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From Superhuman to Posthuman: A Comparative Study of Selected Classical Eastern Fantasy and Contemporary Western Science Fiction This research focuses on the comparison between narrative techniques used to portray superhuman and the posthuman in selected classical Eastern fantasy, Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism and contemporary Western science fiction, Sea of Rust by conducting a textual analysis in the light of theoretical lens provided by Nick Bostrom and Robert Pepperell. The research reviews literature and traces that humans have always imagined and textualized presences beyond and above the human world, changing only its forms over the years particularly in fantasy and science fiction genres. The study uses the terms superhuman and transhuman interchangeably for representing the same core idea of ‘being more than human’ and tracks the examples of transhuman in ancient literature. The research explores that the superhuman in classical Eastern fantasy literature has progressed and evolved into the potential posthuman presented in modern science fiction. For centuries, the liberal humanist subject has been recognized as a distinct human position. However, philosophical orientations such as poststructuralism, postmodernism, and most recently, posthumanism have challenged this position by defying the ideologies of humanism.
Anti-Mimetic Narratives: A Study of Alain Mabanckou’s Memoirs of a Porcupine and Yoko Tawada’s Memories of a Polar Bear Unnatural narratology is a recently introduced concept within narrative theory. This research reads two postmodernist animal narratives, Memoirs of a Porcupine (2012) and Memoirs of a Polar Bear (2016) as anti-mimetic narratives with the theoretical lens of unnatural narratology put forth by Jan Alber. Unnatural or anti-mimetic narratives are defined as narratives which violate mimetic conventions. The purpose of this study is to assert that earlier narrative theories neglect certain possibilities of some unusual and experimental literary and fictional narratives. While discussing the conventional narrative techniques usually used in reading animal narratives, the focus of this study is to bring forth the unnatural narrative techniques used in the selected texts. It also elaborates on how the unnatural narratives extend the cognitive perceptions of the readers within the impossible storyworlds and characters of the selected texts. This study explores elements of unnatural narratology in the selected texts by discussing how the selected texts extend the parameters of natural and conventional form of narratives and by scrutinizing the unnatural dynamics in the selected novels.
IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION OF SHINA SPEAKERS: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY ABSTRACT Title: Identity Construction of Shina Speakers: An Ethnographic Study This ethnographic study explores the identity construction of multilingual Shina speakers through marked and unmarked choices. The data for this study is triangulated which consists of questionnaires, interviews, recordings of conversations and FM recordings. The study focuses on identity construction of Shina speakers in different contexts through their linguistic practices and also explores the factors which play a role in the establishment of sets of rights and obligations in an interaction. The data was analyzed by using the Markedness Model by Myers-Scotton (1993) and Hierarchy of Identities Model by Omoniyi (2007). The detailed analysis of the data shows that the Shina speakers construct their linguistic identities in different contexts through code-switching and code mixing. The analysis of data indicates that Shina is an unmarked choice in close circles, Urdu and English are the unmarked choices in formal contexts whereas, Shina, Urdu and English are the unmarked choices in informal contexts. The factors which influence the establishment of the set of rights and obligations include: relationship with the interlocutors, multilingualism and educational background. Identity markers which become salient according to the context include: dress, physical appearance and accent. The study recommends to study the identity construction of other regional language speakers of Gilgit-Baltistan.
