School of Languages and Linguistics - Theses
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Behind the presence of Chinese: the linguistic landscape of Box Hill
With the ongoing trend of globalisation, more attention has been paid to multilingual and multicultural communication in the urban area. Such growing interests have made linguistic landscape (LL) studies, which address languages on public signage, a popular approach to sociolinguistics and social semiotics in the past few years. Previous LL literature has been preoccupied with the spread of English in multilingual cities around the world with little attention to the role of Chinese in the Australian urban context. As such, the current study aims to conduct a LL study concerning the use of Chinese in Box Hill. To achieve this aim, I used photographs of signs, such as street signs, shop names and promotional signs, as the source of data. A multi-layered approach combining quantitative and qualitative analyses are employed to firstly give an overview of the language combinations in Box Hill and secondly dive deeper into the intentions and ideologies underlying linguistic and semiotic choices. Findings of this study show that different signs have their respective language choices and semiotic preferences, and these can be understood in relation to the social context and cultural knowledge. This study revealed the status of Chinese language in an English-dominant environment. It contributed to the field of LL by promoting a multimodal perspective of photographic data, and made an effort to extend multimodal theories to accounting for signs with a Chinese origin. The study has important implications for linguistic and visual literacy. It suggests that language learning should not be based solely on linguistic knowledge, but also include cultural understandings. In addition, visual literacy is as important as linguistic literacy and are key in deciphering the meaning of signs in the modern world.
Examining Automated Corrective Feedback in EFL Writing Classrooms: A Case Study of Criterion
Automated writing evaluation (AWE) systems are increasingly used in classroom settings to provide formative feedback to learners. Yet, there is a scarcity of research evidence about the impact of automated feedback on accuracy development or writing/revision practices and a lack of longitudinal studies into learners’ engagement with automated feedback. This research examines the value of the automated corrective feedback (ACF) generated by ETS Criterion as a learning and assessment tool in the EFL writing classroom. Specifically, it seeks to answer the questions about (1) the nature and accuracy of Criterion ACF; (2) students’ engagement and perceptions; and (3) their changed accuracy following the use of such feedback. The interaction between individual learner factors and their response to Criterion ACF is also investigated in search of explanatory factors for selected cases’ engagement and observed accuracy development over a five-month period. This study adopted a pre-post quasi-experimental design on a sample of 104 English majors divided into two groups: experimental and comparison. During three practice sessions, the comparison group wrote their essays on paper and submitted them to the instructor for feedback. The experimental group, however, composed their writing on Criterion and revised their drafts in response to its feedback before submitting revised drafts to the teacher for feedback. Besides the test essays, data included first and revised drafts from Criterion practice sessions, recorded think-aloud protocols conducted with 14 students as they revised essays using Criterion corrective feedback, stimulated recall interviews and end-of-term focus group interviews. Students’ changes in writing accuracy were calculated using error analysis of the test scripts of the two groups. These were triangulated with the qualitative data of how the students engaged with the feedback from Criterion and their revision practices. Further triangulation came from students’ perceptions of automated feedback in the stimulated recall and focus group interviews. The validation of Criterion ACF as a learning and assessment tool in the EFL writing classroom reveals a mixture of support and rebuttal evidence. Criterion was able to address EFL learners’ needs for surface-level errors, but it still lacked coverage of some major issues in the students’ L2 writing. It can be praised for facilitating revising as well as self-regulatory writing strategies and triggering noticing among the students, but Criterion’s approach to feedback generation was not pedagogically based, resulting in a lack of meaningful engagement with the feedback. Overall, despite students’ positive feelings about Criterion ACF, reservations about its value remain due to learners’ middling revision success rates and the absence of significant intervention or retention effects of the use of Criterion ACF on their accuracy gains over the studied period. The findings extend our understanding about students’ engagement and use of the automated corrective feedback. The study’s main implications relate to formative feedback practices in the classroom, including the need to supplement Criterion automated feedback with teacher feedback to support L2 writing instruction and classroom-based assessment. Also, Criterion corrective feedback should be designed to be more adaptable to focus learners’ attention on the relevant issues for their developmental stage.
