|Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle / ILPGAfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Laboratoire de phonétique et phonologie||Departement ILPGA|
|4 rue des Irlandais|
75005 Paris, France
Tél. : (+33) 1.44.32.05.70
Fax : (+33) 1.44.32.05.73
Tél. : (+33) 6 220.127.116.11
After having completed my humanities in scientific section A (mathematics) and passed the maturity exam (admission to the university in Belgium, at the time) in mathematics (spherical trigonometry), I obtained a License in Philosophy and my aggregation at the Free University of Brussels in 1979 with a dissertation: Research on the role of mathematics in the thought of Giordano Bruno. I finished my master's degree (special license) in African linguistics at the Free University of Brussels in 1983 with a dissertation: Elements of Nyanja grammar, Bantu language of zone N. My doctorate was defended at the Free University of Brussels in 1992 with a thesis: Mangbetu: phonetic and phonological studies and an annexed thesis entitled: By arguing that the acquisition of language depends on abstract genetic structures, Jacques Mehler defends an erroneous view of evolution and culture.
I started my career in Rwanda at the INRS (National Institute for Scientific Research) at Butare (1980-1982). Then I worked in the department of ethnomusicology (Centre ethnomusicologique Paul Collaer) of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium (1983-1986). After that, I worked for a project of the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Mangbetu language and music in northeastern Congo (Zaire at the time) (1987-1990). This work is the basis of my PhD, defended in 1992, at the Free University of Brussels where I worked part-time from 1990 and then as permanent researcher (1st assistant and then chef de Travaux) from 1993. I also participated in a research project of Harvard University in the Ituri, DR Congo, to work on the language and music of the Efe pygmies (1987-1988). Then, I collaborated with the Dynamique du Langage laboratory (DDL) of the University of Lyon2 (1992-1998). I was professor at the University of Aix-en-Provence between 1996 and 1999 and director of the phonology laboratory of the Free University of Brussels between 1993 and 2003. I was associate professor and professor at the University libre de Bruxelles between 1995 and 2010. I was a visiting professor at the University of São Paulo in Brazil between 2003 and 2010
My geographical mobility is explained by the teaching and research contracts that I had in Belgium, the United States, France and Brazil and by the collaborations that I maintained with colleagues from different universities from around the world: Shigeki Kaji and Hirosi Nakagawa in Japan; Peter Ladefoged, John Ohala and John Kingston in the United States; Francisco Mendes, César Ades, Eleonora Albano and Luciana Storto in Brazil; Moges Yigezu in Ethiopia; Tony Traill in South Africa; André Montingea in the Congo; Fang Hu in China; Tulio Rojas in Colombia; Esther Zendejas in Mexico; Alice Turk and Jim Scobbie in Edinburgh and Jane Stuart Smith in Glasgow; Michael Karani in Tanzania. I also regularly conduct field research to collect data. These missions took me to Congo, Ethiopia, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Brasil and Colombia.
My career has developed around two disciplines: linguistics, focused on phonetics and phonology, and ethnomusicology. The multidisciplinary aspect of my work comes from collaborations and projects that I had with researchers from the Center for the Study of Nonlinear Phenomena of the Free University of Brussels, in particular with Jean-Louis Deneubourg, to process and model dynamic aspects and self-organization of phonetic and phonological systems. I collaborated with biologists René Thomas and Nicolas Glandsdorff who encouraged me to work on the biological aspects of language and human speech. I have been collaborating for many years with medical doctors on questions of physiology and anatomy of speech, Sergio Hassid, Lise Crevier Buchman and Stéphane Hans. I collaborated with physicists, Christophe Segebarth and Thierry Metens, with whom I developed several "firsts" in magnetic resonance studies on speech (first use of MRI for the study of speech in my doctoral thesis, first multi-slice, 3-dimensional and real-time measurements). I have been collaborating with ethologists and specialists in animal communication, César Ades, Francisco Mendes, Thierry Aubin, Alban Lemasson, Martine Hausberger and Felipe Toledo for several years. In phonetics, I collaborated with an engineer from Aix-en-Provence, Bernard Teston, in order to develop new tools for working in the field (the portable EVA system and portable electromyography devices). I also maintained a long collaboration with John Ohala at the University of Berkeley, where I have made regular stays since my doctoral thesis, as well as with Peter Ladefoged and Ian Maddieson at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
In ethnomusicology, I have collaborated with the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren and the Paul Collaer Ethnomusicological Center on various projects (research and musical education). I collaborated with the research group of Simha Arom in Lacito. I had a long collaboration with Benoit Quersin and the Institute of National Museums of Zaire (IMNZ), which later became the Institute of National Museums of Congo. I collaborated with the research group of Simha Arom and Suzanne Fürniss at the Musée de l'homme in Paris.