LINGUISTIC CRITIQUE OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN FICTION: A SOCIO-PRAGMATIC STUDY ABSTRACT Title: Linguistic Critique of African-American Fiction: A Socio-Pragmatic Study This research explores the use and functions of N-word linguistic choice in African- American fiction in the socio-pragmatic context. The study sets out to explore the relationship between language choices and social contexts in which meanings are communicated within literary texts. Studying the use of N-word linguistic choice and functions it performs within the co-text and context of its utterance is the main objective of this study. It also focuses on how words, such as nigger, have different and diverse meanings within the overall texture of a given context and situation. In addition, this research explores the socio-cultural aspects of African-American fiction under the theoretical framework of Tuen van Dijk’s theory of context (2009), which lead to the selection of N-word choice. It draws upon the conceptual frameworks developed by Roger Fowler (1996), Michael Halliday (1989) and Lisa Cohen Minnick (2004). Three African American fiction works – namely Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and The Color Purple by Alice Walker – are selected for separate analyses. With the help of corpus tools, all the instances of N-word linguistic choices have been collected from the selected texts. They are analyzed and interpreted within the co-text and context of utterances, context of situations and context of culture. Each instance of the use of N-word utterance, its functions and effects within the socio-pragmatic situations are discussed in detail. Besides focusing on who utters the N-word, in what situation and with what purpose in mind, the study also focuses on the perlocutionary effects N-word choice create on the immediate audience or listener(s) of the utterance involved in the discussion. N-word use and function within the texts under study yields interesting results. The study demonstrates that N-word is not only used as a racial and social slur to dehumanize and demean the person for whom this word is uttered but also as a term of endearment among the black Americans. The position and race of the utterer not only contributes to the meaning of the N-word choice but may also leave an indelible imprint on the person for whom the N-word is uttered and with what intentions and relations. The study acknowledges the sensitivities of N-word use in its local and global context and what havoc it plays if one is ignorant of its use in intercultural communication.
Analysing Multiple Identities in the Workplace Discourse: A Gender Based Study ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Analysing Multiple Identities in the Workplace Discourse: A Gender Based Study This research aims to explore how males and females in leadership positions negotiate and construct their multiple identities within the micro instances of workplace interactions. This study is grounded in the social constructionist paradigm, where the research on identity shifted from exploration of having a pre-given singular identity based on static categories of age, gender, class and status to discursively negotiating and constructing multiple identities in talk. This research is conducted in the academic settings of selected public sector universities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The qualitative data for this research is collected from workplace meetings and interviews of males and females whereas quantitative data is collected through a structured questionnaire. The research adopts Judith Butler’s theory of ‘performativity’ and West and Zimmerman’s notion of ‘doing gender’ to explore the dynamic and fluid negotiation of identities within workplace interactions. The analytical framework adopted for this study for the analysis of qualitative data draws on various concepts and approaches: the community of practice (cofp) approach, the notion of gendered discourses, Foucault’s conception of discourse and power and Ochs’s concept of indexicality. The quantitative data is analyzed with the help of two statistical tests which include Chi Square and independent t-Test.The key finding of this study is that both male and female leaders use language as a flexible resource and employ a variety of discursive strategies and linguistic forms for doing leadership and negotiating identities according to settings and various contextual factors. Hence the study concluded that there is variation in the features of interactional styles of male and female leaders and they cannot be neatly and permanently fixed into masculine and feminine styles of interaction. The shift from static and fixed to more fluid and dynamic investigation of identity attempted in this study has potential of social change and transformation as it contests the stereotypical notions which constrain individual agency and attempt to impose normative patterns. The significant contribution of this research is that studies like this bring forth the alternative, diverse and dynamic models of doing leadership and negotiating professional identity which is important in order to de-gender the notion of leadership and set it free from its confining associations with masculinity and the normatively masculine features of discourse.
