Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Systematic Asymmetries in Perception and Production of L2 Inflections in Mandarin L2 Learners of English: The Effects of Phonotactics, Salience, and Processing Pressure on Inflectional Variability

    Author:
    Timothy Bonner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Linguistics
    Advisor:
    Gita Martohardjono
    Abstract:

    The study of language production by adults who are learning a second language (L2) has received a good deal of attention especially when it comes to omission of inflectional morphemes within L2 utterances. Several explanations have been proposed for these inflectional errors. One explanation is that the L2 learner simply does not have the L2 syntactic or prosodic representation in his grammar leading to omission of surface inflections (Hawkins & Liszka, 2003; Goad, White, & Steele, 2003, respectively). Others attribute L2 errors to mapping problems between the lexicon and syntax (Prévost & White, 2000; Lardiere, 1998, 2003). Another potential explanation for the variable production of inflectional endings is that it may be due to performance factors as in Hopp (2009) and Martohardjono, Valian, and Klein (2012) or to "Extra-syntactic" factors as proposed in Klein (2004) or to syllable repairs due to L1 phonotactic interference as proposed in Davidson (2005, 2006a, 2006b). This dissertation claims that when L2 morphosyntactic representations are shown to be available in the L2 learner's grammar, L2 inflectional variability can be attributed to L1 phonotactic interference, salience of the L2 inflection, and performance factors leading to systematic, but asymmetrical patterns of perception and production of the allomorphs that represent the surface L2 inflections. The results revealed that the target inflections were not omitted across the board as would be expected under deficit accounts. On the contrary, repairs of the final target coda clusters (i.e., schwa epenthesis before and after the final inflectional consonant and devoicing of the word-final consonants) revealed patterns that are consistent with the degree of syllabicity (e.g., [Vd] vs. [t] and [d]) and sonority (e.g., [s] vs. [t]) of the allomorph or coda and are not indicative of morphosyntactic deficits. Importantly, schwa epenthesis was applied asymmetrically (i.e., particularly to stops [t] and [d]) in clusters that contained target codas and inflectional allomorphs in real, nonce, and monomorphemic items, and thus, this repair pattern is contra the Prosodic Transfer Hypothesis of Goad et al. (2003). Overall, this dissertation presents an alternative explanation for L2 inflectional errors outside of the morphosyntactic and prosodic deficit arguments.

  • THE VARIABLE GRAMMAR OF THE SPANISH SUBJUNCTIVE IN SECOND-GENERATION BILINGUALS IN NEW YORK CITY

    Author:
    Kevin Bookhamer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Ricardo Otheguy
    Abstract:

    This morphosyntactic dissertation study compares the use of MOOD (indicative & subjunctive) in first- and second-generation Spanish speakers in New York City. The data for this study are from a transcription of naturalistic Spanish conversations with New Yorkers of different generations, representing the six primary Spanish-speaking groups in NYC: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian and Cuban. We analyze data from 26 born in Latin America and 26 born or raised in NYC, totaling 52 transcriptions. The reference model is the mood usage of first-generation newcomers, not a standard Spanish normative framework. The objective was to examine the use of mood by way of descriptive and inferential analytical methods in order to determine whether or not the second-generation bilinguals' mood grammar has changed, and if so, to establish exactly where and how it differs from the first-generation. The research questions were: 1) Does the subjunctive use of second-generation NYC bilinguals differ from that of their first-generation NYC counterparts? 2) What are the syntactic and communicative contexts in which the subjunctive is used in the first and second generations? 3) What internal and external independent variables condition mood choice in both immigrant generational groups? 4) Is the second generation's use of mood such that grammatical command of mood appears developed and systematic? Or is there evidence of an incomplete or unsystematic mood grammar? Our findings corroborate the results from other studies centered on generational U.S. subjunctive use: the second generation generates fewer subjunctives and more indicatives than the first-generation, a finding supported by statistical significance. The two generations also differ significantly concerning the internal contexts where mood manifests, but command of mood does appear intact among the majority of the second generation, thus problematizing common notions such as attrition, incomplete acquisition, and to a degree, simplification. Furthermore, analyses concerning several external variables show that the first generation appears essentially homogenous with respect to their use of mood, whereas the second-generation displays far more variability. Finally, this dissertation contributes to the variationist-sociolinguistic knowledge of Spanish grammar in bilingual settings.