1. EXPERIMENTAL PHONETICS (MASTER): 12 WEEKS
The central question of this course is: what is experimentation in phonetics? Phonetics can be defined as Rousselot did in 1923 in his opening lesson at the Collège de France: ‘As we understand it today, phonetics is the science of the sounds of language. It is a branch of acoustics, natural, psychological and social sciences. This complexity could only have delayed progress. Phonetics therefore involves the physical, biological, psychological and social aspects of the sounds of human languages’. To explain the phenomena of speech and their variations in the languages of the world we must consider that phonetic systems are open systems and that there is no a priori reason to believe that they are based on a universal inventory of traits or elements. The only real limits are those defined by physics, the morphology of the vocal tract, by constraints on hearing and also those on cognition and the brain.
The course follows the approach initiated by Claude Bernard (1865) for whom the observation of a fact contradicting accepted ideas requires making a hypothesis and an experiment to explain this new fact. The experiment is an observation provoked under determined conditions with a view to checking the hypothesis, which is only an instrument for discovering the truth. Observation and experience alone give knowledge of facts. The ambition must be to answer the how of things and not the why. Claude Bernard also insists on the fragility and the provisional nature of scientific theories. He also distinguished between two main categories of experiences, those produced by nature (Natural experiences – dysfunctions in pathology, lapsus, language games, effects of the alteration of articulators-) and those produced by man in the laboratory. The course also emphasizes the role of statistics and their use in the processing of experimental data.
Some theoretical points developed: notions of threshold in continuous variables, continuous time vs. discrete time (quantal theory); articulatory control (what is its nature?); create disturbances that alter the system to test hypotheses: bite-block, aerodynamic disturbances (leaks, pressure changes).
2. PHYSIOLOGICAL AND ACOUSTIC PHONETICS (MASTER): 12 WEEKS
The main topics of this course are devoted to the fundamental aspects of the anatomy and physiology of speech and how the different speech sounds are produced. Topics cover the nervous system, speech muscles, respiration, and phonation. The anatomy of the peripheral and central auditory system is also covered in this course.
The course is focused on two themes: the physiology and the acoustics of speech sounds. Physiological phonetics studies the role, the function, the mechanical aspects, the physical and biological organization of speech sounds’ components.
The acoustic aspects deal with the analysis, the source and production of sounds and their influence on the mechanisms of hearing, the perception of pitch and timbre and certain sound illusions.
Database: Didier Demolin, Sergio Hassid, Clara Ponchard, Shi Yu & Roland Trouville. Speech aerodynamic database. LPP, ILPGA, ArtSpeech.
Software: Visible vowels; Praat; Winpitch; Phonedit; Audacity; WhyYouHearWhatYou Hear; VocalTractLab.
Models: JvtCal; VocaltractLab
Sites web : www.discoveringspeech.wiley.com; www.whyyouhearwhatyouhear.com.
3. GENERAL PHONETICS (BACHELOR 2): 12 WEEKS
Acoustic phonetics: waveform, acoustics of phonation types; fundamental frequency and declination; Formant calculation, F-pattern; vocal tract model for vowels; adaptive dispersal theory; acoustics of stops, fricatives and sonorant consonants; coarticulation.
Perceptual phonetics: basic notions of hearing and the anatomy of the peripheral auditory system; acoustic cues; absence of invariance in the perception of the segments; categorical perception, locus equations; theories of speech perception.
Software: Visible vowels; Praat; Winpitch; Audacity;
4. COMPARATIVE PHONETICS OF THE WORLD’S LANGUAGES (BACHELOR 3): 12 WEEKS
The course is devoted to study the similarities and differences between the phonetic (and phonological) systems of the world’s languages. The content focuses on a few major questions: 1. how to explain the diversity of phonetic and phonological systems found in different families of the world’s languages? 2. What are the constraints explaining these differences? 3. How to evaluate and explain the difference in complexity between systems with few segments compared to those with many? 4. How to account for the characteristics of basic, elaborate and complex systems? 5. Are there more allophones in basic systems than in complex systems? 6. How to account for articulatory complexity? These questions are discussed from the examination of the sound systems from languages of different regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Oceania. Some phenomena such as nasality, double articulations, the inventory of vowel systems, phonation types and tonal systems are studied by comparing their realizations in different language families.
