Abstracts

La traducción legal: un malabarismo entre la fidelidad lingüística y la creatividad
By Emily Bernstein

Sponsor: Professor María José Zubieta, Spanish and Portuguese

The already challenging work of a court interpreter, who orally translates between Spanish and English, is ever more complicated by the fact that they are translating for speakers whose language dominates more than an entire continent, paving the way for vast variations in colloquial and idiomatic speech. My research seeks to find specific examples of such regionalisms that pose linguistic dilemmas for legal interpreters when they transcribe wire-tapped phone calls and translate them to be used as evidence in trials. While traditional models of legal translation theory call for a strict, literal methodology, there is a slow but increasing acceptance for a more flexible approach. Based on transcripts that were used in cases in the Southern District of New York, my thesis examines specific words and phrases that, given their lack of dictionary definitions or ambiguous nature, create an open, interpretive working space for the translator. While some specialists such as Jan Engberg have already argued that this deviation from literal translation is essential in certain contexts, the goal of my research is to provide concrete examples that show how a lack of flexibility can inhibit rather than foster accuracy.


Dos naranjas
or doh naranjah: A study of coda-/s/ variation in Buenos Aires Spanish
By Salvatore Callesano
Sponsor: Professor Gregory Guy,  Linguistics

Buenos Aires Spanish (BAS) is distinctive due to characteristics such as the use of the second person singular pronoun vos as opposed to and the alternation between /ʒ/-/ʃ/ (voiced and voiceless palato-alveolar fricatives) as realizations of Castilian /ʎ/.  It is also one of several dialects of Latin American Spanish which exhibits significant variability in the articulation of /s/ in coda position. Variability in /s/ has been extensively studied in dialect regions such as the Hispanic Caribbean, but has received less attention in studies of Argentine Spanish.   The detailed variable realizations of /s/ differ considerably across dialects.  Much of the previous research on this variable has focused on three possible realizations: [s, h, ø].  This study will also consider an additional intermediate fricative realization that may involve both lingual and laryngeal constriction.  The tokens are gathered from sociolinguistic interviews and word-list readings with Buenos Aires natives. Generally, /s/ realization is affected by social status, gender and age, and the historically standard [s] is more common among women and people of higher status.  This study will thus provide a phonetically accurate description of contemporary BAS, and will illuminate the social evaluation of the various realizations.


The Future of the Republic: Children and Republican Propaganda in the Spanish Civil War
By Cody Lipton

Sponsor: Professor Jordana Mendelson, Spanish and Portuguese

After the establishment and reforms of the Second Republic in Spain in 1931, Spain experienced the disputed elections of 1936 in which the leftist Popular Front triumphed over the conservative Nationalists. The Nationalists, led by General Francisco Franco, attacked Spain in July of 1936 and launched the Spanish Civil War, which would last until 1939. The Italian fascists and the Nazis supported the Nationalists, and the Republic only received support from the Soviet Union.
One of the most important aspects of the Republican war effort was its propaganda campaign, geared toward national and international audiences. The Republic struggled to mobilize a civilian population and to gain support from countries that would have been vital for the Republic’s survival, such as France and England. My thesis explores the usage of children in Republican propaganda and analyzes the reasons behind the Republican choices.

The thesis is divided into four parts: the first section describes the history of Spain leading up to the Civil War and places the propaganda in a political and social context; the second section discusses the use of the image of the children in the national publication, Mundo Gráfico. This portion explores the idea that the image of the child was used to encourage evacuations of war torn areas and in order to mobilize men to fight in the army; the third section looks at the posters of the Republic and investigates the political context of the posters. In this section it becomes clear that there were political differences within the Republic, but the image of the child was able to transcend these issues for the sake of a greater cause. The final section is based on my archival research at the New York Public Library and the Columbia University archives, which house the Spanish Child Welfare Association and the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy records, respectively. This section examines how these organizations fought for the sake of the child and promoted Republican children’s drawings abroad in order to possibly foster support for the Republican cause.

Ultimately, this thesis explores the reasons for which the Republic utilized the image of the child in these three different forms of media. The central idea becomes that the Republic realized that the children were their future, whether or not they won the war. As long as they maintained the survival of the children, there could be a Republican future. Therefore, the image of the child functions to promote the welfare of the Republic and the child, and the welfare of both, as a result, becomes synonymous.


Humor and the Horrific: Julio Cortázar’s Incursions into Journalism and His Legacy in Página/12
By Catherine Thompson
Sponsor: Professor Lourdes Dávila, Spanish and Portuguese

Julio Cortázar revolutionized Latin American fiction in the 1960’s with the publication of his seminal novel Rayuela. Sociologist Horacio González argues that Rayuela then became the de facto instruction manual for young Argentine journalists, such as those that composed the editorial staff of the leftist newspaper Página/12. Curiously, journalistic texts play a critical role in the discourse of Cortázar’s major works although he never worked as a reporter himself. My research explores Cortázar’s incursions into journalism across the successful Rayuela, his collage-format books, and the novel-album Libro de Manuel. I argue that Cortázar employs a journalistic discourse to negotiate complex concepts of continuity and fragmentation in cyclical time, but also employs the newspaper article as a discursive means to either distance the reader from a horrific event or draw the reader in towards a political cause. I then establish a lineage between Cortázar’s technique of using humor and irony to compel his readers to confront horrific events and Página/12’s use of irony to chronicle Argentina’s bumpy transition to a post-dictatorship democracy, using articles obtained from the archives of Argentina’s Biblioteca Nacional.

Representation, Signification, Interpretation in the Photography of Graciela Iturbide
By Olaya Barr

Sponsor: Professor Lourdes Dávila, Spanish and Portuguese

In the photography of Graciela Iturbide, images do not have fixed narratives. In fact, their meanings are unstable and often collide with our expectations of gender, ethnicity, space and culture. Often, photographic readings rely on codification that potentially silences images and denies the subjects their own narratives independent of codes or categorization imposed by the viewer. My work aims to deconstruct these visual codes that bind images to a pre-determined and simplified reading. Because there are so many conventions regarding who is nude, how we view the nude, and consequently the relationship between object, subject, and artist, I have chosen the genre of the female nude to demonstrate how Iturbide’s photography ought to be read against the grain. Close photographic analyses as well as an interview with Iturbide herself have lead me to deconstruct such binary conventions as the natural and the man-made, high culture and low culture, the insider and outsider, and the varying idealistic visions of the female nude and the indigenous person. My thesis offers an alternative reading of Iturbide’s few published female nudes that valorizes the fluidity and ambiguity of an image’s meaning.