Theses/Dissertations - Modern Languages and Cultures

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    Hispanic popular culture : a proposal to incorporate it and use it as a didactic tool in the Spanish heritage classroom.
    (May 2023) Torres, Yulissa, 1998-; Climent-Espino, Rafael, 1977-
    Using the critical language and cultural awareness approach as a theoretical framework, this thesis demonstrates how Hispanic popular culture (HPC) reinforces the motivation of heritage students, helps them become more culturally competent, and teaches them about the diversity and representation of the Hispanic world. HPC has historically been omitted from Spanish heritage textbooks used in the U.S. I analyze four texts where HPC is practically nonexistent in these materials. In a series of surveys distributed to heritage students at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels of Spanish, I verified that all respondents demand HPC. To fill this gap, I propose three didactic units at each level that uses HPC as a didactic tool to help students reflect critically on diversity in Latin America. Students were then asked to answer a questionnaire that reflected how HPC motivated them to continue learning about current issues in the Hispanic world.
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    Remember García : an analysis of the life, legacy, and leadership of Dr. Héctor P. García.
    (May 2023) Garcia, Veronica Rose, 1998-; Silverstein, Stephen, 1978-
    The present research paper examines the historical figure of Dr. Héctor P. García. I begin by examining the history of the Alamo from an unpopular perspective, the Mexican side. By explaining the lesser-known history of the Alamo, I analyze García’s similar situation. I, therefore, follow my introduction with a brief overview of the socio-historical climate of the twentieth century that allowed García to capitalize on the growing impatience of Mexican Americans and their unequal treatment in the U.S. I further explain through his biography how an immigrant from Llera, Tamaulipas was able to gain such prominence in the United States as an American hero. With data gathered from various primary and secondary sources, I establish that García is a true patriotic American who greatly impacted U.S. history as we know it today.
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    Towards an occult didacticism : Don Juan Manuel’s doctrine of the occult in the Conde Lucanor.
    (May 2023) Vanderpool, Jordan L., 1998-; Larson, Paul, 1959-
    This investigation examines the use of the occult in four exemplary tales of the Conde Lucanor, by the nobleman and infante, Don Juan Manuel. Through a close reading of the text, the thesis more specifically analyzes the didactic use of these references to the occult and magic, ultimately coming to the conclusion that the utilization of occult references by the author manifests an ambivalence towards the magical arts. While some tales present a clear condemnation of the dark arts, others implicitly approve their use. Based on theological, philosophical, and juridical writings of the times, this thesis argues that this moral and philosophical uncertainty towards the occult reflects the historical confusion present in the Middle Ages regarding the occult, superstition, and magical practices.
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    Marriage as unifying theme in the early modern Spanish religious drama.
    (May 2023) Rziha, Christopher J., 1998-; McNair, Alexander J.
    In this thesis, I will examine the role of the nuptial reality in the religious drama of the Spanish Golden Age as a unifier of the sacred and profane elements of the human condition. In doing so, I will propose that the unifying role of marriage can be best appreciated when viewed through a non-competitive, or teleological, understanding of the relationship between divinity and humanity. I will establish the cultural context in which the role of marriage as a unifying theme must be approached and will then analyze certain theatrical works from three playwrights: José de Valdivielso’s autos sacramentales, Marcela de san Félix’s Coloquios del Alma, and Lope de Vega’s La bienaventurada Madre Santa Teresa de Jesús. Through my examination of these dramas, I will demonstrate that the mystical wedding serves as a teleological unifier of the sacred and profane spheres of Spanish Baroque society. I will conclude by reemphasizing the importance of this thesis and by suggesting other necessary avenues of study.
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    Human rights and social injustice in Nadie me vera llorar's Mexico of 1880-1930.
    (2022-05-06) Gomez Lopez, Gabriela, 1997-; McNair, Alexander J.
