Languages, Literatures, & Cultures Research Works

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    Vegetal agency: the sap controversy in early eighteenth-century France treatises on plants and gardening
    (Royal Society, 2024-01) Benharrech, Sarah
    This article examines how the apologetics of the abbé Noël-Antoine Pluche (1688–1761) impacted his presentation of botanical knowledge in the ten dialogues published in the first and second volumes of his natural history book Le Spectacle de la nature (1732–1750). Pluche popularized a conception of the physical world where plants are reducible to inert mechanisms, devoid of life and agency. First, I examine the various intertwinements of science and theology in his depiction of plant anatomy, by investigating his use of mechanical analogies, his adoption of the sap circulation hypothesis, and his application of the pre-existence theory to account for both generation and vegetative multiplication. I then compare Pluche's understanding of plant growth with those offered by contemporaneous gardening treatises, demonstrating that part of Pluche's project included opposing the materialist and animist undertones found in these gardening treatises that emphasized vegetal life, self-organization, and sap agency.
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    The Transnational Turn in African Literature of French Expression: Imagining Other Utopic Spaces in the Globalized Age
    (MDPI, 2016-05-18) Orlando, Valérie K.
    This article focuses on African literature published since 2000 by authors of French expression. While contemporary authors’ subjects are varied—ranging from climate change, human rights, to ethnic cleansing—they also imagine new “what ifs” and other utopic spaces and places that extend beyond postcolonial, Africa-as-victim paradigms. Literarily, authors such as Abdelaziz Belkhodja (Tunisia) and Abdourahman A. Waberi (Djibouti) have effectuated a transnational turn. In this literary transnational turn, Africa is open to new interpretations by the African author that are very different from the more essentialist-based, literary-philosophical movements such as Negritude and pan-Africanism; cornerstones of the postcolonial literary frameworks of the past. Belkhodja and Waberi offer original narratives for Africa that, while describing their countries as utopias, also traverse the very dystopic realities of our time.
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    Sanctifying Domestic Space and Domesticating Sacred Space: Reading Ziyāra and Taṣliya in Light of the Domestic in the Early Modern Ottoman World
    (MDPI, 2020-01-28) Allen, Jonathan Parkes
    Shrine-visitation (ziyāra) and devotion to Muḥammad (such as expressed in taṣliya, the uttering of invocations upon the Prophet), both expressed through a range of ritualized practices and material objects, were at the heart of everyday Islam for the vast majority of early modern Ottoman Muslims across the empire. While both bodies of practice had communal and domestic aspects, this article focuses on the important intersections of the domestic with both shrine-visitation and Muḥammad-centered devotion as visible in the early modern Ottoman lands, with a primary emphasis on the eighteenth century. While saints’ shrines were communal and ‘public’ in nature, a range of attitudes and practices associated with them, recoverable through surviving physical evidence, travel literature, and hagiography, reveal their construction as domestic spaces of a different sort, appearing to pious visitors as the ‘home’ of the entombed saint through such routes as wall-writing, gender-mixing, and dream encounters. Devotion to Muḥammad, on the other hand, while having many communal manifestations, was also deeply rooted in the domestic space of the household, in both prescription and practice. Through an examination of commentary literature, hagiography, and imagery and objects of devotion, particularly in the context of the famed manual of devotion Dalā’il al-khayrāt, I demonstrate the transformative effect of such devotion upon domestic space and the ways in which domestic contexts were linked to the wider early modern world, Ottoman, and beyond.
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    The Influence of Native Phonology, Allophony, and Phonotactics on Nonnative Lexical Encoding: A Vocabulary Training Study
    (Wiley, 2023-04-20) Zheng, Qi; Gor, Kira
    Second language (L2) speakers often experience difficulties in learning words with L2-specific phonemes due to the unfaithful lexical encoding predicted by the fuzzy lexical representations hypothesis. Currently, there is limited understanding of how allophonic variation in the first language (L1) influences L2 phonological and lexical encoding. We report how the Mandarin Chinese L1 phonemic inventory and allophonic variation subject to phonotactic constraints predict phonological encoding problems for novel L2 English words with the /v/–/w/ contrast. L1 English and L1 Chinese participants speaking two varieties of Mandarin Chinese differing as to the presence of [ʋ]–[w] allophonic variation for the /w/ phoneme participated in a vocabulary learning task. The novel L2 words with the /v/–/w/ contrast were systematically less robustly encoded than the control words on the day of training and 24 hours later. The degree of fuzziness in lexical representations was jointly predicted by L1 allophonic variation subject to phonotactic constraints and L2 phonological categorization.
