JURSW Volume 1

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    Writing Towards Wellness: The Power of Personal Narratives for Survivors of Domestic Violence
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016) Johnson, Sonie
    According to works by Jenifer Lunden (2013), James W. Pennebaker (2007), and other researchers, narrative writing has proven to be beneficial in helping people recover from traumatic events. Therefore, the use of the narrative writing technique can be a valuable way to assess the dimensions of wellness of survivors of domestic violence. A greater focus on restoration is imperative to developing and maintaining stability, which will result in a better quality of life for survivors, after trauma, displacement, and living in shelters. This study combined personal narrative with research for the purpose of understanding Dr. Bill Hettler�s (1976) �The Six Dimensions of Wellness� of domestic violence survivors, living in a shelter. Participants answered prepared survey questions regarding their occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional wellness. The study brought about self-realization for the woman, resulting in a more positive attitude, and insights to areas that they need to address in order to improve the quality of their lives.
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    Signaling Meaning through Punctuation in Writing: Children Transitioning from Oral to Written Argumentation
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016-04-21) Abdul-Baki, Lial; Ochoa, Melba; Torres-Cruz, Loren; Morales, Joaquinita; Flores, Claire; Franco, Itzel; Guerrero, Samantha; Horowitz, Rosalind
    Researchers interested in the development of writing have looked to speech as central to writing development. However, there are differing opinions about how speech relates to or enters into writing. Bloomfield (1933) characterized writing as speech �writ� down while other linguists have taken a more cautious position noting that speech and writing are quite different forms of communication (Chafe & Danielewicz, 1978) and meaning systems (Halliday, 1987). Biber (1986), however, found with adults, there was no single, absolute difference; rather there are a number of different dimensions of variation, with particular types of speech and writing similar or different, depending upon the dimension. The present study examined how children translate speaking into writing during expressions of persuasion. This is a complex activity because an audience is not present when writing, unlike talking. Further, written language is a symbolic expression which incompletely represents sound, gestures, body language�rather often signals meaning through punctuation. We studied oral and written argumentation, recognized by researchers as a complex form of syntactic construction with cause-effect structures. Seven case subjects were three to thirteen years of age, at different stages of language development. We were specifically interested in a) the subject�s oral expression, use of prosodic features of oral language�pauses, pitch, intonation, and stress words�and how they were translated into writing through use of punctuation�commas, signs of exclamation, period use�as part of argumentation (Cordiero, 1988; Horowitz, 2007). Undergraduates preparing to be teachers, enrolled in a child/adolescent based writing development course, asked a subject to persuade mom or dad to take them to Disney World, to participate in a summer camp, to buy new clothes, favorite video, or water slide. The speech was audiotaped and/or video-taped, followed by the writing, with the oral and written transcribed. Using a scoring system, we recorded in the oral modality a) use of prosodic features, b) use of vocalizations, such as whining, begs, c) paralinguistic features, such as head tilts, body language, facial expressions, puppy-like eyes, and in the written modality a) use of punctuation, b) sentence structures, c) sentence length, d) genres of writing. Findings: a) There was considerable variation in persuasion in speaking and writing, with older students more able to create complex cause effect, b) Individual differences were found in personality expression in speaking, with limited punctuation, most not accurate. d) With age, children�s writings become more elaborated, adapted to target audience. Teachers and parents can capitalize on this information by having children speak their ideas before they write, incorporate spoken strategies, where appropriate, into writing, develop use of punctuation signals for the reader.
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    The Effect of Political Outcomes across the United States on Income Equality
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016) Dunn, Zack
    The purpose of this paper is to test the relationship between a specific measure of inequality and political outcomes across the United States. To test this relationship, I run regressions with the Gini coefficient of the U.S. states across a 40-year time span against which political party was in control of that state's governorship and legislature. I find some evidence that Democratic governors are associated with declining inequality. However, as additional financial and demographic control variables are included, the sample size becomes smaller and the results are not significant.