'Winged phrases' from Soviet cinema: the use and dynamics of high-frequency film quotations in modern Russian
The focus of this study is ‘winged phrases’ from Soviet cinema; that is, phrases from films, as they make their way into spoken and written Russian and thereby enter the collective consciousness. This research examines the contexts for, as well as how and why, popular winged phrases from Soviet films have been incorporated into contemporary Russian language practice. Drawing on theoretical insights based on the concept of ‘dialogism’ (Bakhtin), the field of semiotics (Lotman, Clark), Propp’s model of the fairy tale and Coulson’s space structuring model, this study analyses four data sets to form a view on these matters: online communications within the “Цитаты советского кино” (Quotations from Soviet cinema) group on the ВKонтакте (VKontakte) social network; responses to an online questionnaire on the matter; posts on the ЯПлакалъ (YaPlakal) online discussion forum and article headings from the prominent Russian newspapers “Комсомольская правда – Москва” (Komsomolskaya Pravda – Moskva / Komsomolʹs Truth – Moscow), “Известия” (Izvestiya / News) and “Литературная газета” (Literaturnaya gazeta / Literary Gazette). This data analysis provides the first detailed description of the use and dynamics of winged phrases from Soviet films in contemporary spoken and written Russian. The study demonstrates that winged phrases from Soviet cinema appear to be taking on a role as a new folklore genre; new contexts of usage and transformation types of such phrases are evident. The study also demonstrates there is value in including winged phrases from Soviet films in the curriculum of Russian taught as a foreign language. Some directions for further research are offered in this respect.
Technology and bilingual education: helping Yolŋu students crack the alphabetic code
Phonological awareness and letter knowledge have a significant and causal relationship with early reading for readers of alphabetic languages. While the existing research regarding the emergent reading skills of mainstream Western populations is vast, little is known about the development of literacy skills among children coming from cultures transmitted primarily through oral tradition. This study examined the emergent literacy skills of students attending a remote bilingual Indigenous school in the Northern Territory, Australia. The study included all Transition (kindergarten) to Grade 4 students enrolled at the participating school. This thesis proposes that phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and early word reading are closely related for children learning to read in Dhuwaya and that phonological awareness training can facilitate the acquisition of early reading ability in Dhuwaya. A Dhuwaya language game-like iPad application software was used as a phonological awareness intervention tool. This Intervention App was specifically designed and created for this thesis project. The Intervention App includes 24 levels that progressively increase in difficulty. Each level consists of a sound segmentation activity, a letter knowledge activity, and a sound blending activity. Letter knowledge, phonological awareness (at both the syllable and phoneme level), and word recognition skills were measured at three separate testing times: immediately before the start of the intervention, immediately after the intervention ended, and six months after the intervention ended. This study investigated the different patterns and relationships found amongst the participants’ performance across the various measures assessed. This study also examined the relationship between student age and assessment performance. The study also investigated the intervention effects, if any, on phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and early word reading. The results indicate that phonological awareness, particularly at the phoneme level, is significantly related to early word recognition in Dhuwaya. Results also suggest that letter knowledge mastery is crucial to early word recognition in Dhuwaya. However, the participants’ letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, and word recognition skills were delayed when compared to the benchmarks proposed in existing research. Phonemic awareness and word recognition scores were particularly low across all three testing times. Post-intervention scores suggest that the Intervention App did not have a significant impact on syllable awareness and letter knowledge skills. However, post-intervention scores suggest that the Intervention App was moderately successful in increasing phonemic awareness skills and that increased phonemic awareness skills may have led to increased word recognition skills. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed in this thesis, as well as suggestions for creating more effective Dhuwaya language emergent literacy IT resources.
