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Foreign Language Thesis Abstracts

Kathleen Morrissey (Yasser Djazaerly), 2014

Humanism Under Erasure: An Examination of French Renaissance Literature

Humanism, a radical philosophical position, became a major force in Europe during the Renaissance. There was a significant and refreshing emphasis on rational thinking, individualism, and a general questioning of the total authority of some of the most pervasive social constructs in European nations. I am examining and comparing the some of the major works of Erasmus, Montaigne, du Bellay, Jacques Pelletier du Mans, and Maurice Sceve, In this comparative study, I trace the cultural undertones of Humanism in French Renaissance literature which shape the texts. I also examine the individual nuances of the philosophical approaches through close reading. I am utilizing the Post-Structuralist methods of Lacan and Derrida. Post-Structuralism, often thought of as a type of anti-humanism, is an unusual, productive, and helpful way of analyzing French Renaissance texts. Lacan and Derrida are part of a major school of thought that criticizes some of the fundamental values of Humanism. Post-Structuralism has been described as an antithesis to the essential concepts of Humanism. My argument is a digressive and progressive in the sense that I am observing how writers of the French The French Renaissance writers in this paper effectively witfully interrogate and dissect the ideological frameworks of culture, revealing to the reader an evident instability and irrationality. Despite the fact that these writers place some major cultural ideologies under erasure, they also clearly attempt to preserve, defend, and define the values of the “truths” of Humanism, unlike Post-Structuralist thinkers, who continually deconstruct and challenge the validity of these beliefs and ideas.

Bridget Tucker (Keyvan Karbasioun), 2007

Otras Lenguas: The World of a Bilingual Child

Multilingualism has become very important in this country; President Bush has called for more bi- and –multilingual people to help combat the war on terror. Businessmen take night classes in Japanese to be able to communicate with potential buyers or sellers, while high school students get to choose between taking classes in Spanish or French or German. However, there is another group of people whose amazing ability to pick up new languages has long been ignored: children. This thesis examined the advantages and disadvantages facing bi- and multilingual children. Interviews were conducted with a variety of people: bi- and multi-lingual children, adults who grew up speaking another language, foreign language teachers, and child development specialists. Extensive research (the Internet, journals, and books) on the pros and cons of teaching foreign languages to children revealed that there are many physical reasons why children are able to pick up new languages so quickly, and that there is a certain age that it becomes more difficult for them to learn. Unfortunately, the research also turned up some problems that multilingual children may have.

Mao Yang (Maria Jaramillo), 2008

Second Language Learning

Over the years there have been a growing number of Asians and Hispanics living in the United States. As young Asian and Hispanic children are raised in the United States they all have the opportunity to learn the American language as well as their first language whether it is at home, at school, from family and/or friends. This project researches the English, Spanish and Hmong languages in order to discover the differences in language development with regards to pronunciation, grammar, and syntax. Using research from different texts and personal knowledge, findings show that understanding as well as visual interpretation of sound symbol relationship among the usage of letters within the three languages increases a child’s knowledge of the separate languages along with assisting children in learning how to speak, read and write words and sentences whether in English, Spanish, or Hmong. These findings will provide an understanding of the similarities and differences among the languages in relation to letters and letter orders to create certain words.