2022) Zheng, Qi; Jiang, Nan; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Language is inherently variable, and learner language is particularly variable. The variationist paradigm considers learner language a heterogeneously variable yet inherently rule-governed system. Specifically, learners’ alternation between native-like and nonnative-like variants of a variable or invariable target native speaker (NS) form constitutes learner language variation. Variation is also viewed as an indication of a transitional phase towards acquisition (e.g., Regan, 2013; Tagliamonte, 2011). With a particular concentration on second language (L2) morphosyntactic variation, this dissertation explored inter-learner variation and intra-learner variability together with interlanguage development by analyzing Japanese L2 learners’ oral performances in English oral proficiency interviews. The research observed and studied the variation pattern in the interview data and identified the linguistic, paralinguistic, and nonlinguistic factors and factor groups which may give rise to Japanese L2 learners’ repeated exercise of their interlanguage grammar for four morphosyntactic features: preposition/particle, article, object pronoun-dropping, and modal auxiliary verb. The data were analyzed by using classification trees, random forests, and mixed-effects variable rule methods which together identified a hierarchy of variable importance among potential factors and factor groups and the influential factor levels within each significant factor group. With modern mixed models, the dissertation concluded that the observed morphosyntactic variation is subject to inter-lingual and intra-learner factors. Additionally, learners may also have individualized baselines and grammar. More importantly, the findings of the current research have provided important theoretical and empirical justification on whether and how individual patterns mirror the interlanguage patterns and hence an inter-lingual developmental understanding of L2 morphosyntactic competence.
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    Potencialidades desbordadas: Comunalidad y resistencias en las fronteras mexicanas
    (2022) Reyes , Nidia Mariana; Long, Ryan R; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In recent years, the intense crises of economic globalization, political polarization and escalating violence have increased the dangers faced by migrants around the world. Mexico and Central America present cases where these factors have exacerbated the precariousness and brutality suffered by undocumented migrants. My dissertation focuses primarily on the representations and practices that portray the current socio-political situation of forced migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States. As well as on the artistic responses that shed new ways of imagining the resistance of the migrant and Latinx community. The variety of responses to the migration crisis is reflected in the diversity of the materials I analyze and interpret: documentaries, websites, novels and poetry. I compare Mexican writer Yuri Herrera's novel Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (2009) with Citizen Illegal (2018), a collection of poetry by José Olivarez, an American writer born to Mexican immigrants. I also develop an analysis of the transnationally co-produced (American and Salvadoran) multimedia journalistic project Los que iban a morir se acumulan en México (2017), which I read under the theoretical guideline of Mexican writer Sara Uribe's Antígona González (2012). Finally, I study the way in which the issue of migrant disappearances on the Mexican border is treated. I analyze the documentary María en tierra de nadie (2011) by Marcela Zamora, which portrays the journey of Central American mothers searching for their missing daughters and relatives, and the website WhoisDayaniCrystal, inspired by the documentary, ¿Quién es Dayani Crystal? (2013), which deals with the process of identifying the body of an undocumented migrant found in the so-called "corridor of death", one of the hottest and most dangerous areas of the Arizona desert. My analysis of literary texts from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border shows how the border is not only a geopolitical and economic boundary but also a confluence of times, spaces, and bodies. But above all, it is a confluence of migrants and a multiplicity of people who, despite encountering violence at the borders and the migrant path, resist through every day and/or fleeting acts. En los últimos años, las intensas crisis de globalización económica, la polarización política y la escalada de violencia han aumentado los peligros a los que se enfrentan lxs migrantes en todo el mundo. México y Centroamérica presentan casos en los que dichos factores han exacerbado los niveles de precariedad y brutalidad que sufren lxs migrantes indocumentados. Mi disertación se centra principalmente en las representaciones y prácticas que retratan la actual situación sociopolítica de la migración forzada desde México y Centroamérica hacia Estados Unidos. Así como en las respuestas artísticas que arrojan nuevas formas de imaginar la resistencia de la comunidad migrante y latinx. La variedad de respuestas a la crisis migratoria se refleja en la diversidad de los materiales que analizo e interpreto: documentales, páginas web, novelas y poesía. Por ejemplo, comparo la novela del escritor mexicano Yuri Herrera, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (2009) con Citizen Illegal (2018), una colección de poesía de José Olivarez, un escritor estadounidense nacido de inmigrantes mexicanos. También desarrollo un análisis del proyecto periodístico multimedia coproducido transnacionalmente (estadounidense y salvadoreño) titulado Los que iban a morir se acumulan en México (2017), mismo que leo bajo la pauta teórica de Antígona González (2012) de la escritora mexicana Sara Uribe. Finalmente, estudio la manera en la que se trata el tema de las desapariciones de migrantes en la frontera mexicana. Analizo el documental María en tierra de nadie (2011) de Marcela Zamora, que retrata el viaje de madres centroamericanas que buscan a sus hijas y familiares desaparecidxs y la página web WhoisDayaniCrystal, inspirada en el documental, ¿Quién es Dayani Crystal? (2013), que trata del proceso de identificación de un cuerpo de un migrante indocumentado encontrado en el llamado "corredor de la muerte", una de las zonas más calientes y peligrosas del desierto de Arizona. Mi análisis de los textos literarios de ambos lados de la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos muestra cómo la frontera no es sólo un límite geopolítico y económico, sino también una confluencia de tiempos, espacios y cuerpos. Pero, sobre todo, es una confluencia de migrantxs y una multiplicidad de personas que a pesar de encontrar violencia en las fronteras y el camino migrante, resisten a través de actos cotidianos y/o fugaces.