    Through her acclaimed novel, Nadie me vera llorar, Cristina Rivera Garza, prolific Mexican author, and feminist literary icon, explores the conflicted history of vanilla as it is intimately intertwined with the history of Mexico and its people. This thesis offers a deep dive into the history of vanilla, from a prized and sacred crop of the indigenous Totonac people to the vessel of brutal oppression of said people by the European colonizers of the country. Using the New Historicism theory as a critical lens, the author of this thesis attempts to fill the gap of the widely misunderstood and often overlooked struggle for human rights throughout the history of Mexico, as illustrated by instances in the novel. The thesis will carefully explore the contextual history and human rights movement of the Porfirian era and how these are juxtaposed with Rivera Garza’s own view and beliefs regarding the movement – to shed light on the stories of the forgotten.
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    A multisensory approach to reading instruction in both English and Spanish.
    (2022-05-10) Bryant-Hassler, Chelsea J., 1996-; McManness, Linda M.
    Around 10 million students all over the world have difficulties learning to read, but 90% of these students can overcome their challenges with proper intervention. Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Instruction is a teaching approach that has been tested and proven to be beneficial for struggling readers in English. The goal of this study is to bring awareness to the positive effects of the OG approach and to propose a similar method be created for the Spanish language which could greatly contribute to the field of bilingual education. The research implemented in this study supported the belief that teaching phonological awareness is beneficial in both languages further supporting bilingual instruction. As educators, we are charged with guiding all children to grow in mind and character even though we all have unique gifts, talents and learning styles.
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    Methods for teaching introductory Spanish phonology.
    (2022-05-06) Smith, Gloria F., 1998-; McManness, Linda M.
    This study examines research-based methods of teaching pronunciation in an introductory Spanish course. It endeavors to create a lesson-plan structure from which instructors can build lessons to teach pronunciation. Five structured lesson plans were implemented over a five-week period, and a pre- and post-test were administered. Data from the pre- and post-tests were inconclusive in determining whether the method implemented in this study was effective. Despite the inconclusive data, results suggest that more pronunciation instruction should be included in the introductory classroom, as various studies have demonstrated its effectiveness. Additionally, results from student surveys demonstrate that students found pronunciation instruction to be helpful. Consequently, it is important for faculty at universities to consider including more explicit pronunciation instruction in introductory Spanish curricula.
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    A cognitive poetic exploration of Elena Poniatowska’s La noche de Tlatelolco.
    (2021-05-04) Boyd, Megan Michelle, 1996-; McNair, Alexander J.
    This study of Elena Poniatowska’s La noche de Tlateloco is based on a cognitive poetic approach to explore readers’ perceptions of the work. It affirms both the historical veracity and literary ingenuity of the text by highlighting literary elements and asserting that they strengthen rather than weaken readers’ historical understanding of the censured collective trauma. This study applies theories of readers’ literary perceptions to investigate the work as a sensorially immersive experience. It analyzes the emotional atmospheres in “Ganar la calle” and “La noche de Tlatelolco” by highlighting cognitive qualities of emotions within the text. It then postulates that the creative presentation of La noche draws readers’ attention to historical silences and immerses them into parts of the past often overlooked by conventional historiography.
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    Power struggle and systematic oppression as reflected in twentieth-century Spanish and Latin American novels.
    (2021-04-30) Lassiter, Lindsay N., 1995-; Blackwell, Frieda Hilda.