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    Ethnography, Incongruity, History: Soviet Poetic Cinema
    (Wiley, 2023-01-22) Papazian, Elizabeth A.
    This essay examines the entangling of the poetic and the ethnographic in the art cinema of the 1960s as an indicator of a broader collision of epistemological/discursive regimes in postwar Soviet cinema—and ultimately, a clash between two fundamentally opposed approaches to the discursive production of history. In the Soviet poetic cinema of the 1960s, the temporal-spatial frameworks of the Stalin era are disrupted, shifting first of all, to what Tarkovsky called a lived experience of time—that is, to the subjective emotions and experiences of individual people; second, to localized histories that may not coincide with the supra-national Soviet developmental narrative; and third, to the positing of an archaic, even pre-historical temporality as a kind of lost ideal. I argue that poetic cinema serves as a site for playing out the contradiction among temporalities and spatialities in post-Stalin culture, and therefore among opposed sense-making projects and representational modes, creating the possibility for subverting the colonial function of Soviet cinema.
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    Revolutionary Landscapes and Kitchens of Refusal: Tomato Sauce and Sovereignty in Egypt
    (Wiley, 2022-10-09) Gaul, Anny
    This article presents a cultural history of tasbika, a tomato-based cooking technique, as a window into transformations of sovereignty in colonial and postcolonial Egypt. It draws on cookbooks, popular magazines and oral histories to argue that tasbika’s relatively recent emergence as one of the country's most ubiquitous home cooking methods was made possible not only by state-led industrialisation and modernisation projects, but also through a form of sovereignty wielded by women working in their home kitchens. This article describes this ‘kitchen sovereignty’ as an everyday form of power exercised by home cooks making decisions about how to manage scarce resources and feed their families. Moving beyond questions of food policies and market supply, this study of food and power centres the domestic labour that home cooks performed to transform raw ingredients into the flavours of everyday life in Egypt.
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    Estimating reliability for response-time difference measures: Toward a standardized, model-based approach
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-05-29) Hui, Bronson; Wu, Zhiyi
    A slowdown or a speedup in response times across experimental conditions can be taken as evidence of online deployment of knowledge. However, response-time difference measures are rarely evaluated on their reliability, and there is no standard practice to estimate it. In this article, we used three open data sets to explore an approach to reliability that is based on mixed-effects modeling and to examine model criticism as an outlier treatment strategy. The results suggest that the model-based approach can be superior but show no clear advantage of model criticism. We followed up these results with a simulation study to identify the specific conditions in which the model-based approach has the most benefits. Researchers who cannot include a large number of items and have a moderate level of noise in their data may find this approach particularly useful. We concluded by calling for more awareness and research on the psychometric properties of measures in the field.
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    Scrutinizing LLAMA D as a measure of implicit learning aptitude
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-01-09) Iizuka, Takehiro; DeKeyser, Robert
    Since Gisela Granena’s influential work, LLAMA D v2, a sound recognition subtest of LLAMA aptitude tests, has been used as a measure of implicit learning aptitude in second language acquisition research. The validity of this test, however, is little known and the results of studies with this instrument have been somewhat inconsistent. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that researchers’ variable test instructions are the source of the inconsistent results. One hundred fourteen English monolinguals were randomly assigned to take LLAMA D v2 under one of three test instruction conditions. They also completed two implicit aptitude tests, three explicit aptitude tests, and a sound discrimination test. The results showed that, regardless of the type of test instructions, LLAMA D scores did not align with implicit aptitude test scores, indicating no clear evidence of the test being implicit. On the contrary, LLAMA D scores were negatively associated with scores on one implicit aptitude test, the Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task, but only in the condition where the instructions drew participants’ focal attention to the stimuli. This negative association was interpreted as focal attention working against learning in the SRT task. Implicit learning aptitude may be the degree to which one is able to process input without focal attention.