Critical Classroom Discourse Analysis at Undergraduate Level in Pakistan ABSTRACT Title: Critical Classroom Discourse Analysis at Undergraduate Level in Pakistan The current study focuses on the ESL multicultural classroom discursive practices on ideology, race, power, resistance and gender. The ESL classroom involves the classroom participants in learning the non-native language in a common setting where all the students learn the content of the ESL course in socially constructed practices. Since, classroom is a constituent of the social growing practices, the classroom approved practices contribute a significant role in the development and establishment of social norms. All the three universities of Islamabad (the capital city of Pakistan) were selected as the sites of the study where the undergraduate four-year English program is being offered. The study is a census enquiry where all the population of the sites is considered as the sample. Moreover, all the teachers and the students of the research site were contacted to participate in the study. The data were collected through interviews, questionnaires and structured observation sheets. The study is a mixed-method approach and the design is explanatory-cum-exploratory where the results of the data have been triangulated in order to ensure the validity. It was found that the dominant groups and ideologies are prevalent in the ESL (English as Second Language) classrooms discourses where the teachers enjoy complete academic and administrative authorities. In a multicultural ESL classroom, the students also feel alone and in certain minority groups. Silence among the students has also been observed. Although the classrooms have religious freedom, Islamic ideological discursive and nondiscursive practices embedded with local cultural values dominate. In order to get plausible academic results in the ESL multicultural classroom, the teachers need to understand, perceive and sensitize themselves to the cultural, ideological and social understanding of the students for a smooth academic process in the language classroom.
Euphemistic Strategies of Male and Female Facebook Users: A Sociocognitive Study Language is susceptible to the influence of social media in general and Facebook in particular. Facebook provides an interactive environment for modelling and socio cognition of its users with respect to behavior, thoughts, ideas and language. The influence of Facebook in terms of language strategies such as euphemism is different for both the genders since males and females tend to use Facebook distinctively and their languages are also known to be different from each other. The present study attempted to explore this impact of Facebook on the language strategies of its users with regards to euphemism. A sample of 120 Undergraduate students comprising 60 boys and 60 girls from two institutes at Mardan was chosen for the study. The sample had 60 Facebook users and 60 non-users. Concepts from Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory were used to explore and explain the impact of Facebook on its users. The comparative analysis of users with non-users of Facebook showed the impact of Facebook with respect to various aspects of socio cognition. Findings showed that Facebook users were more euphemistic than non-users. They had a more enriched vocabulary which helped them formulate more eloquent euphemistic strategies than the non-users of Facebook. They were found to be more aware of euphemism in that they showed better recognition and knowledge of euphemism. They had higher aptitudes with respect to the use of euphemism and used greater variety of euphemistic strategies as compared to the non-users. The impact of Facebook was further compared for male and female users to find out how gender fits in sociocognitive theorization. The Female users were seen to undergo greater observational learning than males which validated their higher aptitude with regards to euphemism than male users. Female users also had higher outcome expectancies than male users. However, despite their higher aptitude than male users, female users had lower self-efficacies than male users. The findings thus showed that Facebook influences both the genders in a different way in terms of developing their outcome expectancies, aptitudes and observational learning patterns. The study can be extended further by future researchers using the same framework to study euphemism on social media other than Facebook or by including participants from other age groups and cultures.
Discursive Reconfiguration of Nature and Women in Native American and Afro-American Ecriture Feminine ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Discursive Reconfiguration of Nature and Women in Native American and Afro- American Ecriture Feminine The dissertation explores Louise Erdrich and Toni Morrison‘s fiction to analyze the discursive reconfiguration of the Native American and Afro -American women and their symbiotic relationship with nature. The study asserts that these two novelists, through their distinctive Ecriture Feminine mode of representation, have subverted negative, stereotypical misrepresentations of Native and Afro- American women in the mainstream pahllogocentric discourses by discursively reconfiguring their differential identities. Opposed to Euro- American anthropocentric world view that dominates women and nature, they have delineated bio-centric relationship between Native American and Afro- American women and nature to emphasize their environmental consciousness. An eclectic theoretical framework combining theoretical insights from Poststructrual French Feminism, Black Feminism and Ecocfeminism has been developed to analyze the texts from Ecriture Feminine and Ecocfeminist perspectives. Four primary texts - Tracks and Love Medicine by Erdrich and Beloved and Paradise by Morrison, have been selected to analyze the use of discursive techniques/ stylistic features/ and modes of narration by these novelists. Discourse Analysis Method derived from Foucault‘s critical insights into discourse theory has been employed to illuminate the meanings contained in the data. It is argued that their fiction makes a shift away from the universalizing identity politics of the dominant western culture by constructing nonlinear narration celebrated by Ecriture Feminine aesthetics which comprises of interconnected stories rather than a rational, linear plot valorized by western culture. The study concludes that Erdrich and Morrison‘s fiction, undermining the masculine / pahllogocentric structures, identity politics, singularity of meaning and the artificial imposition of coherence that defines masculine logic, stresses the fluid relation between subject and the discourse by drawing on the energy of the experimental mixing of orality and community. The study asserts that Erdrich and Morrison‘s Ecriture Feminine fiction has made substantial contribution to extricate women and nature from the oppressive patriarchal/ phallogocentric structures v by highlighting the concerns about environmental racism. They have broadened the scope of identitarian politics by dissolving the cultural boundaries, re- imagining the histories, amalgamating white and non- white narrative techniques and responding to Poststructrual French Feminism‘s call for ―new poetics‖.