    This thesis examines three novels: Sonata de otoño (1903) by Ramón del Valle-Inclán, Los santos inocentes (1981) by Miguel Delibes, and El indio (1935) by Gregorio López y Fuentes to identify the similar socioeconomic structures they present. By applying postcolonial theory, we determine that the abuse suffered by the members of the lower class are a result of a longstanding oppressive socioeconomic system that maintains the privilege of the rich. In the earliest novel, Ramón del Valle-Inclán presents a decadent social structure through which he critiques a stagnant and unproductive nobility, and their mutually beneficial relationship with members of the Catholic Church. The victims of this structure are the poor servants and peasants, who are only allowed to enter the spaces of the rich to serve them. Miguel Delibes depicts a similar structure, within which the poor live in appalling conditions in a small shack on the rural estate of a rich family. He establishes the same relationship between the Church and the elite, who systemically oppress the poor. Gregorio López y Fuentes depicts the systemic subjugation of a rural indigenous community by an urban elite class in Mexico. The blancos and mestizos use fear to reinforce the same pillars of power that reinforce society in the two Spanish novels: the Catholic Church and the small upper class. El indio proves to be the obvious choice for the application of postcolonial theory, but all three novels demonstrate an unequal distribution of power and wealth, which results in a small dominant class locking the poor masses into a position of servitude.
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    El desarraigo en la narrativa latinoamericana de la segunda mitad del siglo XX : el caso de Juan Rulfo = Unhomeliness in the Latin American narrative of the second half of the 20th Century : the case of Juan Rulfo.
    (2021-04-23) Escamilla, Patricia E., 1978-; García-Corales, Guillermo.
    En base a una perspectiva analítica ecléctica con énfasis en la crítica cultural, esta tesis analiza el concepto del desarraigo que se reitera en textos narrativos latinoamericanos publicados a partir de la segunda parte del siglo XX. En especial, examina la trayectoria de este concepto en los cuentos “No oyes ladrar los perros”, “¡Diles que no me maten!” y “Luvina” del mexicano Juan Rulfo. Este análisis propone que los textos estudiados se refieren de manera relevante a diversas expresiones del desarraigo en el contexto latinoamericano, exponiéndolo como uno de los conceptos más significativos de la narrativa del continente. En este sentido, la presente tesis propone que dichas narrativas anuncian uno de los elementos más significativos de la condición existencial del sujeto contemporáneo global correspondiente a su condición de desarraigado territorial, político, social, familiar y psicológico. = Based on an eclectic analytical perspective, with an emphasis on cultural criticism, this thesis analyzes the concept of unhomeliness reiterated throughout Latin American narratives published in the second half of the 20th century. Specifically, it examines this concept’s trajectory in the short stories, “No oyes ladrar los perros”, “¡Diles que no me maten!” and “Luvina” from the Mexican author Juan Rulfo. This analysis proposes that the studied texts make relevant references to diverse expressions of unhomeliness in the Latin American context, establishing it as one of the continent’s most significant narrative concepts. In this respect, the present thesis proposes that such narratives inform one of the most significant elements of the global contemporary subject’s existential condition as it corresponds with their state of territorial, political, social, and familial displacement.
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    Second language acquisition : the need for explicit pragmatic instruction in beginning-level language classes.
    (2020-04-02) Kerber, Noelle Kenon, 1996-; McManness, Linda M.
    Conventional classroom instruction leaves a void in the formation of communicative competence among language learners. This communicative competence deficiency can in part be attributed to learners’ deficient pragmatic abilities. Due to insufficient attention and/or poor teacher preparation, language classrooms lack incorporation of significant pragmatic instruction, leaving students with inadequate understanding of the language function. While students might understand the forms of the language, they need instruction and consciousness-raising to truly acquire sociolinguistic abilities. The process of acquiring pragmatics should be encouraged from early on; even in natural settings, development of speech acts takes some time (Achiba; BardoviHarlig). Therefore, pragmatic instruction must be included from beginning level classes. Specifically, speech acts such as greetings and compliments are suitable for the grammar knowledge of novice learners.
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    A comparison between an inventive present perfect and the preterite.
    (2020-04-08) Booth, Olivia C., 1996-; McManness, Linda M.
    Based on research evidence proving the evolution and expansion of uses of the present perfect tense, a comparison between the preterite and the present perfect should be acknowledged and instructed in the Spanish language classroom. Though they are taught separately, the present perfect and the preterite tenses overlap with regard to their functions and characteristics. Such an overlap confirms the value of an established comparison in the Spanish language classroom. The present study first provides an objective description of the uses of both the present perfect and the preterite tenses. Second, research investigations focused on the present perfect uses in Spain, Latin America, and Mexico will prove the inventiveness of present perfect uses. Finally, data collected from local news articles in the regions of Spain, Latin America, and Mexico are used to present the varying percentages of the present perfect versus preterite usage.
