Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Theses

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This collection is made up of doctoral and master theses by research, which have been received in accordance with university regulations.

For more information, please visit the UCD Library Theses Information guide.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 6
  • Publication
    Labour and Factory Utopias: Olivettian Writers and Testimonial Intent
    (University College Dublin. School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, 2022) ;
    The aim of this research is to posit the existence of a link between visions of factory utopia and Italian industrial literature in Italy during the twentieth century, and to suggest the presence of a testimonial intent behind these works. The writers I study have come to be defined as ‘Olivettian writers’, given their proximity to Adriano Olivetti, an entrepreneur from Ivrea, in Northern Italy, who was active during the first half of the twentieth century. Olivetti surrounded himself with writers and poets such as Ottiero Ottieri, Paolo Volponi, Libero Bigiaretti and Giancarlo Buzzi, and these authors worked alongside him in the advertising office and in the Human Resources departments of Olivetti Inc. in both the factories in Ivrea and Pozzuoli (Naples). My purpose here is to answer three questions: first, whether there is a relationship between labour and visions of utopia in Italian industrial literature; secondly, why the topic of factory life was explored by the authors who worked alongside the Italian entrepreneur Adriano Olivetti and to what extent these authors agreed with Olivetti’s vision? Finally, I examine whether there is a testimonial intent behind Italian industrial novels. In answering these questions, the thesis engages with ideas of utopian working conditions, socialism, and factory life. To do so, I will consider Marx’s theory of alienation since the condition of alienation is one of the main reasons for Adriano Olivetti’s alternative vision of utopia, although he also acknowledges the limits of Marx’s analysis. Then, after introducing the literary authors who surrounded Olivetti and their own reception of the entrepreneur’s utopia, I will analyse three novels written by Olivetti’s authors in detail: Donnarumma all’assalto by Ottiero Ottieri (1959), Memoriale (1962) and Le mosche del capitale (1989) by Paolo Volponi. I mainly utilise a narratological methodology, drawing on the work of Roland Barthes, Gérard Genette, Mieke Bal. I also draw on Mikhail Bakhtin’s analyses of narrative discourse and Michel Foucault’s studies on disciplinary power, while acknowledging, when necessary, links and connections with structuralist theory. The novelty of my perspective lies in the narratological analysis of these works, in taking into consideration their paratexts – which have often been overlooked, and especially in relation to discussions of industrial literature as a genre – and in interrogating the possibility of the presence of a testimonial intent in these novels. Given the centrality of the topic of labour, I refer to Marxist criticism and, in particular, I consider I quaderni dal carcere by Antonio Gramsci, since Gramsci has been fundamental in establishing Marxist criticism in Italy. Finally, since a clear definition of Italian industrial literature is still under debate, I will demonstrate how the testimonial intent behind these novels is fundamental to a full characterisation of that part of Italian literature concerned with factories and workers’ alienation.
  • Publication
    Conflictual Interactions in CMC: The case of Twitter contexts
    (University College Dublin. School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, 2022) ;
    The study aims to explore the nature and developmental mechanisms of conflictual interactions in one social media context where conflict is prevalent, Twitter, by investigating the role of linguistic strategies and linguistic politeness in such interactions under the constraints and reshaping of Twitter algorithms. It examines the kinds of conflictual linguistic strategies Twitter users employ to perform conflictual interactions, their distribution and how these strategies drive the development of conflictual Twitter interactions. It also delves into the role of linguistic politeness in these strategies and in conflictual Twitter interactions. The analysis is conducted based on a corpus of conflictual Twitter interactions. The in-depth textual analysis specifically designed corpus combines discourse analysis and Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory (1987/1978). It focuses on how speakers design turns, how speakers’ turns then trigger the next turns and finally how these turns are ordered chronologically to accomplish conflictual interactions with varying degrees of intensity. Given the sensitive nature of this analysis, the study employs two approaches: first, it pays close attention to the recipient’s interpretation of the (previous) speaker’s turn in order to gauge interlocutors’ meanings, as suggested by discourse analysis. Second, two follow-up surveys are conducted to complement the textual analysis. The surveys focus on Twitter users’ identification of conflictual linguistic strategies and their understanding of linguistic politeness, respectively. They assess the main findings of this study and provide additional information about language use that is not easily available from the textual analysis alone. Six main findings emerge from the analysis: first, like face-to-face conversations, participants’ roles in conflictual Twitter interactions are also