Systemic Functional Interpretation of Transitivity Templates in Print Media ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Systemic Functional Interpretation of Transitivity Templates in Print Media In Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) transitivity analysis is used as a yardstick to measure lexical differences accurately. While reporting the news in the newspapers, lexical differences, whether generated consciously or unconsciously, create diversified influences on the readers’ minds. The present research is an attempt to bring out these lexical differences (syntagmatic & paradigmatic choices) to figure out the transitivity templates (selection and order of process and participant types) and underscore the manner of engagement maintained by the news reporters/agencies in terms of their neutrality or objectivity. It has been done, additionally, to extend the scope of SFL and Transitivity System Network (TSN). The news reports of suicide attacks that occurred in Pakistan during 2009-2015 have been analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The semantic value of different syntagmatic (relationship between linguistic units along X-axis) and paradigmatic (relationship between linguistic units along Y-axis) choices of Process and Participant Types reveals the unique communicative significance of the reported news stories. The research reveals the dominance of Material Process Types in daily Dawn and the Verbal Process Types in The News International and The New York Times. Examination of Participant Types unveils the dominance of Sayer (Participant Type) in the two Pakistani newspapers. The comparison of animate Participant Types reveals that The New York Times texts comprise the highest number of Sayers. In all the three newspapers, the comparison of the transitivity roles associated with Verbal and Material Processes (say, Sayer, Receiver, Actor, Goal, etc.) barring Verbiage indicates that Goal takes the second-highest position. The comparison of Material related participants (say, Actor, Goal) indicates the predominance of Goal, thus reflecting the predominance of passivity. Analysis of text through Hasan’s Planes of Narration revealed paradoxes of bravery versus cowardice and unison versus disarray. Application of Martin and White’s Appraisal Framework brought in the predominance of the element of Affect encompassing the incidents of deaths, injuries, massive devastation and damage, and causing shock, anxiety and depression to the victims, their relatives and acquaintances for its surprising and unexpected nature.
A STUDY OF GENDER REPRESENTATION IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING TEXTBOOKS: A MULTIMODAL PERSPECTIVE Gender equality is a key to development for any country. Nonetheless, Pakistan, according to the Global Gender Gap Index, currently ranks the second lowest country in the world for gender equality (2021). Although efforts are apparent within Pakistan’s Vision 2025 to promote gender equality, there is still much more to be done to improve the realities for women and girls across the country. Textbooks are a powerful tool for transmission and transformation of culture of a given society (Ullah, Ali & Naz, 2014). The content of textbooks is designed in a manner which communicates a certain type of message to the readers. Thus, it can be said that the images of gender portrayed in textbooks influence child’s understanding regarding gender. A textbook should be learner-centered and nurture the minds of young people, without strengthening stereotypes and gender biases. This research study focuses on the analysis of gender representation in Primary Level ELT textbooks taught in government schools of KP. Multimodal analysis is used as a tool to study the representation of gender in primary level ELT textbooks taught in government schools of KP. The verbal mode is analyzed with the help of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (1994) whereas the visual mode is analyzed with the help of Leeuwen’s Visual Grammar Theory (1996). The study reveals that there is a high level of gender unfairness in ELT textbooks taught in government primary schools of KP. It is observed that ELT books include images and texts which promote male controlling family system. Significant outcomes of this study also show that women representation in sports activities and non-traditional professions for example, pilot or space scientists is very less. It is concluded that there is a need for fair gender representation in ELT books which can increase students’ motivation level towards the recognition of the roles that women can play as productive members of society. It is further recommended to increase the representation of women in primary level ELT books taught in government schools of KP. Moreover, it is suggested to improve female representation in main roles, pictures and professional positions. There is a significant need that ELT books taught at Primary Level in government schools in KP should portray the balanced picture of gender.