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    Heritage and second language learner perception of Spanish pronunciation.
    (2020-04-17) Sangster Garza, Rachel, 1995-; Hardin, Karol J.
    Spanish heritage language (HL) learners demonstrate measurable differences in their production and accent when compared to both native speakers (NS) and second language (L2) learners of Spanish (Montrul, 2011; Potowski, 2009; Rao, 2014; Shea, 2019). This research sought to continue study in phonological perception by testing HL learners’ assessments of other speakers. The results suggest that differing language experience of L2 and HL learners of Spanish is associated with their perceptions of the proficiency, native-like accent, and language identity of other speakers. Findings also suggest that HL learners and NS are less likely than L2 learners to focus on phonetics when identifying the language proficiency, accent, and identity of Spanish speakers and they respond more favorably to other speakers’ proficiency and accent when compared to L2 learners. This thesis contributes to our understanding of perception and addresses the need for additional research in this area or heritage linguistics.
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    The relevance of the absurd in mid-20th century Latin-American literature.
    (2019-07-23) Fraley, Alexandra Kendall, 1993-; García-Corales, Guillermo.
    Esta tesis explora un segmento representativo de la literatura latinoamericana publicada durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Se enfoca en reconocidos textos literarios del mexicano Carlos Fuentes y el colombiano Gabriel García Márquez. La ficción narrativa analizada se distancia del realismo convencional y se concentra principalmente en la subjetividad del ser humano mediante el despliegue de temas tales como la incertidumbre, la ambigüedad, la alienación, la incomunicación, la soledad, la angustia, la ansiedad, la nostalgia y el desencanto. Estos temas corresponden a los grandes problemas del sujeto contemporáneo y confluyen en la categoría ideológica que en este análisis se denomina con el concepto del absurdo. En base a las nociones de Albert Camus sobre el absurdo, esta tesis propone que la representación de diversas manifestaciones de la categoría del absurdo constituye un aspecto significativo en la narrativa latinoamericana publicada desde mediados del siglo XX. = This thesis explores a representative selection of Latin-American literature published during the second half of the 20th century. It focuses on well-known literary texts from two authors: Carlos Fuentes (Mexico) and the Gabriel García Márquez (Columbia). The narrative fiction analyzed here departs from conventional realism and concentrates primarily on human subjectivity through the exposition of themes such as uncertainty, ambiguity, alienation, isolation, solitude, anguish, anxiety, nostalgia, and disillusionment. These themes correlate with the greatest problems of the contemporary subject and fall within the ideological category which in this analysis is termed the concept of the absurd. Based on the work of Albert Camus regarding the absurd, this thesis proposes that the representation of diverse manifestations of this concept constitutes a significant component of Latin American narrative published since the mid-20th century.
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    La muerte física y psicológica en obras poéticas de Federico García Lorca
    (2019-04-05) Stevenson, Connor Patrick, 1994-; Blackwell, Frieda Hilda.