constantly changing, alternating between being recipients and speakers, to issue the next turn. By successively carrying out this role shift, Twitter users cooperatively achieve conflictual interactions. Conflictual interactions continually evolve by users taking turns posting new turns in the same way as the current speaker. Second, conflictual interactions typically arise on Twitter when Twitter users disagree with other users’ viewpoints or detest other users. As the interaction progresses, its intensity then gradually escalates and suddenly drops to zero at some point when one of the participants withdraws from the interaction. Third, in such interactions, the current speaker objects to the previous speaker’s point of view using disagreements and/or personal attacks. Fourth, the literal function of Twitter users’ language use may differ from its interactional function: not all posts taken as a public attack by the recipient constitute personal attacks from a structural point of view; not all posts containing personal attacks are responded to with attacks. Fifth, when the recipient believes that they are being attacked and determines to attack the (previous) speaker, in return employing personal attacks, they tend to normalise personal attacks as an appropriate and effective strategy and to use attacks of a more aggressive nature to ensure that they are heard and that their anger is registered. Finally, almost all of the total posts (including both disagreements and attacks) in the corpus include linguistic politeness which functions to modify (i.e., mitigate or intensify) face-threatening acts. Although linguistic politeness is mostly used to mitigate the possible threat to the recipient’s face, more than one third of the total posts in the corpus including those involving linguistic politeness features still pose serious damage to the recipient’s face and are taken as an overt attack by the recipient.
  • Publication
    English in Kuwait: A Pattern-Driven Perspective
    (University College Dublin. School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, 2022)
    The overarching aim of this thesis is to delineate the place of English in Kuwait using Schneider’s (2003; 2007) Dynamic Model. The model posits that postcolonial varieties of English go through five phases: Foundation, Exonormative Stabilisation, Nativisation, Endonormative Stabilisation and Differentiation. Each phase is assessed on the basis of four parameters (historical factors, sociolinguistic features, identity construction and linguistic features) and types of data that allow each parameter to be properly investigated. The historical parameter entails investigating, on the basis of historical data, the arrival and local history of English and other low- and high-intensity contact periods. Sociolinguistic factors entail investigating norms, beliefs, local identity formation processes and the position and role of English in the linguistic contexts from the first contact until the present. The last parameter entails analysing a corpus of samples of actual language use. The levels of analysis are incorporated in my study: a) historical analysis (desk research) to assess the historical parameter, b) corpus-assisted discourse analysis (CDA) largely based on Edwards (2018) to explore the sociolinguistic factors and identity constructions parameters and c) pattern-driven analysis (PDA) (Tyrkk¿ & Kopaczyk, 2018) to assess the linguistic parameter. As for CDA, it analyses the interview subcorpus to explore a) the beliefs about English in Kuwait and the identities it indexes and b) the norms of the English language. Pattern-driven analysis sets to flesh out the linguistic specificities and developments of Kuwaiti English. That is, it identifies distinctive features of English in Kuwait: analysis of word distributions, functions, and meanings of selected linguistic features. To systematically arrive at the analysis of the best linguistic features, I made use of a widely known corpus linguistic methodology in terminology known as "knowledge-rich contexts" (Meyer, 2001) and contextualised it within World Englishes. Accordingly, after conducting four case studies (structural and lexical), pragmatic features (i.e. discourse-pragmatic markers) turned out to be the most salient and thus the ones investigated. The main findings that emerged from the analysis are as follows: Historical facts do not provide clear evidence for indigenisation. Nevertheless, they suggest nativisation is progressing slowly as metropolitan English models keep reasserting themselves through education and media. This parameter suggests that English in Kuwait is somewhere between the second stage and the third stage of the Dynamic Model. On the sociolinguistic end, investigation of language ideological matters and usage patterns suggest a faster rate of nativisation as many younger Kuwaitis who are in great numbers educated through English are currently not only speaking English to expats and non-Arabic speakers but also among themselves in certain contexts such as at home between siblings. This is a fertile ground for the emergence of an indigenised variety or a stage four state. Linguistic facts suggest that English became an important learning target after the Iraqi invasion and due to sustained and increasing use has started to indigenise, in that it is acquiring a unique bundle of features. The analysis of linguistic features suggests that Kuwaiti English is placed between stage 2 and stage 3, as the investigated features (discourse-pragmatic markers), be they superstrate- or substrate-derived components, exhibit patterns distinct from British English and American English.
