Beneficiary: Centre Comprendre et Parler, Belgium

The Langue en Mouvements® (LEM) « language in movement » is a dynamic language learning approach grounded in body movements and musical rhythms. Speech therapists have long been pointing out the effectiveness of LEM and have been using it for many years to help children with communication and language difficulties to develop their speech perception and their phonological abilities. However, little research has focused on the role of body movements on the acquisition of speech units, and if so, none on any theoretical explanation.  For that reason, our first study focused on the effect of an embodied training involving production of body movements in adults learning new phonological contrasts. In comparison with a no body movements group, our results showed that such embodied training involving body movements that match or not with phonetic features of second language (L2) speech units helped learners to better produce nonnative segmental contrasts at an early stage of L2 acquisition. These findings have implications for L2 pronunciation technique in clinical settings. Engaging with body movements while producing speech sounds may boosts speech production accuracy. In light of these results, a second study will focus on evaluation of the effect of body movements during different stages of L2 acquisition and on possible theoretical explanations of this effect. Additionally, the second aim of the project is to examine the most efficient guidelines for parents and practitioners to support better speech perception with body and/or social adjustments, better interactions, and dialogs with children with hearing impairment, in speech therapy or in noisy environments. 

Supervisors: Brigitte Charlier and Chantal Ligny

ESR 15: Marie-Joe Kfoury