    La muerte es un tema omnipresente en la obra del poeta español, Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) desde sus primeras colecciones, en que se crea un lenguaje poético de símbolos asociados con la muerte que emplea a lo largo de su producción poética. En El Romancero gitano (1927), su colección poética más famosa, estos símbolos llegan a su pleno poder, y se representa la muerte en sus formas física y psicológica, con la luna como el símbolo mortal más importante. En el “Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías” (1935), la más famosa elegía en lengua castellana desde las “Coplas” de Manrique (1476), García Lorca llora la pérdida de su gran amigo torero en un retrato surrealista de su muerte, en el que dominan los símbolos mortales. Así, García Lorca explora el tema de la muerte desde el comienzo hasta el final de su producción para transformarlo en una presentación universal. Death is an omnipresent theme in the poetry of Spanish poet, Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), from his earliest collections, in which he creates his own poetic language of symbols associated with death, which he employs throughout his poetic work. In El Romancero gitano (1927), his most famous poetic collection, these symbols achieve their full power, and death is represented both physically and psychologically, with the moon as its major symbol. In “Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías” (1935), the most famous Spanish elegy since the “Coplas” by Manrique (1476), García Lorca laments the death of a great friend and bullfighter in a Surrealist fashion, in which his poetic symbols of death continue to dominate. Thus, García Lorca consistently explores the theme of death from his earliest poems to his last work in both an abstract and a very personal fashion, to create poetry that speaks universally on this ubiquitous human experience.
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    La ropa hace la mujer : explorando la cuestión de la voluntad femenina en obras de Emilia Pardo Bazán y Benito Pérez Galdós = Clothes make the woman : exploring female agency in Emilia Pardo Bazán’s short stories and in La de Bringas by Benito Pérez Galdós.
    (2018-05-03) Odom, Kathryn D., 1992-; Blackwell, Frieda Hilda.
    En el siglo XIX se comenzó a debatir el papel de la mujer española. Emilia Pardo Bazán, considerada la autora fundamental del naturalismo español, ilumina la lucha de la mujer en el siglo XIX de obtener algún control sobre su propia vida. Se ve una representación distinta de la mujer a través del realismo de Benito Pérez Galdós. Esta tesis analiza el tema de la voluntad femenina en cuentos de Pardo Bazán y en la novela La de Bringas de Galdós. El segundo capítulo examina “Piña”, “El décimo” y “Las medias rojas” de Pardo Bazán, en los que la protagonista carece de autodeterminismo y su destrucción. El tercer capítulo analiza “El encaje roto”, “Memento” y “Feminista” de Pardo Bazán, en los cuales los personajes femeninos tienen cierto control, dentro del ámbito social que limita sus opciones. El cuarto capítulo considera los personajes femeninos de La de Bringas de Galdós que parecen tener voluntad propia, que resulta ambigua. = The role of the Spanish woman began to evolve in the 20th century. Emilia Pardo Bazán, considered the fundamental Spanish Naturalist, illuminated the fight of the 20th century to obtain some control over her own life. A distinct representation of the women is seen through the realism of Benito Pérez Galdós. This thesis analyzes the theme of female agency in Pardo Bazán’s stories and in La de Bringas, written by Galdós. The second chapter examines “Piña”, “El décimo” and “Las medias rojas” by Pardo Bazán, stories in which the protagonist lacks agency and her destruction is portrayed. The third chapter evaluates “El encaje roto”, “Memento” and “Feminista” by Pardo Bazán. In these stories, the female characters have some control within the restricting social setting. The fourth chapter considers the female characters in La de Bringas, where perceived agency leaves the reader ambiguous.
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    The relationship between role-shifting and errors in nurse-interpreter dialogue with Spanish-speaking patients.
    (2018-05-02) Blumenthal, Teresa G., 1994-; Hardin, Karol J.
    Interpretation in the United States is a profession of variance. In some places, healthcare employees double as interpreters when needed, and are called dual-role interpreters. Previous studies focused on error production and clinical consequence in interpreted medical consultations (Flores et al., 2003; Flores, Milagros, Pizzo Barone, Bachur & Lin, 2012; Nápoles, Santoyo-Olsson, Karliner, Gregorich, & Pérez-Stable, 2015). This study analyzed 30 transcriptions of video-recorded consultations of Spanish-speaking patients using dual-role nurse-interpreters. The goal was to better understand the contexts of error production by understanding the roles dual-role nurses played when generating the errors. The errors examined included omission, addition, and substitution, which are common in interpretation (Flores et al., 2003, 2012; Ana M. Nápoles et al., 2015). The roles or “voices” included in this study were those of nurse, interpreter, and fellow human, adapted from Cordella (2004). This study contributes to the literature on error production in dual-role interpreters in order to inform future training for nurse-interpreters by describing underlying reasons for some of their errors.