  • The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Savings and Investment

    Author:
    Andrew Bossie
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Economics
    Advisor:
    Michael Edelstein
    Abstract:

    This dissertation contains three essays exploring the effect of fiscal policy shocks on savings and lending behavior of the private economy. Two essays focus on World War II and one essay focuses on the entire postwar period. Essay I looks at the response of monetary policy to fiscal policy shocks and the effect of fiscal policy on the private sector's balance sheet over a period that covers 1954 and 2007. I find a minimal response of the Federal Reserve to fiscal policy shocks. I also find the the main response of the private sector to fiscal policy shocks manifests itself in household assets. Long term assets in particular react very strongly. Essay II establishes the important role of savings during and immediately after World War II. I show that the unexpectedly high savings rates that persisted after the war ended was driven by the fact that housing purchases are counted as a kind of savings. Treating housing as a durable consumption good produces the negative savings expected. Essay III looks at the behavior of commercial banks in the period 1940 to 1955. I find that there is a--both economic and statistically--significant negative effect of war spending on total assets, mortgage lending, and commercial, industrial and agricultural loans made by commercial banks throughout the war and until 1949. The response of bank assets during the immediate postwar period is indicative of the unusual pattern of output and the money supply between 1946 and 1950. All this is taken as evidence that reconversion was not as smooth and robust as commonly argued.

  • Entrapment and Enchantment: Nympholepsy and the Cult of the Girl Child

    Author:
    Jenny Boully
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Wayne Koestenbaum
    Abstract:

    Focusing on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955), Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1886), J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy (1911), Henry Darger's The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, and John Ashbery's Girls on the Run (1999), this dissertation investigates how the Victorian cult of the girl child may have its roots in another Victorian interest, ancient Greek culture. While this dissertation adds to the scholarship on literary pedophilia, it makes a distinction between the pedophile and the nympholept. Whereas the pedophile wishes to sexually possess children, the nympholept does not necessarily wish to sexually possess his nymph; rather, the nympholept is moved to create art inspired by his nymph, or girl child. This dissertation introduces the idea of sublimation into art to the discourse of girl children. Just as classical nymphs had to sublimate themselves into landscapes in order to escape their male pursuers, we see how the girl children in this study are sublimated into literary or visual art in order metaphorically to preserve themselves. While forging a connection between the cult of the girl child to nympholepsy, this study also connects nympholepsy to what Bruno Bettelheim in The Uses of Enchantment (1976) calls "enchantment," that is, using fantastical stories in order to navigate certain unknowns, mainly adulthood and death. This dissertation takes this a step further and asserts that nympholepts used enchantment as a means to entrap nymphs. While bringing up the inevitable charge of pedophilia, this project is not interested in the pedophile but in the nympholept and the means through which he sublimates a girl child into visual or literary art. The opening chapter examines Lolita alongside the taxonomy for classical Greek nymphs and explores both the minutia and larger themes in Lolita that relate to this classification. Chapter two examines Carroll's relationship to Alice Liddell in light of nympholepsy and the triangulation of pleasure between Carroll, Alice, and Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which the chapter recognizes as a highly eroticized fetish object. Chapter three studies the subversive sexuality and desires of Wendy Darling while arguing that Peter Pan, instead of being a little boy who refuses to grow up, is a Pan figure. The final chapter discusses how nympholepsy plays out in the art and writings of Darger and Ashbery's nympholepsy. The dissertation concludes with a creative epilogue that explores the theme of "reenchantment" that I discuss in chapter four.

  • Mobile Phones, Group Improvisation, and Music: Trends in Digital Socialized Music-Making

    Author:
    Nathan Bowen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Douglas Geers
    Abstract:

    With the advent of the smartphone, the mobile phone has recently emerged as a popular choice for instrument designers. Mobile phones are computationally powerful, feature a rich suite of onboard sensors, have ever-increasing networking capabilities, are becoming easier to program, and are above all ubiquitous. Because of these factors and a solid marketplace for dissemination, designers have authored hundreds of musical instrument apps, steadily reaching public consciousness. As ubiquitous, handheld, networked instruments, mobile phones have properties that distinguish themselves from other digital musical instruments, and are uniquely positioned to have widespread cultural impact on how people make and share music. Still, the flexibility of configuration and lack of standardization makes it difficult to define what it means to `play' a mobile phone. In the first three chapters I attempt to locate mobile phone music in the broader historical context of electronic music, networked music, and the considerations of digital musical instrument design. Though the nascent field of mobile music-making is still emerging, the rapid evolution of devices, software, instrumental and cultural practices associated with this trend are in need of visibility and documentation. As such, I will trace the history of mobile phone music as it has evolved from a ringtone-based art form to the smartphone era. My goal is to highlight various creative uses of mobile phones in musical contexts, including audience participation, locative art, mobile phone ensembles, and efforts to help everyday people feel empowered to express themselves through musical creation. I will also explore whether this ideal of democratizing musicianship has downsides, and how it impacts authorship and virtuosity. The last two chapters cover my own contribution to mobile music, including the presentation of 4Quarters, a software-plus-controller musical instrument for mobile phones and computer. As it is designed to be fundamentally collaborative and encourage improvisation, I will document its reception by test users and participants. 4Quarters is available as supplemental material to this written dissertation.