LINGUISTIC CONSTRUCTION OF IDEOLOGIES THROUGH INTERTEXTUAL RESOURCES: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF LEADING PAKISTANI ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Linguistic Construction of Ideologies through Intertextual Resources: A Comparative Study of Leading Pakistani English Newspapers Elusive manipulations through the use of intertextual resources to launch different ideologies do find their existence in the editorials which ordinary readers (common everyday reader) may find difficult to catch. The situation gets intricate when it is the matter related to national issues of great importance. To curtail the possible distortion of the interpretive and ideological directions given to the readers through the editorials, the qualitative part of the research aimed at investigating editorials of four leading Pakistani English newspapers whereby the researcher traced and analyzed the instances of manipulative use of intertextual resources applying Fairclough’s threedimensional model with appraisal analysis at the core of text analysis. The newspapers were selected over a period of six months and through purposive sampling the final sample comprised a total of 20 editorials. The findings of intertextual analysis reveal significant and manipulative use of intertextual strategies by the newspapers to serve and propagate their respective ideologies and agendas. Identified intertextual manipulations included intertextual ellipses, intertextual transformations, ideological selection of quotes/events, intertextual swindle of facts, authorial alignment/disalignmnet, discriminatory use of linguistic resources in and around the intertextual references, tempering with contextual data, manipulative presuppositions, and obfuscation of crucial information. A number of different linguistic tools for example counterexpectancy, negation, hedging, buffering, concessive conjunctions, disaster vocabulary, negative/positive appraisal, monoglossic declaratives, heteroglossia, negation, upscalling and downscaling resources, nominalization, meaningful use of anaphoric /cataphoric references, obfuscation, obligation/doubt modals, and contracted dialogic space, helped achieve the abovementioned intertextual manipulations. The analysis of these linguistic tools used within and around the intertextual references also revealed a number of intertextual contradictions in the sampled editorials. To find out the impact of intertextuality awareness on readership of the newspaper and consolidate the qualitative research findings of the research question number three, an experiment was also conducted. The findings suggested marked improvement in the critical reading skills of the readers after the treatment and also consolidated the qualitative research finding of research question number three.
GENDER PORTRAYAL IN ENGLISH TEXTBOOKS AND TEACHER-LEARNER PERCEPTIONS: AN ANALYTICAL STUDY AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL IN KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Gender Portrayal in English Textbooks and Teacher-Learner Perceptions: An Analytical Study at Undergraduate Level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The process of gendering for children starts at home as it is performed around them and gender norms are reinforced by the respective culture and society. Education can play a significant role in instilling equitable gender ideals in learners. But it has been found that textbooks often strengthen and perpetuate gender stereotypes. It is in this context that the current study is undertaken to first investigate gender portrayal in English textbooks at undergraduate level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then to analyze the gender perceptions of the concerned teachers and learners. A mixed-method approach has been used in the present study to collect and analyze data. Questionnaires and focus-group discussions were used to collect data from learners and teachers. The results demonstrated that the textbooks portray male dominance in all the examined categories of sexism. As there are more male than female characters in general, male main, supporting and minor characters outnumber females as well. Females are assigned very limited ‘low status’ occupations in comparison to a variety of ‘high status’ occupations for males. While the male gender is often mentioned first and female mentioned second, generic-masculine expressions are not general but malereferenced. Similarly, females are stereotyped through the use of nouns and adjectives. The titles and contents of units in the textbooks are male-centered as well. The analysis of teachers and learners’ perceptions further validated these results. The teachers believed that due to lack of gender-specific training, they hardly pay any attention to gender in the classroom setting. As the urban participants demonstrated relatively less traditional gender perceptions, the participants from rural background had more biased perceptions. The female participants, however portrayed increased awareness of discrimination against women. The study recommended the involvement of many stakeholders such as curriculum designers, teachers and parents to address the issue of biased gender portrayal.
