The Department of French is hosting a talk by Félix Desmeules-Trudel, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, having completed his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Ottawa in 2018 with a focus on perception, acquisition, and computational methods - especially when it comes to phonetics. His talk is taking place on Monday, March 2, at 3 PM, in 201 Odette Hall on St. Joseph Street: "Modéliser la dynamique du language : Outils expérimentaux, statistiques, et computationnels" (Modelling the dynamics of language: Experimental, statistical, and computational tools.") Note that the talk will be held in French.
(A substantial proportion of the population is able to use more than one language on an everyday basis, but most models of language processing are based on monolingual speakers. Moreover, some major theoretical frameworks consider cognitive representations to be relatively fixed over time. However, language is a dynamic phenomenon. With a view to examining this dynamic reality, I will present a series of projects using sophisticated experimental methods that will allow the modelling of real-time language processing in order to probe more deeply the interactions between phonetic variation and L2 learning. I pay particular attention to the variability and dynamics of nasal vowel production in French (measured according to changes in nasal airflow), to the real-time processing of these vowels in French as an L1 and as an L2 (eye-tracking), and to various linguistic and cognitive factors that influence processing in bilingual children and L2 lexical learning in adults. In conjunction with advanced statistical methods, the results suggest that phonetic features usually thought to be redundant in phono-lexical representations in the mind do contribute to improving linguistic processing. That said, the use of these phonetic features seems to be inextricably linked to speakers' linguistic background. Late bilinguals have perceptual patterns less precise than those of monolingual speakers. Ultimately, this research will allow me to adapt computational models of word recognition (jtrace) to L2 learners, and thus to acquire a more realistic understanding of how language processing and learning function, in tandem with phonetic, phonological, and lexical representations.)