« Un sport de voyous pratiqué par des gentlemen »: Une analyse de la vulnérabilité socio-émotionnelle des athlètes de rugby à XV en France
La vulnérabilité est un mot à la mode dans le monde du sport d’élite, grâce aux travaux de la chercheuse américaine Brené Brown. Elle suggère qu’il y a du mérite à considérer la vulnérabilité comme un aspect positif de la vie, et un mécanisme pour créer des groupes plus efficaces. Ce mémoire présent une analyse originale sur la vulnérabilité socio-émotionnelle dans le rugby à XV professionnel en France. En utilisant la théorie des champs de Pierre Bourdieu, ce mémoire suggère que l’appréciation de la vulnérabilité socio-émotionnelle parmi les athlètes correspond aux résultats plus satisfaisants sur le terrain. Avec une histoire de masculinité hégémonique forte, où on idolâtre ceux qui représentent une image guerrière, et on s’oppose à tout ce qui représente l’autre, le rugby est un exemple de la force de la résistance française à l’idée d’accepter la vulnérabilité. Malgré cela, les chercheurs et les athlètes eux-mêmes croient que la vulnérabilité devient un élément plus important en créant une équipe gagnante. Ce fait est reflété dans les prédictions théoriques et la recherche de plus en plus abondante, publiées par les auteurs tels que Richard Light, Karen Hägglund, Mark Uphill et al. La recherche présentée ici a des implications profondes pour les études à l’avenir sur la vulnérabilité, dans le rugby à XV en France, et plus généralement le sport, les entreprises de haute performance, la société française et les équipes partout dans le monde.
Nurses’ perspectives on referral letters and discharge summaries: Towards profession-oriented writing test criteria
Effective written communication among overseas-trained health professionals is critical for accurate diagnosis, safe patient care and appropriate delivery of multi-disciplinary interventions. In Australia, the written communication of overseas-trained health professionals, including nurses, is often assessed through use of the Occupational English Test (OET), a specific-purpose language (LSP) test. The written component of the test requires nursing candidates to write a letter, usually one of referral or discharge, to another health professional. A set of case notes – similar in structure and content to hospital discharge summaries – are provided to test takers as a stimulus for writing the letter. In the field of LSP testing, test designers and researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to develop criteria that more accurately reflect work-related performance. Assessment criteria are more likely to be professionally relevant if domain experts, such as individuals who have experience in interacting in the particular setting, are involved in the decision-making process and their perspectives on what is required of test takers are considered. However, the OET writing test assessment criteria were initially developed by language professionals without direct input from health professionals. The aim of this qualitative, exploratory study was to understand what domain experts value by investigating nurses’ perspectives on the qualities of referral letters and discharge summaries that are critical to effective written communication. These perspectives enabled recommendations to be made to OET test developers about potential modifications to the current writing test criteria, as well as the test task. Data collection was conducted in two phases. Phase One comprised the extraction and analysis of referral letters and discharge summaries from 200 medical records at two hospitals. In the second phase, interviews (n=31) and focus-group sessions (n=36) were conducted with nurses to establish the qualities of referral letters and discharge summaries that nurses valued. Genre analyses, which focused on the key linguistic features, content and structure of 100 referral letters and 100 discharge summaries, were undertaken on the ways these two documents were written. Both documents contained abbreviations, acronyms and symbols. Polite language was a common feature of the referral letters. Both type of documents tended to follow a prescribed structure with discharge summaries predominantly written in note form and referral letters in prose. Markers of identification (e.g. name, address, designation) for the patient and writer were common in both documents, as was the inclusion of the presenting patient complaint. Interviews and focus groups showed that nurses considered the communicative competence, awareness of audience and clinical knowledge displayed by the writer, as being crucial for high-quality referral letters and discharge summaries. Another important aspect of effective documentation identified by nurses was balancing comprehensiveness and relevance of information with writing concisely. A model of the qualities of referral letters and discharge summaries was developed based on the interview and focus-group findings. The results also shed light on nurses’ reading and writing practices in relation to referral letters and discharge summaries. Nurses regularly engaged with both document types and relied on them to enhance their work practices; however, they were more likely to read rather than write referral letters and rarely contributed to writing discharge summaries. The findings relating to nurses’ reading and writing practices of referral letters and discharge summaries, the qualities they value in these documents and the results of the genre analyses could be adapted for use in healthcare education, professional development in hospitals and other healthcare settings, and to inform healthcare policy about documentation. The findings also contribute to the emerging field of research, which seeks to include domain specialists’ perspectives about what they consider important in the review and development of assessment criteria for LSP tests. Recommendations for modifications to the OET include establishing a separate criterion for balancing conciseness with comprehensiveness of information. Candidates undertaking the nursing-specific writing test should be encouraged to write a referral instead of a referral letter, a genre which more closely resembles what nurses actually write in the healthcare setting. To ensure that there is sufficient language for examiners to assess, and to promote positive washback, it is also recommended that a second task commonly undertaken by nurses be included such as a set of progress notes.