1. Vowel systems: simple (few vowels), complex (many vowels and timbres or few timbres with more phonation types), systems without high back vowels.
Caucasus (Adyge), Nasa Yuwe, ǃxóõ, Karitiana, Mangbetu, Mandarin, French, Aymara.
2. Consonant systems: simple (few consonants, parallel with speech acquisition?), elaborate (additional articulatory dimensions).
Karitiana, Rotokas, Mangbetu, Fulfulde (acquisition), Mandarin, |Gui, ǃxóõ.
3. Stop consonants: comparison between VOT types; fortis/lenis; pre. and post. aspiration; double closures; affricates.
French, English, and Ruund (VOT), Korean (fortis), Kotiria hCh, Mangbetu, Lese, Mamvu kp, gb, qɓ, Barwe, Hendo pf, bv.
4. Nasals and nasalization phenomena: complex nasal consonants from Africa and South America.
Prenasalised in Rwanda, Ruund; NCN Karitiana, Kaingang, Guarani Nasal Harmony, Tupi languages, Mbugu voiceless nasals.
5. Trills: different types of trills; Tap/flaps: Types and differences between the two.
Mangbetu bilabial trills, R in French, syllabic r in Lendu, Slovak, Czech; Mangbetu labio-dental flaps, Kuikuro uvular tap, Retroflex consonants.
6. Fricatives: Differences according to the places of articulation and friction (sibiliants vs. non-sibiliants); whistled fricatives; lateral fricatives.
Mandarin and Namtrik retroflex fricatives, syllabic z and s in Lendu, whistled ʃ in Kamsa, lateral in Zulu and Iraqw, laryngals in Kuikuro.
7. Clicks: Types of clicks, phonetic characteristics and accompaniments.
Clicks and accompaniments in |Gui, ǃxóõ, Hadza, Sandawe.
8. Glottalized consonants: voiceless and voiced implosives; types of ejectives, short and long ejectives.
Voiceless and voiced implosives: Lendu, Mangbetu, Fulfulde, Maya Quiche, ejectives in Amaharic, Aymara and Iraqw.
9. Approximants and laterals; glottalization; secondary articulations; syllabic consonants.
j, w, ɥ in French, j̰̰̰, w̰, l̰, Cj Nasa Yuwe, Russian, Gaelic, Cw, Cɣ Shona, Rwanda, syllabic consonants of Berber and Lendu
10. Stress (different types): phonetic characteristics.
11 & 12. Tones of African languages; Tones of Asian languages; Tones in the Mixtec languages.
Basic references :
Sites web : WALS (World Atlas of Language Structures) ; IPA ;
5. HISTORICAL AND COMPARATIVE LINGUISTICS (BACHELOR 3): 12 WEEKS
This course is an introduction to historical and comparative linguistics. The general principles are exposed and discussed with concrete examples. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of sound change and its role in the comparative method. In this perspective, the hypothesis of the regularity of sound change proposed by the XIXth century neogrammarians and its resolution will be studied. Language classification methods are discussed through different examples taken from Indo-European, American, African and Austronesian languages. The contribution of genetics to the classification of languages is approached from recent data to discuss the Bantu expansion and the peopling of the American continent.
6. LABORATORY PHONOLOGY (BETWEEN THE PHYSICS OF SPEECH AND GRAMMAR): 12 WEEKS
The objective of this course is to assess how phonological theory is shaped by empirical data. It begins by briefly describing what is meant by laboratory work, outlining the theoretical framework adopted, which follows the lines of the emergent phonology hypothesis proposed by Lindblom (1986, 1990). Phonological issues related to aerodynamic principles relating the shape of the vocal tract to acoustic output, as well as auditory representation and cognition are addressed in different languages. Aspects of Kingston and Diehl's (1994) control theory are also covered in this course.
7. EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE AND SPEECH: 12 WEEKS
Many theories have been advanced to deal with the origin and evolution of language. The question of origin is speculative in all sciences whether for the origin of life, of the earth or of the universe, but in any case it is an important subject. Research on the origin and evolution of language tries to gather as much information as possible from genetic data, child development, neuroscience, paleontology, anthropology, comparative psychology, linguistic typology, historical linguistics and computer modelling, to construct as coherent a view as possible of human language and its origin. The term language designates the communication system of the human species, one of the medium of which is speech and the other manual gestures. All communication systems, and this of course includes human language, are the product of an evolution that has continued to this day. In terms of evolution, there is no abrupt discontinuity in principle between human language and animal communication. The aspects of this continuity must obviously be proven and this can only come from a comparative approach of communication between species. A body of evidence can be advanced to account for the evolution of the linguistic capacities of modern man: the evolution of the anatomy of the phonatory apparatus, the diachrony of languages, the evolution of the size of the brain and the genetic basis of language. The foundations of a serious discussion on this subject can already be found in Charles Darwin’s book 'The origin of species' (1859) where he asserted that the best possible classification of languages is to make a sort of genealogical tree of them which goes back in time by indicating the parenthood and origin of the languages that are spoken. Darwin continues and deepen this discussion of the origin of languages in his book: ‘The Descent of Man and Sexual Selection’ (1871) with particular emphasis on the gradual development of language. For Darwin, the very complex and very regular construction of languages suggests that their origin is not due to a special act of creation, they are a product of evolution. The Darwinian approach also raises some important questions. First, the question of function. How to assess language systems in terms of effects for survival and reproduction? What are they doing for the survival of the species? It is important to distinguish between evolutionary adaptation, a genetic characteristic that increases the ability of an organism in its relationship to a given environment, from physiological adaptation or acclimatization, which accounts for temporary changes in the environment of an organism. The biological approach adopted to answer questions related to the origins of language is identical to that of Tinbergen (1952) to explain animal communication systems in ethology. This perspective provides the only comprehensive explanatory approach to communication in the animal kingdom, including human language. Applying these principles to human language, four points emerge: (1) the question of function (2) the question of mechanism: how does a language work? That is, to understand the neurological, physiological and psychological mechanisms that underlie linguistic systems (3) The question of origin from an ontogenetic point of view: determining the genetic and environmental factors that guide the development of linguistic systems and (4) The question of origin from the phylogenetic point of view: how did the system come to be what it is in terms of phylogenesis?
8. MUSICAL ACOUSTICS (INTRODUCTORY COURSE): 6 WEEKS
The topics covered in this course are: the physics of sound and hearing, notes and harmony. Acoustics of string and wind instruments. Acoustics of percussion instruments and voice. Questions about hearing and timbre. Room acoustics.
Acoustics of some traditional musical instruments (Sanza, bullroarer, Indian flutes and clarinets).
9. ETHNOMUSICOLOGY: 12 WEEKS
Introduction to ethnomusicology and formal methods of musical analysis of oral tradition music from Central Africa and South America. The themes are the vocal and instrumental polyphonies of traditional music from these regions as well as the highlighting of the musical scales and timbre properties of certain musical instruments.
Musical instruments of the Congo: Systematics, acoustics and craftsmanship of traditional (Course given at the Museum of Mankind in Paris)
SUMMARY PRESENTATION OF TEACHING
Experimental phonetics: M1 and M2 Master in Language Sciences, UFR, LLD, Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, Face-to-face course, 12 weeks, 24 hours.
Physiological and acoustical phonetics: M1 and M2 Master in Language Sciences, UFR, LLD, Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, 12 weeks, 24 hours.
General phonetics (Acoustic): L2 of the license in language sciences, UFR, LLD, Paris Sorbonne nouvelle, Paris 3, 12 weeks, 24 hours.
Comparative phonetics of the world’s languages: L3 in Language Sciences, UFR, LLD, Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, 12 weeks, 24 hours.
Historical and comparative linguistics: L3 in Language Sciences, UFR, LLD, Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, 12 weeks, 24 hours.
Musical instruments from the Congo: systematics, acoustics and craftsmanship. master in anthropology.
Taught since the beginning of my career
Laboratory phonology (between the physics of speech and grammar): course given at the University of Sao Paulo between 2003 and 2007 then as part of the Levi-Strauss chair at the University of Sao Paulo, 30h, doctoral program from the linguistics department.
Evolution of language and speech: course given as part of the Levi-Strauss chair at the universities of Sao Paulo and Campinas (2012 to 2014), 30h, doctoral program of the linguistics department.
Musical acoustics (introductory course): License in musicology from the Free University of Brussels 24 hours, 12 weeks, this course was also given to speech therapists at the University of Provence between 2015 and 2018 (6 hours course).
Ethnomusicology: License in musicology from the Free University
of Brussels, 12 weeks, 24 hours. Face-to-face lessons. 20 students on average.