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    Lexical-Semantic Transfer and Strategies for Teaching and Learning Putonghua Vocabulary for Cantonese-speaking Learners
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016-04-26) Cheng, Ka Ying; Li, Ying
    Language transfer refers to the language that learners apply to the knowledge of one language to the language that they are learning. According to Bransford (2000), �all new learning involves transfer based on previous learning.� Language transfer includes positive and negative transfer. Positive transfer means the previous knowledge that the language learner obtains from the first language----phonetics, grammar, expressions, and so forth to help the learner learn the new language, while negative transfer means the previous knowledge interferes with the learner�s ability to learn the new language. In the United States, the number of Cantonese speakers who choose to study Mandarin has grown increasingly. While a number of past studies have focused on the language transfer of the phonetics system of the two languages, few studies have paid attention to the semantics system. Cantonese and Mandarin belong to Sino-Tibetan languages family and shared similar characters and grammars, however, the meanings of words with similar characters are comparatively different. Generally speaking, Cantonese speakers encounter more difficulties when learning Mandarin because of this difference of semantics system. The present study focuses on the language transfer of the semantics system from Cantonese language to Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua). By adopting Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis method, the current study (1) analyzed the difference of the meaning of the vocabulary (973 words) from the book, �Great Wall Chinese textbooks�; (2) identified the positive and negative language transfer via comparing the meaning of the words in Cantonese and Mandarin; and (3) explored the strategies that Cantonese-speaking leaner and L2 Mandarin Chinese teachers can use in Mandarin teaching and learning.
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    Efficacy of Establishing a Speaking Center at UTSA: A Feasibility Study
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016-12) Redgate, Kimberly
    This research project investigates the feasibility of establishing a speaking center at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The purpose of the study is to determine if there is a need on campus to provide this resource for students. The basic method of research involves campus-wide student surveys in addition to open-ended questionnaires for faculty and staff. Results suggest general and widespread support from students, faculty and staff for the establishment of a speaking center to serve as a resource for training in public speaking. The conclusions of this study offer recommendations to the administration of the university regarding the establishment of such a resource.
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    The Effects of Accent Familiarity and Language Attitudes on Perceived English Proficiency and Accentedness
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016) Carnicle, Jocelyn; Huang, Becky
    If accents are a permanent indicator of difference, to what degree do our accents determine how we are perceived by others? The goal of this project was to examine the relationship between raters� accent familiarity, attitudes toward non-native accents, and their judgments of non-native speech. This project was designed to extend the Huang, Alegre, & Eisenberg (2016) study with several methodological improvements. The study included five groups of raters who vary in their familiarity with Korean and Arabic accents (No Familiarity, Korean Heritage Raters, Korean Non-Heritage Raters, Arabic Heritage Raters, Arabic Non-Heritage Raters). There were 10 raters in each group (n = 50), and all participants consisted of undergraduate or graduate students who were born in the U.S. or immigrated to the U.S. before the age of twelve. Participants listened to 24 speech samples selected from Educational Testing Service�s TOEFL iBT public database, and rated each sample on magnitudes of perceived proficiency and accentedness. After rating the speech samples, participants completed a survey on their demographic background information, attitudes toward accents, rating tendency, and beliefs/perceived cultural factors. Finally, two participants from each group were randomly selected to participate in a face-to-face think-aloud follow-up study to discuss their cognitive processes during rating. Because foreign accents can be subject to negative perceptions and linguistic profiling, understanding the potential sources of biases is critical for removing such biases and improving human communication and interactions.
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    Design and Advantage of a Bioretention Area as a Best Management Practice for Low Impact Development on The University of Texas at San Antonio
    (Office of the Vice President for Research, 2016-05-02) Flores, Felipe Alejandro
    Rainfall on urban areas causes polluted runoff water to contaminate the ground. A bioretention basin can minimize this problem. In this project a bioretention basin was designed for future precipitation changes regarding climate change. The bioretention basin was designed for new development on The University of Texas at San Antonio Main campus and includes an economic analysis comparing three different scenarios regarding media and materials. The basin includes sand and crushed glass as media and Cedar Elm and Muhly grass plants as flora, which are native to San Antonio, to achieve the pollution removal needed. After calculating the drainage area and future average precipitation, the TSS removal required by the BMP was obtained. The equivalent depth, water quality volume treated, and the footprint area were then calculated. Recycled water from a current building at UTSA was tested and was suitable for irrigation. The results were as expected regarding the future average precipitation and the size of the basin.