  • Publication
    Classroom-based Language Assessment in a Saudi Context: Teachers' practices, beliefs and assessment literacy
    (University College Dublin. School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, 2022) ;
    Classroom-based language assessment has gained increasing recognition and prominence in the fields of language education and language testing and assessment as a promising process to improve language teaching and learning. Consequently, many educational systems worldwide have reformed their assessment policies and placed an emphasis on this type of assessment as a central and integral part of the learning process. Although Saudi Arabia is one country which has reformed its language education curriculum and in turn its classroom-based assessment policy, little is known about how Saudi language teachers implement these assessment reforms and manage assessment demands, as well as what factors affect their assessment practices and whether they have the necessary capabilities to carry out efficient assessment. This study therefore aims to shed some light on the area of classroom-based language assessment in a Saudi context and to explore the factors that might have an impact on language teachers’ classroom assessment practices. Specifically, it explores Saudi English language teachers’ practices, beliefs and assessment literacy regarding classroom-based assessment in female state schools. A mixed methods approach has been adopted that includes the use of semi-structured interviews, a web-based questionnaire and document analysis. The results of the study indicate that there appear to be gaps and variations in relation to the teachers’ understanding and implementation of formative and summative assessment practices; a tension between how the teachers assess students and the nature of learning in classrooms (i.e., a focus on assessing linguistic forms while teaching a learner-centred, communicatively focused curriculum); a mismatch between the teachers’ beliefs and their assessment practices; and a number of contextual factors which have strongly affected the teachers’ assessment practices. The findings have further implications both for English language teachers’ professional development and research into English language teaching and assessment.
  • Publication
    Harmonious dissonance : Jazz-Age U.S.A. and avant-gardism in the poetry of Luis Cernuda, Federico Garcia Lorca and Rafael Alberti
    (University College Dublin. School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, 2020)
    The era of the Roaring Twenties saw the culmination of early twentieth century development of the U.S.A., in which American society came to embrace and epitomise modernity and establish its cultural dominance throughout the western world. Thus, it is unsurprising that features that define 1920s U.S.A., such as jazz and the speakeasies of the Prohibition; flappers and greater sexual freedom; the emerging celebrity culture brought about by Hollywood silent film stars; and the rise of mass consumer culture, held international reach and fascination. This thesis examines the manner in which three of the most renowned poets of Spain: Federico García Lorca, Rafael Alberti and Luis Cernuda, each engaged with the modern popular culture of Jazz-Age U.S.A. in the poetry they composed towards the end of the 1920s, arguing that this engagement with the U.S.A. was fundamental in the avant-garde nature of their work of the time and thus central to the development the avant-gardism of these poets. Most importantly, the discussion posits that it is an articulation of aurality, a term used to encapsulate the broad study of elements relating to sound, which stands at the heart of the paradoxical juxtaposition of American popular culture and the European avant-garde that occurs in this poetry. Thus, this thesis demonstrates that Cernuda, Lorca and Alberti desired to not only represent, but evoke sound in their poetry. Through close textual analysis and using the framework of musico-literary studies and soundscape studies, it examines the diverging methods by which they achieved this goal. Furthermore, and very significantly, the examination of poetry herein establishes that it is an expression of emotionality that distinguishes the avant-garde nature of the poetry studied. The crux of this research shows that the work of Cernuda, Lorca and Alberti evidences both intellectualism and emotionality. Ultimately, the U.S.A. provided the means to marry emotional inspiration and expression with the European avant-garde intellectual imagination.