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    (2022) Bulansky, Daniela; Sosnowski, Saúl; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The villas (commonly viewed as “shanty towns”) in Argentina, have been addressed in literary texts since they began to form as part of the “informal city.” This dissertation interrogates the literary images of these spaces in the city of Buenos Aires, with a particular focus on works that emerge from the villas themselves. Accordingly, they do not appear as marginal, but are situated as the narrative center from which it becomes possible to question the image of a modern, compact and definitive view of the city. This dissertation has grouped texts as they relate to their sociopolitical contexts. The first group includes the short story “$1 en Villa Desocupación” (1933) by Enrique Amorim, the dramatical work La marcha del hambre (1934) by Elías Castelnuovo, and Las colinas del hambre (1943) by Rosa Wernicke (the only novel that takes place in another region); all three set in the 1930’s. The second provides an analysis of the novel Villa Miseria también es América (1957) by Bernardo Verbitsky, in order to follow the trail of the first appearances in newspapers of the term “villa miseria,” which paralleled the ways these phenomena were made visible in the second half of the 1950’s. The third group consists of four novels that followed the 2001 socio-economic crisis: Santería (2008) and Sacrificio (2010) by Leonardo Oyola, La Virgen Cabeza (2009) by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, and Con V de villera by Lula Comeron. By then, the villas were a well-recognized fact; therefore, these novels do not necessarily center on revealing their existence. The spaces that comprise the villas that these works produce are boundless, diverse, and fluid; moreover, they move away from privileging visual images, prominent in the works of the two previous groups. All of the works insert the villa within a literary tradition as spaces, equal to any other, where literature is possible. It is not a question of ignoring the power dynamics that mark the villas as a phenomenon, but to consider the movements that these works represent as they relocate the center by focusing on the interior of the villas and thus, literarily, constructing narratives from within.
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    Exilios y redes en el hispanismo de Estados Unidos (1962-2011): Ficciones y migraciones
    (2022) Devesa Gómez, Nélida Isabel; Naharro-Calderon, Jose Maria; Merediz, Eyda; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and the ensuing Franco dictatorship (1936-1975), Spaniards fled and went into exile in large flocks. Unfortunately, the United States only admitted a small group of Spanish intellectuals, deemed politically neutral, who joined institutions of higher education and developed multicultural, academic, and social networks. These intellectuals had a lasting influence that led to a significant revival of Hispanism in the USA. This dissertation, Exiles and Networks in US Hispanism (1962-2011): Fictions and Migrations, interrogates autobiographical novels and memoirs that focus on the experience of three of those exiles: Prof. Carmen de Zulueta (CUNY/Lehman College, 1966-1984), Prof. Ildefonso-Manuel Gil (Rutgers University, 1962-1983), and Prof. Víctor Fuentes (U. California-Santa Barbara, 1965-2003).Despite differences in genres and viewpoints (memoirs, autobiographies, autofiction, etc.), these authors share specific chronotopes of exiles. These chronotopes are based on three dimensions through their experience of displacement: spaces, times and intellectual networks, through which they recreate their exilic itineraries. Each author accentuates a specific dimension of these chronotopes: Zulueta (Chapter 1) puts distance between herself and her account and focuses on the portrayal of the intellectuals that assisted her along the way; Gil (Chapter 2) relishes the recreation of time as a game that is played out on the page; and Fuentes (Chapter 3) adopts characters of traditional Spanish literary works (picaresque, Don Juan, revolutionary) to create chronotopes in which the three dimensions are equally relevant. The analysis of these authors’ chronotopes of exile reveals not only their identities as exiles, but also their relationship with Spain as their homeland, and the United States as their host. They develop a special relation with both countries since they become transatlantic and transoceanic figures that greatly enjoy the new opportunities found in the US, but long for the past lives of their homeland. Their accounts also divulge the ways in which the previous Spanish intellectuals that had arrived in the US assisted each other and helped them to emigrates. They also portray the spaces of their new home and the “non-places” of Spanish culture that they constructed once they were settled.
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    (2022) Foster, Jordan Maxwell; Baer, Hester; Germanic Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Over the past 80 years, Nazis have been cast as the ultimate prototype for villainy in popular culture, especially in American comic books. The fetishization of Nazis in global popular culture has impeded the difficult tasks of coming to terms with the past and establishing a new transnational identity in Germany. However, recent publications, such as Freedom Fighters (2019) from DC Comics and Secret Empire (2017) from Marvel Comics demonstrate how manipulation, propaganda, fearmongering, and indoctrination powered the Nazi Party and continue to run rampant in modern-day fascist organizations. If mainstream comic books begin to consistently showcase these less sensational aspects of Nazism, they could highlight the subtle dangers of contemporary fascism, including neo-Nazism and far-right extremism, which have recently experienced a resurgence in mainstream politics all over the world. By doing so, mainstream comics could begin to emulate the sophisticated critique of works like Maus (1986) by Art Spiegelman.