Rhythm, poetry and meaning: Seamus Heaney and Louis MacNeice in French translation
Translation theory has historically highlighted the tension between ‘faithful’ and ‘unfaithful’, ‘literal’ and ‘free’ translations, the ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ translator. The question of whether to translate ‘sense’ or ‘form’ is then raised, followed by how rhythm is to be translated. The burgeoning growth of ‘Translation Studies’ as a discipline since the 1980s has both illuminated and complicated these historic dichotomies. During this time, many enlightening studies of English poetry in French translation have been undertaken, often focusing on specific stanzas illustrating vexing translation problems, comparing the work of various translators. Seeking a way out of the translation impasse above, this thesis draws on such discussions, but reorients the focus away from a more segmented approach to the rhythm of the entire poem. The aim of this study is to explore what constitutes ‘rhythm’ in contemporary English language poetry, and how this ‘rhythm’ may be translated into French, through the work of two prominent twentieth century Irish poets, Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013) and Louis MacNeice (1907 – 1963), translated by contemporary French translators Adolphe Haberer and Patrick Hersant. The poets were selected for their striking use of the English language, and the complex translation problems their poetry illustrates, as well as for their recognition in France. The French translators were selected for their comprehensive investigation of English language poetry by Irish poets, and their expertise in its translation. ‘Rhythm’ in English and French poetry is often seen as synonymous with ‘meter’. Henri Meschonnic argues in his 'Critique du rythme' that rhythm encompasses considerably more when he states that: ‘Le rythme est ľensemble synthétique de tous les éléments qui y contribuent, organisation de toutes les unités petites et grandes, depuis celles de la phrase jusqu'à celles du récit, avec toutes leurs figures’. Andrew Eastman in his article on ‘Breaking the pentameter’ builds on Meschonnic’s theory, proposing rhythm ‘not as universal phenomena but as individuated speech’. From this starting point, we locate in the selected poems the most striking ‘components’, or prosodic features, of an individual poem’s rhythm. We refer to these as ‘rhythmic components’, including phrasing, punctuation, meter, rhyme and repetition. In order to explore them, we propose a different approach to poetic translation, through a newly-designed framework. This framework uses new and existing notation tools and strategies to investigate the complex layers of rhythm in poetry, and in its translation, allowing a more comprehensive and consistent comparison between them. Through this approach, we are able to explore Meschonnic’s claim that ‘le rythme est générateur de sens’. Fresh insights have emerged as a result of this study, casting light on how a poem’s rhythmic components interact and evolve, how they contribute to its ‘figurative networks’, its ‘process of metaphorisation’, and resolution. The study illustrates how the translator may use these rhythmic components in parallel, creating innovative strategies designed to allow the Irish poet’s voice to resonate in French.