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    Development of automaticity in processing L2 collocations: The roles of L1 collocational knowledge and practice condition
    (Cambridge University Press, 2023-01-27) Jeong, Hyojin; DeKeyser, Robert
    This study examined the development of automaticity in processing L2 collocations, and the roles of L1 collocational knowledge and practice conditions in the development process. Korean learners of English were assigned to one of two practice conditions (practice in identical or varied contexts). The learning gains for word combinations with and without equivalent counterparts in the L1 (L1-only and L2-only collocations) were assessed using response times (RTs) and coefficients of variation (CV) from a phrasal decision task. The results demonstrated that the learners in both groups showed significantly improved collocation processing for both types of items in terms of speed (RT) and automaticity (CV) over time. The RT and CV analyses indicated that both groups’ improvements in collocation processing in the later stages of learning were associated with automatization. Interestingly, L1 collocational knowledge played a facilitative role in processing speed only in the early stages of learning. No reliable evidence for the differential effects of the two types of practice conditions on developing automaticity in collocation processing was found.
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    The Qalandar King: Early Development of the Qalandariyyāt and Saljuq Conceptions of Kingship in Amir Moʿezzi’s Panegyric for Sharafshāh Jaʿfari
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-03-11) Miller, Matthew Thomas
    Historical treatments of the “rogue lyrics” (qalandariyyāt) of medieval Persian poetry typically identify their origin in the Sufi poetry of Bābā Tāher, Abu Saʿid, and Sanāʾi and portray them as a poetic instantiation of the intellectual and antinomian critiques of the formalistic modes of piety practiced in the increasingly powerful institutionalized Sufi orders. However, the qalandari panegyrics of the Saljuq court poets Borhāni and Amir Moʿezzi—arguably the earliest datable examples of this poetry—analyzed in this article complicate this narrative. They utilize the heterotopic poetics of the qalandariyyāt not to subvert or critique, but rather to augment the sociopolitical authority of the ruler of Qazvin, constructing a new and distinctly Saljuq model of Islamic kingship, a Qalandar King.
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    Correlated attributes: Toward a labeling algorithm of complementary categorial features
    (Frontiers, 2023-02-21) Uriagereka, Juan
    Classical syntactic features are revisited from an algebraic perspective, recalling a traditional argument that the ±N vs. ±V distinction involves correlated, conceptually orthogonal, features, which can be represented in the algebraic format of ±1 vs. ±i complementary elements in a vectorial space. Coupled with natural assumptions about shared information (semiotic) systems, such a space, when presumed within a labeling algorithm, allows us to deduce fundamental properties of the syntax that do not follow from the presumed computation, like core selectional restrictions for lexical categories or their very presupposition in the context of a system of grammatical categories. This article suggests how that fundamental distinction can be coupled with neurophysiological realities, some of which (represented as mathematically real) can be pinpointed into punctual representations, while others (represented as mathematically complex) are, instead, fundamentally distributed. The postulated matrix mechanics amounts to a novel perspective on how to analyze syntactic neurophysiological signals.
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    Multiliteracies and Multimodality in the SHL Classroom. A Workshop
    (2020) Gironzetti, Elisa; Belpoliti, Flavia
    This workshop is organized to engage participants in the four stages (experiencing, conceptualizing, analyzing, and applying) of the “Learning by Design” multiliteracy pedagogy, with a focus on Spanish heritage language education. In the first part of the workshop, participants are introduced to the main principles of a pedagogy of multiliteracies (The New London Group 1996; Kalantzis & Cope 2008; Allen & Paesani, 2010; López-Sánchez, 2014; Kalantzis et al. 2016; Zapata & Lacorte 2016) through examples, reflection on teaching practices, and guided discussions. In this initial stage, the focus will be on discovering the tenets of a multiliteracies approach to language learning, as well as exploring different multimodal discourses and their suitability to teaching SHL student populations in a variety of educational contexts. In the second part of the workshop, participants will experience and analyze a sample set of teaching materials that have been successfully implemented in a Spanish HL university course. The experience phase of the workshop engages participants as students who learn within a multiliteracies framework. The analysis phase, on the other hand, promotes critical reflection on the student experience as well as a discussion of the design process of these teaching materials, from conception to implementation and assessment. In the final section, participants work in small groups to brainstorm and apply multiliteracies principles to design a learning unit that considers the specific needs of learners in their heritage and mixed classrooms.