HISTORICAL (MIS) REPRESENTATION AND THE LITERARY WRITING BACK: A POSTMODERNIST STUDY OF SELECTED NATIVE AMERICAN FICTION ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Historical (Mis)representation and the Literary Writing Back: A Postmodernist Study of Selected Native American Fiction Using the theoretical underpinnings of postmodernism, this qualitative study analyzes the selected Native American literary texts to bring forth the voice of the suppressed American Indians as well as their silenced and marginalized truth. This research sets its direction with the help of the three guiding research objectives. To achieve the first and the third objective of the study, Jean-François Lyotard’s concept of disbelief in grand narratives is applied on the selected novels of the writers, to draw a comparison between grand narratives established and promoted by Euro Americans with mini-narratives promoted by Native Americans. The study reveals that the selected writers have challenged these grand narratives in a way so as to prove that there is no authentic reality behind those so-called legitimized grand narratives. The challenging claims of the Native American writers have dragged grand narratives, based on Euro American superiority and legitimacy to the margin, bringing new mini-narratives based on American Indian perspective and their superiority, to the center. To achieve the second objective of the study, Linda Hutcheon’s theory of historiographic metafiction is used to make a comparison between the Euro American’s officially documented history with the fictive history presented by the selected writers. The study is based on the analysis of fiction from the American Indian’s marginalized perspective and their silenced truth. It has been proved with shreds of evidence from the selected fictional works, that the history is not always based on factual truth. The study finally winds up with recommendations for the future researchers.
IMPROVING BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS THROUGH PRAGMATICS ABSTRACT Thesis Title: Improving Business Communication Skills through Pragmatics Pragmatics is an important branch of linguistics that deals with a sender’s intended message, a receiver’s interpretations, context, and language contents. Business communication is a specific branch of general communication. Business communication courses aim at preparing the students for effective professional communication required in their future careers. This study aims at exploring the effectiveness of teaching pragmatics explicitly along with the prescribed course contents of business communication in the classroom. The data have been collected through (1) comparative analysis of business communication relevant contents of ESP/communication courses prescribed by Higher Education of Pakistan (2012) for BBA and relevant pragmatics concepts, (2) written discourse completion tasks (WDCTs) of learners who were taught pragmatics explicitly on the pattern of single-subject experiment design, (3) semi-structured interviews of teachers of business communication, and (4) semi-structured interviews of business administrators with relevant qualification. Through the comparative analysis, the majority of contents of business communication and pragmatics are found comparable with each other. A significant impact of explicit instruction of pragmatics is noted on the learners of the singlesubject experimental group. The teachers are found convinced of the utility of pragmatics in teaching business communication and a majority of them supported the notion of explicit instruction of pragmatics combined with the course contents. The business administrators also reported that they use pragmatics in their corporate communication which they have learnt implicitly through their vast exposure and they also appreciated the notion of making pragmatics a part of business communication courses. The findings of the study reveal that concepts of pragmatics are very useful in business communication. Based on findings, this study recommends the explicit inclusion and instruction of pragmatics in business communication course contents to better prepare the business students for their later professions. Further, the study also suggests additional research on the interface of pragmatics and professional communication.