A corpus-driven receptive test of collocation knowledge
As collocations are essential and ubiquitous in all genres of English, learners (and even native speakers) find these often seemingly arbitrary word combinations difficult. When used incorrectly, collocations not only negatively affect fluency but also mark speakers otherwise highly proficient in English as non-native. Unfortunately, past studies have not made use of validated tests of collocations, detracting from the strength of their findings. Thus, the aim of this dissertation was to create a corpus-driven and reliable receptive test of the knowledge of the word parts (i.e., what words make up the collocation) of high-frequency collocations in English by (a) taking into account how the different properties of collocations (e.g., frequency, semantic transparency) affect lexical processing, and in turn, item difficulty; and (b) by using Purpura, Brown, and Schoonen’s (2015) up-to-date and language-specific version of Kane’s (2006) argument-based approach to validity. Test development included the creation of a list of the 2,000 most frequent collocations, from which target collocations were selected. I also explored the natural distribution of collocations in terms of their properties. Other issues addressed as part of the validation process include: effect of test mode (paper-based vs. computer-based), effect of question format (2 formats compared), calculation of item facility and discrimination, comparison between participants of differing general English proficiency levels and backgrounds, and correlations with theoretically related measures of general English proficiency and knowledge of routine formulae. The main study consisted of two phases, the test administered in the first being longer, with two extra subtests and extra items. As the final test items were essentially the same, the data were combined for analyses. Participants were all studying at one of two Australian universities, ranging from those in a pre-sessional English language course to those studying at graduate level. In Phase 1, 47 participants were English dominant and 132 were non-English dominant; in Phase 2, 130 were English dominant (including 29 English language teachers) and 267 were non-English dominant. CFA revealed that the four collocation types and compound words investigated were related but separate aspects of collocational knowledge. Multilevel path analysis of factors affecting collocation difficulty provided insight into the acquisition of collocational knowledge and serves as a useful reference for future test developers. More specifically, tests should include multiple collocation types (with compound words being optional) ranging in semantic transparency and predictability of the second word of the collocation given the presence of the first word (or alternatively, degree of coherence). In sum, this research has implications for (a) the assessment of collocations, (b) the inclusion of particular collocation types in textbooks, and (c) research into the learning of and teaching methodologies for collocations. In particular, the creation of a model of factors affecting collocation facility and an example of a validated test of collocations will aid future target collocation selection in future test development and research in the field of language acquisition more generally.
Interactional competence in L2 task-based text-chat interactions
Decades of research on L2 interactional competence has explored how L2 learners understand prior turns or signal their understanding to others through the deployment of the interactional resources available to them as they work towards the achievement of interactional goals (Hall & Pekarek Doehler, 2011). Several studies have investigated the relationship between proficiency and interactional practices or the development of such practices (Abe, 2019; Al-Gahtani & Roever, 2012, 2018; Galaczi, 2014; Hellermann, 2007; Pekarek Doehler & Berger, 2016; Pekarek Doehler & Pochon-Berger, 2011; Taguchi, 2015). However, notwithstanding a few exceptions (e.g., Gonzales, 2013; Gonzalez-Lloret, 2008, 2011), text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC), such as text chat, has been relatively under-explored. It is important for L2 pragmatics researchers to focus on the ability to conduct online L2 interactions and manage the medium-specific features of these interactions in a global digital age. This study examined interactional competence in L2 task-based text-chat interactions. More specifically, this study investigated how Japanese learners of L2 English with different proficiency levels deployed interactional practices from the openings to the closings of the task talk they produced in response to three discussion tasks. To explore task openings, I focused on the sequential placement of text-chat posts which proffered a first idea potentially leading to task accomplishment, that is, first-idea proffers (FIPs); as well as exchanges of posts prior to FIPs, namely, preliminaries. The data analysis showed that higher-level learners’ first-idea proffers tended to occur as a response to a previous soliciting move, whereas lower-level learners’ idea-proffers were less responsive. As proficiency increased, linguistic repertoires for FIPs also showed more variation, while lower-level learners predominantly relied on a narrower range of lexico-syntactic forms. An analysis of task closings was conducted by examining two types of two-turn sequences: summons-answer sequences between one of the dyadic participants and the researcher used to confirm that the task talk was complete; and terminal exchanges between dyadic participants, namely, the last exchanges prior to a summons. The results indicate that more proficient leaners were capable of managing disrupted adjacency between two turns, and only high-level learners could observably problematize and reformulate crossed posts during closing rituals to maintain intersubjectivity