  • Shifts in clinical attention and focus: Exploring the boundaries of reverie in the therapeutic process

    Author:
    Monique Bowen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Paul Wachtel
    Abstract:

    Therapists have times of greater attention and of less, and each therapist may have the experience of noticing that her attention has shifted from what the patient is saying toward those thoughts that have been stirred. This qualitative study examined psychotherapists' perspectives on shifts in clinical attention and focus in their treatment of their patients, and the ways in which their particular approach to psychotherapeutic work influence how therapists understand and negotiate these potentially complex clinical moments. The study (a) captures how senior psychotherapists view such experiences, (b) surveys the conditions under which clinicians share their responses, thoughts and processes with patients, and (c) examines how therapists negotiate what may be conflicting considerations or principles in arriving at how they handle the experience. Participants were recruited via several training institutes and professional psychological associations, and participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview that both documented and illuminated how senior therapists across theoretical orientations understand and explore shifts in clinical focus toward their own daydreams, fantasy, and interior monologues. This qualitative research study sought to provide an evidence and reference base for research scholars and for diverse groups of psychotherapy students, training therapists, and other practicing clinicians from one corner of psychotherapeutic practice to another. Categories that emerged from the data were then grouped into four domains: 1) Therapists' descriptions of unbidden experiences. 2) How therapists understand these phenomenological shifts in theory and in practice. 3) Therapeutic uses of this particular clinical data. 4) The felt sense that helps therapists identify shifts in attention and clinical focus. Trends in participants' responses to interview questions were identified with particular attention to departures from the clinicians' own standard technical practice or that of their theoretical orientation. The use of the verbatim quotations has enriched this narrative-constructivist approach, as the clinicians' own descriptions of their own unbidden experiences has provided uncommon access to the experiences of participants in this study.

  • Worthy of the Light: Feminine Heroism in Die Zauberflöte

    Author:
    Patrice Boyd
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Barbara Russano Hanning
    Abstract:

    "Worthy of the Light: Feminine Heroism in Die Zauberflöte" posits that the opera represents the apotheosis of a heroism depicted by Mozart in the female protagonists of his mature works (Konstanze and Blondchen in Die Entführung, the Countess and Susanna in Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni), with the possible exception of Così fan tutte (and arguably, in Fiordiligi, even there). This heroism encompasses moral and physical courage within the context of Christian theology, Masonic ideals, and Enlightenment philosophy (exemplified by the English philosophers and the American Revolution, rather than the French enlightenment of Voltaire and Rousseau). My premise challenges the prevailing view that Zauberflöte is misogynistic in its depiction of women. Mozart sought in Die Zauberflöte to portray a proactive, feminine heroism comprising emotional intuition, intelligence, integrity, and physical pluck. The heroine Pamina braves death, yet triumphs in life rather than in martyrdom. In her, Mozart depicts a woman who rescues herself and the man she loves while remaining honest and true to her principles (unlike some of his previous female characters, who employ deception to achieve noble ends). Konstanze is Pamina's closest operatic predecessor and a proxy for Mozart's bride Constanze Weber, whom he married following Entführung's premiere in 1782. Constanze served as his business manager in his final years, making heroic efforts to `rescue' him from financial difficulties (efforts judged by numerous critics to have been on the right track, had they not been cut short by Mozart's untimely death). The deepening of the Mozarts' love in the decade between Entführung and Zauberflöte is manifest in Pamina, whose music resembles Konstanze's and could have been sung by the real Constanze. The Queen of the Night, Pamina's mother, has been perceived as a witch for two centuries, but evidence suggests that Mozart and his librettist, Schikaneder, intended to portray her quite favorably and changed their approach for political reasons - creating a jarring shift between Acts I and II. Yet Mozart, through vocal writing for the Queen that is also strikingly similar to Konstanze's, uses musical `code' to portray her as worthy of our sympathy - and perhaps even a feminine hero.

  • Phonemic Awareness Instruction: Effects of Letter Manipulation and Articulation Training on Learning to Read and Spell

    Author:
    Nancy Boyer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Linnea Ehri
    Abstract:

