Session B: 10:45AM – 12:15PM

Humanities. Session B – Oral Presentations, Room 312, Union

SESSION B (10:45AM – 12:15PM)
Location: Room 312, A. Ray Olpin University Union


Lost in Translation: The Complexities of Translation Theory and Colonialism in Inés del alma mía
Saydi Anderson, Westminster College

Faculty Mentor Chris LeCluyse, Westminster College

SESSION B 10:45-11:00AM
Room 312, Union

This past summer, under the sponsorship of an Honors College Independent Summer Research Grant, I explored the relationship between English and Spanish in Ines Del Alma Mia. My textual analysis builds upon a close-reading of the text in the two language, and is grounded in translation theory – the deliberate yet culturally influenced decisions that translators must make when translating. I argue that although Inés del alma mía might be new to readers, its plotline is one that has been passed down historically for generations: the story of conquest and colonization. This shared social knowledge simplifies the translation process, allowing a literal translation of the original text. Even further, I illustrate how we cannot create what we cannot first imagine, and what we can imagine comes from our backgrounds and social context; the deliberate decisions made in the translation process  merely magnify the all too familiar and accepted glorification of the conquest of native tribes.


A Solution to Kripke’s Puzzle about Belief
Lexi Andrist, Southern Utah University

Faculty Mentor Gretchen Ellefson, Southern Utah University

SESSION B 11:05-11:20AM
Room 312, Union

In the philosophy of language, a widely discussed problem is that of reference. Although there are many problems that arise when speaking of reference, the one I will be discussing is a problem that arises when a speaker is utilizing a word and its translation (in a different language) in the same sentence, which leads to seemingly referencing multiple objects but in actuality the individual is only referring to one object, which can lead an individual to hold contradictory beliefs. In “A Puzzle About Belief,” Kripke proposed a puzzle in which a person named Pierre believes that the city of London is ugly, but that the city Londres (the French translation of London) is pretty. This is a problem, because London and Londres are the same city, and both names are denoting the same city; which leads to the problem of contradictory belief. One of Pierre’s beliefs must be false, and Kripke holds we cannot know the answer of which is false and cannot solve the puzzle. I will argue that this puzzle can be solved through the utilization of individual’s idiolects (individual dialects). I argue that by utilizing idiolects one can create a framework in which belief should be based; this framework being that how we theorize one’s belief of things should be based de dicto (on the word used to present the object) rather than purely de re (the object itself). Following the establishment of how one’s belief should be based, I will disprove the principle of translation (which states that if a statement is true in one language, it should also be true in another language) through the use of idiolects; as all individuals use words differently, which makes the de dicto meaning of the words change, thus circumventing the problem that Kripke is posing. Finally, I will address some potential objections to my solution. These objections will be regarding the use of idiolects being considered insignificant, as well as contexts in which is the principle of translation can and should be utilized.


A History of Spanish Language Congregations in the LDS Church
Paul Guajardo, Brigham Young University

Faculty Mentor Ignacio Garcia, Brigham Young University

SESSION B 11:25-11:40AM
Room 312, Union

Guillermo Balderas is a key figure in Latter-day Saint history who is virtually unknown. He was a Mexican, refugee, bishop, and missionary. While he faced racism, he remained faithful to the LDS Church and worked throughout his life to change a hegemonically white institution to better serve Latino saints. My work examines Balderas in context and argues that his life is exceptional and will expand historians’ understanding of Latino leadership in the early-modern LDS Church. This research answers the question: how should we write about the roles that people of color played in the 20th century?
This project examines why important people of color (“the other”) are not discussed in American religious history. Traditionally, the space has been occupied by “great men.” This idea has rightly been challenged by modern schools of thought; indigenous studies, women’s studies, and queer studies are examples that challenge the traditional narrative. I argue the problem historians face is not one of exceptionalism but rather of scope. There are many great people who have been forgotten for not fitting a certain profile. Guillermo Balderas’ contributions to his community and church make him an exemplary individual, and important in the historiography of Latino leaders in American religious movements. This project places will consider how we write about the expansion of the LDS Church into Latino communities, how historians write about Latino Christians in the United States, and the impact that Guillermo and other Latinos had on the LDS Church. My research and presentation draw from several primary sources, namely his papers and unpublished autobiography, as well as secondary sources from historians such as Elisa Pulido, Aron Sanchez, Jorge Iber, and Ignacio Garcia. Ultimately, it provides the audience with an example of a non-white hero and expands Mormon historiography by examining “the other” in history.


Tool-Assisted Induction of MITSL Languages
Jacob Johnson, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Aniello De Santo, University of Utah

SESSION B 11:45-12:00PM
Room 312, Union

Model-theoretic phonology seeks to formally model natural language as a mathematical system. This approach allows for theoretical arguments about the learnability of natural language patterns, addressing questions of how much input is needed, and whether models can be constructed from unlabeled, mostly positive examples (Heinz et al, 2011). The formal language theory behind model-theoretic phonology has also enabled grammatical inference algorithms, which derive grammars from a sample by making assumptions about the complexity class of the language represented (De la Higuera, 2010). Recent work in this subfield of computational linguistics has revealed that phonotactics, among other natural-language phenomena, can be characterized by subclasses of regular languages. In particular, De Santo & Graf (2019) propose a subregular class of Multiple Input-sensitive Tier-based Strictly Local (MITSL) languages for phonotactics, combining the strengths of sensitivity to local structure when projecting to tiers with the ability to encode multiple tiers of constraints. De Santo & Aksënova (2021) propose an algorithm to learn a MITSL grammar from positive language data. Here, considerations regarding the implementation and use of this MITSL algorithm are presented. The algorithm is evaluated on a series of test languages, including simplified corpus data (Aksënova 2020): the learned grammars are used to generate new members of the learned language, and these are classified as to whether they belong to the target language. Importantly, generated strings that do not belong in the target language are directly traceable to particular subsequences missing in the sample. These results show that the proposed algorithm functions as theoretically predicted, demonstrating the learnability of phonotactic constraints from positive data. The implementation of the learner is furthermore valuable to researchers interested in experimenting with MITSL grammars.


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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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