The Institute essentially develops its activities through collaborative research projects.
- Are based on interdisciplinarity
- Prioritise collaborative research and co-development
- Rely on partnerships with all sectors of society (industries, services, research centres, governmental institutions, etc.)
- Bring together provincial, regional, federal, European and international partners.
The Institute is active in setting up research projects, with its partners, which respond to the emerging problems linked to the Institute’s field.
Below you can find a list of some key projects, which highlight some of the issues our researchers tackle.
The language of people with neurodegenerative diseases is of major interest to both basic research (the cognitive understanding of the interactions involved) and applied research (the development of communication skills between patients and their relatives). The Institute, particularly within the GREMOTS European network, which involves 15 research teams worldwide, is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of various psychometric tools, for diagnosis and screening.
Sounds produced for communication purposes carry many elements which are irrelevant to the content of language production, but are instead related to various aspects of the speaker’s behaviour and state, and may therefore be indicators of illnesses. A Joint Research Action (ARC) project is dedicated to the development of voice-based measurement tools which provide objective information on disabled people in very diverse contexts and clinical situations. These tools have been reinvested in another ARC project, aimed at targeting vocal indicators of stress, cognitive load and fatigue in relation to variations in the biochemistry of the speaker. Aeronautics is the project’s most researched domain.
In conjunction with the long-standing work of the specialists in the field of language teaching in Mons, the Institute examines the optimal conditions for the learning and teaching of modern languages. The issue surrounding French as a Foreign Language (FLE) and French as a Second Language (FLS) is subject to scientific development with a special focus on assessment, and, more generally, an overall reflection on methodological aspects of language teaching. The cognitive modalities of acquiring new control regimes of perception and production in non-native languages are also studied in the University’s phonetics laboratory. Meanwhile, regarding application, the FRANEL project, a free e-learning platform for learning French and Dutch, has over 40,000 users so far.
In addition to questions related to the problem of translation quality control, the Institute examines the cognitive processes inherent to all aspects of translation (written, oral, real-time and delayed mediation) and in all professional forms (e.g. technical translation, literary translation and conference interpreting). The Institute also pays particular attention to ICT in various forms of technologically assisted language mediation tools (dubbing, respeaking, etc.).
The Institute is developing its expertise in the study of cultures and institutions related to languages taught at UMONS. For example, UMONS is the only institution in Belgium to specialise in Scandinavian, Euro-Mediterranean and Oriental languages, and has various specific initiatives in place for Scandinavian languages. Additionally, the American Studies Center (member of the American Studies Network – ASN) offers a research and resources area dedicated to American culture.
Researchers at the Institute have developed internationally recognised expertise in the field of speech synthesis, such as the development of the MBROLA algorithm, which is now used worldwide. They exert their efforts in developing research on synthetic speech processes that can recognise, from the perspective of a human listener, all non-linguistic characteristics of natural speech, particularly emotions. In addition, the Institute’s research is also focused on identifying significant parameters of speech pathology characteristics.
This objective of this area, designed as a community laboratory, is to capture voice signals from very young children (from birth to compulsory education). It is a peaceful and attractive recreational space and is consistent with environments which foster exchanges between children and parents (conversations, games, reading, etc.). It has many invisible sensors, which record oral and gestural behaviours, which can then be analysed in a laboratory for research primarily devoted to the developmental factors of the communicative and linguistic proficiency of children.