Language contact: L2 of the license in language sciences, UFR, LLD, Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, (2014 to 2017), face-to-face course, 12 weeks, 24 hours. TD.
World languages: L1 at Stendhal Grenoble 3 University (University of the Alps). This course was also given in extension courses at the University of Valence, (2010 to 2014), 24 hours, 12 weeks.
Introduction to linguistics: CNAM Paris, training for audio-prosthesis, 6 weeks, 12 hours (between 2014 and 2016).
General linguistics: L1 at the Free University of Brussels (until 2010) and L1 at Stendhal Grenoble 3 University (University of the Alps) (2010 to 2014), 30h.
Introduction to language sciences: 30h master's degree in speech therapy, common course at the Free University of Brussels and the Catholic University of Louvain (between 2007 and 2010).
Description and comparison of unwritten languages: 30h, L3 in linguistics at the Free University of Brussels (between 2005 and 2010), this course was also given at the University of Sao Paulo in 2005, in linguistics.
I. Research topics
1. Development of experimental methods in phonetics.
The objective is the treatment and the study of phenomena which do not yet have a satisfactory description such as the control and regulation of subglottal pressure, the relationship between subglottal pressure and fundamental frequency (f0) and the reasons for the declination about which we still cannot say whether it is controlled or automatic. This theme includes a project on breathing and its control in speech. This involves the development of a new methods and the use of new 3D accelerometers that allow non-invasive measurements of the muscles’ activity involved in respiratory control. Making an aerodynamic database allowing to study all the speech parameters synchronized with the acoustic signal and to perform digital simulations. I also develop research aimed at integrating aspects of the neurological control of the nerves involved in speech phenomena.
On this aspect of my work, I also contributed to restoring old devices, including a portable kymograph from the beginning of the 20th century.
Main collaborations : Thierry Metens (ULB Erasme), Alain Ghio (LPL Aix), Sergio Hassid (ULB Erasme), Alice Turk & D.K.Arvind (Edinburgh), Ryan Shosted (Illinois), Lise Crevier Buchman (LPP Paris 3), Jean-Paul Marie (CHU Rouen), Eleonora Albano (Unicamp), John Kingston (Amherst), Guy Cheron (ULB Erasme), Anita Cebola (ULB Erasme).
2. Development of the quantal theory in phonetics and phonology.
The extension of this theory, which integrates the production and perception of speech, is made by highlighting the relationships between certain aerodynamic parameters and their acoustic consequences on the production of sounds. I also develop aspects of the quantal theory to explain phonetic changes that are seen as changes of state. New developments in quantal theory: Thresholds in aerodynamic parameters and their consequences on the acoustic output and state changes: s̃ > θ , x̃ > h in Guarani, bilabial trills, frication, voicing threshold. Change from alveolar r to uvular R as a quantal change. Quantal states: discrete information is extracted from the continuous stream of articulatory movements and pressure/flow modulations. Speakers/listeners are sensitive to pressure and flow thresholds and their acoustic consequences. State changes to explain some phonetic changes (! >k, s>h). Development of formalism based on Boolean logic and asynchronous automata for the study of speech (René Thomas).
Main collaborations : Rosario Signorello (Apple), Ryan Shosted (Illinois), Bryan Gick (Vancouver), Hans Van de Velde (Fryske Akademy Leeuwarden), John Kingston (Amherst)3. Description of new phenomena in the phonetic and phonological systems of the languages of the world
Collaborations with Hans Van de Velde (Fryske Akademy), Alain Ghio & Yohann Ménadier (LPL Aix), Kris Stenzel (Rio de Janeiro), Moges Yigezu, (Addis Ababa), Tulio Rojas (Popayan), Esther Zendejas (Colegio Mexico), Maarten Mous (Leiden), Shigeki Kaji (Tokyo), John Kingston, Luciana Storto (Sao Paulo)4. Dynamics of phonological systems.
Collaborations with Hans Van de Velde (Fryske Akademy), Jane Stuart Smith (Glasgow), André Motingea (Kinshasa), Jean-Louis Deneubourg (ULB), François Pellegrino et Dan Dediu (Lyon)
5. Evolution of speech and language.
Collaborations with Jean-Louis Deneubourg (ULB), Sergio Hassid (ULB Ersame), Thierry Aubin (Orsay), François Pellegrino (Lyon), Alaba Lemasson & Martine Hausberger (Rennes), Philippe Schlenker (ENS), Francisco Mendes (Brazilia)
III. Main fieldwork campaigns
IV. Organisation of conferences and workshops