among all participants in the interaction, including the researcher. With regard to topical talk, the analysis found that as proficiency levels increased, learners were more dependent on explicit solicitation for second ideas. When extending topics in talk, learners of different proficiency levels deployed different interactional practices in terms of their engagement with other-initiated ideas, tendency to offer disagreement, and construction of roles and identities. The analysis also focused on non-topical talk such as informing the interlocutor of the remaining time, uploading a photo, fixing a spelling error, and dealing with miscommunication. Overall, this study, in which interactions were carried out in a text-only condition, confirmed the findings of previous studies on IC in spoken interaction, namely that the more proficient learners are, the more diverse their methods are. Analysis of across-task variations in pragmatic performance allowed for a more fine-grained picture of this tendency to emerge. This research provided several insights relevant to future IC research regarding how best to apply CA to the analysis of text-based CMC by adapting certain aspects of its analytic mentality to this medium, how best to explore task- and medium-specific resources unexplored by previous studies, how best to explore the potential of overall structural organizations such as openings and closings for the purpose of measuring L2 learners’ pragmatic competence and IC, and how best to discuss CA-findings from the perspective of L2 pragmatics instruction.
Enabling large-scale collaboration in language conservation
The present scale of conservation activity falls short of what is required to address the rate of language loss worldwide. Current practice is framed as expert activity which limits the audience of would-be conservators. However decentralised collaborative action is commonplace in the post Web 2.0 digital landscape, opening the door for self-determined acts of conservation. This thesis shifts the emphasis towards large-scale collaboration inspired by crowdsourcing collective intelligence in other domains. This thesis reports a programme of applied research to formulate an architecture for a collaborative mobile app/services suited for the constrained resource environments of language activism. This is achieved by means of an inductive-iterative method centred on the development of three significant software tools positioned as practical solutions for existing challenges in language conservation. Each of these projects was developed in conjunction with speakers of an endangered language in rural North Western Taiwan. This thesis describes a pattern for a for large-scale language conservation app/service and present a complete implementation, concluding with a discussion of the opportunities and remaining challenges for achieving large-scale collaborative language conservation.
An Investigation of Blended Collaborative L2 Writing: A Focused Ethnographic Case Study in Indonesia
Despite the potential affordances of collaborative writing activities for second/foreign language (L2) writers, very few studies have examined the nature of such collaboration in a blended approach which incorporated face-to-face (FTF) and online interaction (e.g. via Google Docs). Furthermore, most of the research to date on collaborative writing has been conducted in ESL classes, and where students have easy access to technology. This study set out to investigate the nature of a blended approach to collaborative writing in an EFL context with limited access to technology. The study was conducted in an Indonesian university. Twenty-seven EFL learners participated in the study which was implemented in an ongoing EFL class over a 16-week semester. Participants formed three dyads and seven triads and jointly completed six different text genres as part of their regular classroom activities. The study employed a focused ethnographic design that involved the collection of qualitative data from classroom and online (i.e. Google Docs) observation, field notes, and other supporting textual documents. Drawing on the work of Storch (2002), I investigated patterns of interaction formed during the blended collaborative L2 writing activities. The analysis found four distinct patterns of dyadic and triadic interaction: collaborative, cooperative, facilitative/cooperative (facilitative/cooperative/cooperative for the triads), and active/passive/passive. The findings show that shifting patterns of interaction were evident across both face-to-face (FTF) and online modes. While the majority of dyads formed facilitative/cooperative and the triads facilitative/cooperative/cooperative patterns in the FTF mode, cooperative was the predominant pattern of interaction in the online mode. Only one triad exhibited a consistent collaborative pattern during the blended prewriting activities across both modes. The findings also show salient traits during the task negotiation and text co-construction phases, associated with patterns of interaction. Multiple factors that emerged from the data, and particularly the interviews, may account for variations in patterns of peer interaction, and how student perceptions of the activities were shaped during their blended collaborative writing activities. In this study, I also observed that there were several factors (e.g., the use of L1s, positive affects, and accessibility) that may either facilitate or hinder the process of collaborative writing in the blended setting. The findings and their importance for language learning are explained by reference to Sociocultural Theory, in particular Activity Theory, the theories that informed this study. The findings provide several implications for theory and language pedagogy. In particular, this study provides insights into learners’ interaction in blended collaborative L2 writing activities, and the opportunities for meaningful interaction and mutual scaffolding.