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    Cognitive testing of physical activity and acculturation questions in recent and long-term Latino immigrants
    (Springer Nature, 2010-08-13) Berrigan, David; Forsyth, Barbara H; Helba, Cynthia; Levin, Kerry; Norberg, Alicia; Willis, Gordon B
    We ascertained the degree to which language (English versus Spanish), and residence time in the US influence responses to survey questions concerning two topics: self-reported acculturation status, and recent physical activity (PA). This topic is likely to be of general interest because of growing numbers of immigrants in countries worldwide. We carried out qualitative (cognitive) interviews of survey items on acculturation and physical activity on 27 Latino subjects from three groups: (a) In Spanish, of those of low residence time (less than five years living in the U.S.) (n = 9); (b) In Spanish, of those of high residence time (15 or more years in the U.S) (n = 9); and (c) in English, of those of high residence time (n = 9). There were very few language translation problems; general question design defects and socio-cultural challenges to survey responses were more common. Problems were found for both acculturation and PA questions, with distinct problem types for the two question areas. Residence time/language group was weakly associated with overall frequency of problems observed: low residence time/Spanish (86%), high residence time/Spanish (67%), and English speaking groups (62%). Standardized survey questions related to acculturation and physical activity present somewhat different cognitive challenges. For PA related questions, problems with such questions were similar regardless of subject residence time or language preference. For acculturation related questions, residence time/language or education level influenced responses to such questions. These observations should help in the interpretation of survey results for culturally diverse populations.
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    German Cinema in the Age of Neoliberalism
    (Amsterdam University Press, 2021-11-03) Baer, Hester
    This book presents a new history of German film from 1980-2010, a period that witnessed rapid transformations, including intensified globalization, a restructured world economy, geopolitical realignment, and technological change, all of which have affected cinema in fundamental ways. Rethinking the conventional periodization of German film history, Baer posits 1980-rather than 1989-as a crucial turning point for German cinema's embrace of a new market orientation and move away from the state-sponsored film culture that characterized both DEFA and the New German Cinema. Reading films from East, West, and post-unification Germany together, Baer argues that contemporary German cinema is characterized most strongly by its origins in and responses to advanced capitalism. Informed by a feminist approach and in dialogue with prominent theories of contemporary film, the book places a special focus on how German films make visible the neoliberal recasting of gender and national identities around the new millennium.
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    Raspberry, not a car: context predictability and a phonological advantage in early and late learners’ processing of speech in noise
    (Frontiers, 2014-12-19) Gor, Kira
    Second language learners perform worse than native speakers under adverse listening conditions, such as speech in noise (SPIN). No data are available on heritage language speakers’ (early naturalistic interrupted learners’) ability to perceive SPIN. The current study fills this gap and investigates the perception of Russian speech in multi-talker babble noise by the matched groups of high-and low-proficiency heritage speakers (HSs) and late second language learners of Russian who were native speakers of English. The study includes a control group of Russian native speakers. It manipulates the noise level (high and low), and context cloze probability (high and low). The results of the SPIN task are compared to the tasks testing the control of phonology, AXB discrimination and picture-word discrimination, and lexical knowledge, a word translation task, in the same participants. The increased phonological sensitivity of HSs interacted with their ability to rely on top–down processing in sentence integration, use contextual cues, and build expectancies in the high-noise/high-context condition in a bootstrapping fashion. HSs out performed oral proficiency-matched late second language learners on SPIN task and two tests of phonological sensitivity. The outcomes of the SPIN experiment support both the early naturalistic advantage and the role of proficiency in HSs. HSs’ ability to take advantage of the high-predictability context in the high-noise condition was mitigated by their level of proficiency. Only high-proficiency HSs, but not any other non-native group, took advantage of the high-predictability context that became available with better phonological processing skills in high-noise. The study thus confirms high-proficiency (but not low-proficiency) HSs’ nativelike ability to combine bottom–up and top–down cues in processing SPIN.