Chaire Internationale 2019 – Susanne Fuchs : « An embodied and situated perspective on speech

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Nous accueillons à partir du 04 octobre 2019 le professeur Susanne Fuchs (Leibniz Centre General Linguistics – Berlin (Allemagne)) pour une série de quatre séminaires sur le thème « An embodied and situated perspective on speech and language ».

Ces séminaires se dérouleront les vendredis 04 et 11 octobre et 08 et 15 novembre de 16h00 à 18h00 à l’ILPGA, 19 rue des Bernardins 75005 Paris – Salle Rousselot.


The general aim of this lecture series is to open new avenues to empirically grounded linguistics by means of interdisciplinary research within an embodied and situated perspective.

Lecture 1: Changes and challenges in understanding speech variability: A review over half a century – vendredi 04 octobre 2019

Over the last century, our understanding of variability in the speech signal has undergone a variety of changes. Once regarded as noise in the signal, it has now become a major topic of investigation revealing evidence for the underlying biological, cognitive and social factors of speech. In this overview talk, I will review theories and data discussing variability with respect to visible and audible biological factors as well as structures and mechanisms beneath the surface. Furthermore, I will review how our knowledge about variability and social factors has evolved from long-term adaptations between different social groups to short term adaptations regulating social behaviour. Finally, I will discuss how variability has been treated with respect to the nature of linguistic representation: from a phonemic level to a subphonemic one (fine phonetic detail), from abstract representations to enriched multisensory representations stored in the episodic memory. I will then summarize which challenges variability poses for theoretical models and empirical linguistics.

Lecture 2: The forgotten articulator: How respiration constrains linguistic structure and affects speech at a local and global level – vendredi 11 octobre 2019

In this lecture, I will talk about respiration, a biological rhythm which is flexible and adaptable and crucially involved in speech production, perception and face-to-face interactions. Based on different experiments, I will discuss the interplay between respiration and speech planning in read and spontaneous speech and the respiratory coordination between interlocutors in dialogue. Finally, I will argue that respiration does not only deliver the expiratory airstream for speech in long temporal windows (interpausal units), but can also be involved in the production of prominent syllables.

Lecture 3: Speech and language adaptations in the context of rhythmic body motions – vendredi 08 novembre 2019

ATTENTION : Séminaire annulé

In our daily life, speech production is often part of another action, e.g. interlocutors walk and talk next to each other. In this lecture, I will provide evidence from multimodal experiments in which we investigated the effect of rhythmic motions with the legs or hands on respiratory parameters, and the temporal structure of speech. This work will open new avenues towards placing speech and language studies into a broader situational context and more ecological settings.

Lecture 4: Two motor tasks within the same body: Timing and coordination of speech and manual gestures – vendredi 15 novembre 2019

Changement d’horaires : Le séminaire aura lieu de 14h à 17h. 

Hand gestures and articulatory motions belong to two motor systems in one body with different dynamic properties, in particular with regards to mass and speed. Yet, both of them are often well timed and coordinated. In this talk, I will introduce cross-linguistic experiments using motion capture and acoustics where we investigated the speech-hand coordination in natural games (counting out rhymes; shooting cans). The speech-hand coordination was challenged by means of temporal pressure or by different positions of an object in space.