"I'm not a bad guy": Junot Díaz and the Intimate Legacies of Authoritarianism
This thesis analyses how Junot Diaz’s fiction “takes on” the legacies of the Dominican Republic’s Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961). Analysing Diaz’s novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) alongside his short story collections, Drown (1996) and This is How You Lose Her (2012), this thesis argues that Trujillo’s patriarchal legacy pervades even the stories about Diaz’s recurring narrator, Yunior de las Casas, that do not overtly reference the dictatorship. The study aims to demonstrate how Trujillo’s hypersexual, heterosexual script of totalitarian masculinity lives on in ordinary Dominican lives, particularly in intimate relationships; how individuals relate to one another and to themselves. My research proposes that the entanglement of authority, authorship, and authoritarianism in fact implicates not only Diaz’s recurring narrator Yunior, but Diaz himself. I analyse Diaz’s authorial persona to argue that his paratextual participation in the MeToo movement—as both survivor of assault and powerful man accused of harassment and misconduct—further problematises cultural and political dynamics that position one man as the voice of dominicanidad. First, this thesis analyses the period of Trujillo’s dictatorship (the Trujillato, 1930-1961), outlining the union of cultural and political power under the regime that promoted a hegemonic notion of dominicanidad and established Trujillo as its master symbol. I interrogate Diaz’s self-declared “contrahistoria” against Mario Vargas Llosa’s dictator novel about Trujillo, The Feast of the Goat (2000), outlining Diaz’s view that The Feast is seduced by the dictator’s myth of personal—and sexual—power. Instead, Diaz proposes a vision of systemic power in Oscar Wao, represented in a supernatural curse, the Fuku americanus which precedes and postdates Trujillo in haunting the DR. “Trujillo” thus lives on as a disembodied, violent script of identity in the voice of Yunior, often celebrated for its subversive language games but in this thesis analysed for the violence and silence that scar the text. What is absent or unspoken in Diaz’s narratives, I propose, dominates and dictates the text: the patriarchal legacies of Trujillo; Yunior’s absent, womanising father and brother; his inability to voice queer desire or speak out against abuse. Yunior’s obsession over typical Dominican manhood and his own behaviour causes an abyss within; he anxiously borders dominicanidad in his personal life according to the sexist, homophobic, and racialised script laid down by Trujillo. In exploring the damage this script wreaks in ordinary Dominicans’ intimate lives, Diaz uses metatextual strategies such as second-person narration to draw the reader into an uneasy dynamic of complicity with hypermasculine misbehaviour. Yunior’s confessional narratives also serve an ambivalent role by simultaneously exposing and maintaining authorial control. Diaz’s use of similar techniques in his paratextual persona—analysing, interpreting, and adding to his texts in interviews and public appearances—makes him the focus of similar scrutiny in this thesis. I analyse Diaz’s autobiographical contribution to the MeToo movement, the essay “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma,” as well as its reception and subsequent allegations made against him. The singular position Diaz has maintained as voice of US domininicanidad has been exposed, I argue, through the critiques about the union of cultural and political power—and the role of “great men”—stimulated not only by his fiction but through still-unfolding interrogations of his authorial authority.