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    Lexical development and masked orthographic priming in the second language
    (2022) Park, Kichan; Kira, Gor; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The fuzzy lexical representations (FLR) hypothesis proposes that form encoding of words in a second language (L2) is often fuzzy, and this concerns both phonological and orthographic representations. FLR occur because of difficulties in encoding of L2 word forms as well as insufficient L2 experience. The FLR hypothesis also suggests that fuzzy L2 orthographic representations are the reason for the weak lexical competition for orthographic neighbor prime-target pairs in the L2 that has been observed in previous research (e.g., Jiang, 2021). However, this hypothesis also assumes that as orthographic representations become robust along with learners’ L2 experience, L2 words are eventually able to take part in lexical competition just like first language (L1) words. The current study tests these hypotheses using the individual-differences measures of the quality (orthographic precision) and the quantity (vocabulary size) of orthographic representations. At the same time, this study explores the relationship between sound perception (word and phoneme identification) of nonnative contrasts (e.g., the /l/-/ɹ/ contrast for Korean L2 learners of English), phonolexical encoding, and form facilitation for minimal pairs with these contrasts. A masked priming LDT was employed, in which minimal pairs with a nonnative phonological contrast (e.g., read-LEAD) and minimal pairs without a confusing phonological contrast (e.g., dear-TEAR) were used as the prime and target. Before the experiment, it was predicted that low-proficiency L2 speakers would show significant form facilitation under all prime conditions. On the other hand, medium-proficiency L2 speakers were expected to show evidence of emerging lexical competition (a null priming effect) for prime-target pairs without a difficult phonological contrast (e.g., dear-TEAR), although they would still show form facilitation for minimal pairs with a nonnative phonological contrast (e.g., read-LEAD). The facilitation for the latter pairs was predicted to occur because of less successful orthographic encoding of these pairs caused by fuzzy phonological representations of L2 words with difficult phonological contrasts. It was further expected that high-proficiency L2 speakers would show a nativelike pattern of form priming across all the prime conditions. Thirty L1 speakers and 90 L2 learners of English with a wide range of L2 proficiency were recruited for the experiment. In auditory word and phoneme identification tasks, L2 speakers showed less accurate identification of the /l/-/ɹ/ contrast compared to L1 speakers indicating that they indeed had problems in accurate sound perception and/or phonological categorization of the nonnative contrast as had been predicted. In the masked priming LDT, L1 speakers showed a null priming effect across the prime conditions. L2 speakers showed significant form priming for words with the /l/-/ɹ/ contrast but not for other words without a difficult contrast. When form priming in each L2 participant group was examined separately, low- and medium-proficiency L2 speakers showed significant facilitation for pairs with the /l/-/ɹ/ contrast, but high-proficiency L2 speakers showed a null priming effect for these pairs as L1 speakers did. This finding supports the prediction of the current study. At the same time, the influence of global proficiency, as measured by a cloze test, on the orthographic form priming was statistically non-significant. Furthermore, form facilitation for prime-target pairs without a confusing contrast (e.g., dear-TEAR) was not significant even in low-proficiency L2 participant groups. Through a series of investigations on the relationships between the form priming found in L2 speakers and their performance on individual-differences measures (spelling, vocabulary, word identification and phoneme identification tasks), the present study discovered that form facilitation was significantly modulated by L2 speakers’ orthographic precision (spelling scores). Moreover, it was found that the influence of orthographic precision on the form facilitation was more prominent for words that were more difficult for accurate phonological encoding, and as a consequence, orthographic encoding (i.e., minimal pairs with the /l/-/ɹ/ contrast) than others without a confusing contrast. These findings support the FLR hypothesis which argues for the role of the quality of orthographic representations in lexical competition between orthographic neighbors. The role of vocabulary size (vocabulary scores) was also found for four-letter stimuli indicating that the development of the size of the mental lexicon also affects lexical competition. On the other hand, no modulating role was observed of accurate word or phoneme identification of nonnative contrasts in form priming for minimal pairs with these contrasts. Based on these findings, this study suggests that (1) the orthographic form facilitation discovered at initial stages of L2 lexical development is due to fuzzy L2 orthographic representations. In addition, it claims that (2) as L2 speakers establish a larger and more precise L2 lexicon, L2 words can take part in lexical competition just as L1 words do. It also proposes that (3) the establishment of precise orthographic (or phonological) representations of L2 words with a confusing phonological contrast is more challenging than those without a difficult contrast. (4) Finally, although the observed weak effect of sound perception on form priming seems to indicate no systematic relationship between the development of phonological categorization ability and the form facilitation for these words, the present study contends that it may be premature to draw a conclusion about the role of phonolexical representations involving a nonnative contrast in orthographic representations. Indeed, the results may be due to methodological limitations of the word and phoneme identification tasks as a measure of the quality of phonological representations.