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    The recognition of human rights in Latin American literature = El reconocimiento de los derechos humanos en la narrativa latinoamericana.
    (2017-04-07) Patterson, David J., 1994-; García-Corales, Guillermo.
    El reconocimiento de los derechos humanos en la narrativa latinoamericana. Sobre la base de la crítica cultural, esta tesis examina la búsqueda de los derechos humanos en los cuentos “Luvina” de Juan Rulfo, “La siesta del martes” de Gabriel García Márquez y “El ángel caído” de Cristina Peri Rossi. La hipótesis de este análisis propone que esa indagación constituye un elemento estético e ideológico fundamental en estos textos, sustentándose en tres líneas de pensamiento. Primero, la literatura es un acto socialmente simbólico y, así, intenta reinventar soluciones imaginarias de los conflictos sociales, entre los cuales se encuentra la oposición binaria de la defensa o la negación de los derechos humanos. Segundo, los derechos humanos constituyen un elemento primordial de la literatura y de la narrativa latinoamericana del siglo XX. Tercero, el reconocimiento de los derechos humanos justifica la existencia del acto literario que, en un diálogo con el complejo campo de las relaciones socioculturales, busca reconstituir simbólicamente la vida humana. = Drawing from cultural criticism, this thesis examines the form and the method in which the search for human rights is expressed in the short stories “Luvina” by Juan Rulfo, “Tuesday Siesta” by Gabriel García Márquez, and “Fallen Angel” by Cristina Peri Rossi. This analysis proposes that the human rights driven impulse constitutes a fundamental aesthetic and ideological element in the narrated worlds of the indicated texts and is sustained on three lines of thought. First, literature is a socially symbolic act and therefore attempts to reinvent hypothetical solutions to social conflicts, in which the binary opposition between the defense and negation of human rights is found. Second, human rights constitute a primordial element of all literature, particularly in 20th century Latin American narratives. Third, the recognition of human rights justifies the very existence of the literary act which, in the complex field of sociocultural relations, attempts to symbolically recreate human life.
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    Minimizing transfer : including Spanish phonetics and phonology in curricula for beginner and intermediate university students of Spanish.
    (2017-04-07) Lyles, Dustin R., 1992-; McManness, Linda M.
    This thesis explores the ways in which certain types of linguistic transfer, specifically phonetic and phonological, impact the second language acquisition process of university students whose target language is Spanish. Included are pedagogical implications for future curricula that include the fundamental phonetic and phonological aspects of Spanish that should be taught to foster proper pronunciation starting at the beginning level. Four prominent Spanish textbooks are analyzed on their approach to teaching phonetics and phonology, including segmentals and suprasegmentals, intonation and dialectal variation, as well as their overall methodology concerning the instruction of skills to develop a native-like pronunciation in the target language.
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    A pragmalinguistic analysis of missed opportunities for building rapport in interpreted medical interviews with Spanish-speaking patients.
    (2016-03-14) Allison, Abigail Jordan, 1990-; Hardin, Karol J.
    Interpreted medical discourse presents significant challenges for communication because portions of the original message are often reduced, omitted, or revised (Aranguri, Davidson, & Ramirez, 2006), particularly by lay interpreters. Linguistic devices that contribute to rapport and politeness, such as mitigation, are often perceived as unimportant or unnecessary and are therefore omitted. Thus, when messages are conveyed without interpretation of politeness and rapport attempts, pragmatic issues and misunderstandings occur. The present investigation analyzed 43 transcriptions of interpreted medical consultations previously recorded at a family medicine clinic in Central Texas. The analysis quantified which rapport-building attempts most frequently occurred but were not interpreted and examined specific and general effects of noninterpretation, as well as potential consequences for physician-patient communication and rapport.