    This study investigated the effect of two types of phonemic awareness instruction on learning to read and spell words. English speaking preschoolers were taught to segment words into phonemes using either letters or letters combined with articulation pictures. Participants possessed letter name knowledge but were nonreaders prior to training. Triplets were formed based on similar scores on the segmentation, word reading and vocabulary pretests and members were randomly assigned to three conditions: letter manipulation only (LO), letter manipulation plus articulation (LPA), and no treatment control conditions. LO children were taught letter-sound correspondences and use of letters to spell phonemes in words. LPA children received LO training and in addition the use of articulatory pictures to spell phonemes. Control children remained in their classrooms. Posttests were administered one and seven days after training ended. The three groups were compared in their ability to segment words into phonemes, to learn to read a set of words over trials, to decode nonwords, to invent word spellings and to repeat nonwords. Binomial logistic regressions and ANCOVAs were computed to assess the effects of training. Results demonstrated that trained children outperformed controls in phoneme segmentation, spelling, word learning, nonword decoding and nonword repetition. LPA children outperformed LO children in spelling on the one-day posttest but not on the seven-day posttest. LPA children outperformed LO children in phoneme segmentation and word learning at both tests points and in nonword decoding on the one-day posttest. Trained children demonstrated equivalent performance on the one-day nonword repetition posttest The results help to clarify the phonemic processes that underlie and support reading words from memory, as portrayed in Ehri's (1995) theory of sight word learning. The favored explanation for the effect of articulatory training on word learning is that it enhanced the identities of phonemes within phonological representations and this allowed phonemes to become more securely attached to letters as connections were formed during word learning. Superior performance of treatment groups over controls in repeating nonwords suggests that learning to represent phonemes with letters improves phonological short-term memory.

  • The Violations Will Not Be Televised: Television News Coverage of Human Rights in the US & UK

    Author:
    Shawna Brandle
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Political Science
    Advisor:
    George Andreopoulos
    Abstract:

    This study briefly reviews the relevent communication studies and international relations literatures to build the foundation for the content analyses by defining terms and highlighting the most salient points for comparison between the media and human rights systems in the US and UK. It then moveson to three different types of content analysis on American television news broadcasts and two different types on British television news broadcasts, all with the goal of determining how those media systems cover human rights and how that coverage differs across media systems. First, a content analysis of all of the stories containing the phrase human rights from one US network news broadcast from 1990-2009 is conducted to see the amount of human rights coverage in the US in the post-Cold War period and examines both the issues and the countries that are covered in the context of human rights in the US. Then one month of transcripts/shooting scripts for evening news broadcasts in the US and UK in 1990 is examined to see what, if any, kinds of stories might be covering human rights issues without explicitly using the phrase human rights. Finally, a visual analysis of one week of evening news broadcasts for the US and UK from 1990-2009 is conducted, comparing which stories are covered in each country, as well as how they are covered. As it turns out, there is very little human rights coverage on television news, period. There is more human rights coverage in the UK than in the US, but not as much more as might have been expected, given the states' differing approaches to human rights and differing television media systems. One key difference between the two countries' coverage is the depth of coverage of human rights stories; once the UK covers a human rights issue, it tends to do it more thoroughly, from more angles, and with more explanation, so the audience is more likely to learn about human rights when they are covered on the BBC than when they are covered on NBC or ABC.  

  • Complicity and Criticism: "Neo-Geo" Art of the 1980's

    Author:
    Amy Brandt
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Anna Chave
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines the deconstructive underpinnings of the so-called Neo-Geo group of the 1980's and explores links between Neo-Geo and the Pictures or Appropriation artists of the late 1970's. Neo-Geo emerged in the early 1980's as one aspect of New York's nascent East Village arts scene. The movement--also dubbed Simulationism, Neo-Pop, Neo-Minimalism or Post-Abstraction--primarily encompassed eight independent-minded artists, including painters Ashley Bickerton (b. 1959), Peter Halley (b. 1953), Sherrie Levine (b. 1947), Allan McCollum (b. 1944), Philip Taaffe (b. 1953) and Meyer Vaisman (b.1960). These artists were attributed the Neo-Geo moniker in 1986 based on their use of geometric forms and their appropriation of art historical motifs and styles from well-established artists. Sculptors Jeff Koons (b. 1955) and Haim Steinbach (b. 1944) were initially labeled as Neo-Geo, then also as Commodity Artists beginning in 1986. The varied epithets for this group represent critics' attempts to understand and classify the broad range of mediums and appropriative methodologies employed by these artists. It has all along been a questionable act to characterize this group under one cohesive name, as if they constituted a singular movement. Many of these artists had been a part of the East Village scene since 1980 or earlier, but they were only discussed and labeled by the art press at a time when their work gained significant popularity among prominent collectors and dealers. While the Neo-Geo artists differ substantially, their work nonetheless explored some common themes and pursued some strategies in common. Neo-Geo artists created paintings and sculptures that functioned, in a sense, in a textual manner. This diverse group collectively shared an interest in examining the terms, limits and structures of art history and various aspects of the society-at-large, including commodity capitalism and digital culture, in a deconstructive manner. Rooted within an amalgamation of art historical sources, Neo-Geo built upon the strategies of Pop, Minimalist, Conceptualist and Pictures artists in the creation of a diverse body of work. As I demonstrate, Neo-Geo used pastiche and strategies of parodying certain art historical paradigms to create new dialogues within contemporary art.