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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

David P Birdsong

Professor Ph.D, Harvard University

Professor, Department Chair
David P Birdsong

Contact

  • Phone: 512-471-7299
  • Office: HRH 2.122
  • Office Hours: Thursdays 10-11:30 and by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: B7600

FR 180P • Intro To Studies In Lit & Cul

37015 • Fall 2014
Meets W 500pm-600pm HRH 2.112
(also listed as ITL 180P )
show description

Required of all first-year graduate students in the Department of French and Italian.  

ITL 180P • Intro To Studies In Lit & Cul

37235 • Fall 2014
Meets W 500pm-600pm HRH 2.112
(also listed as FR 180P )
show description

Required of all first-year graduate students in the Department of French and Italian.

FR 392K • Experimental Rsch In Lang Sci

37385 • Spring 2014
Meets W 300pm-600pm HRH 4.102B
(also listed as LIN 392 )
show description

FR 392K #37385 / LIN 392 #41600

Experimental Research & Design in the Language Sciences

Spring 2014

 

David Birdsong  HRH 2.114  Tel:  471-7299  e-mail:  birdsong@austin.utexas.edu

 

OVERVIEW 

This course introduces qualified graduate students to the design of experiments around linguistics-based hypotheses, the use of various statistical measures, techniques of data gathering and reporting, and proper interpretation of results.  Emphasis will be placed on studies dealing with the processing and acquisition of French, Spanish, and English.

The course provides a foundation for conducting procedurally sound empirical research in the language sciences.  As such, it is not to be conceived as adequate preparation for all future quantitative research; for this, additional experience in statistics and experimental methodology will be required.

 

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

In the language sciences, there is a rich interplay of theory and data.  Quantitative methods are critical to theory-based investigations of on-line sentence parsing, speech segmentation and perception, neurological representation of language processes, and language acquisition by infants, children, and adults, to mention just a few domains of inquiry.

            This course is designed to help students understand and evaluate this research--and to carry it out. Toward these ends, one must become familiar with the pertinent literature, as well as fundamental principles of quantitative data gathering and statistical analysis.  Accordingly, the course aims to enhance students' abilities in three equally important domains:

 

(1) LINGUISTIC:  Ability to understand theoretical and descriptive accounts of the language in which people perform. Knowledge of language and linguistics is thus at the heart of the course, and is what distinguishes it from other experimental design and statistics courses on this campus. Since we will also be looking at acquisition and processing, familiarity with these areas is essential as well.  Simply put, an experimental study can’t be designed and executed without knowledge of the domain of research.

            Your progress in this area is measured in part by performance on projects (see handouts), particularly in terms of:  (a) thoroughness and accuracy in reporting relevant research in the literature review; (b) generation of testable and well-motivated hypotheses; (c) reasonable interpretation of results vis à vis the hypotheses; (d) insightful discussion of results and thoughtful suggestions for future study. 

 

(2) STATISTICAL:  Ability to work comfortably with basic statistical procedures (e.g. t-tests, ANOVAs, correlations) and familiarity with other procedures (e.g. multiple regression, ANCOVA).  Our two texts (see below) are good introductions to statistical methods and considerations of experimental design. They are relatively light on the pure mathematics of statistics and relatively heavy on execution of statistical analyses using software packages (Excel and SPSS).

           

(3) CONCEPTUAL/METHODOLOGICAL:  Ability to think like an experimental researcher.  This involves:  (a) cautious attribution of causality in linguistic behavior; (b) designing projects that do not ignore latent or intervening variables; (c) sensitivity to construct validity and ecological validity; (d) prudent interpretation of data with respect to stated hypotheses; (e) avoiding pitfalls of various kinds.  One must continually ask oneself "What is good evidence?"  The answer to this question depends as much on understanding the targeted behavioral / brain-based phenomena and linguistic issues as it does on statistics and experimental design. 

           

 

Your progress in (2) and (3) is measured mainly by performance on quizzes, homework, and a final exam.  (See components of the final grade, below.)

 

To contextualize and exemplify these three domains, we will closely examine several noteworthy studies.  One set of studies we’ll read deals with the processing of Romance languages, another with age-related differences in second language (L2) acquisition.  In addition, the Larson-Hall text (see below) features summaries of and raw data from a variety of L2 studies.

 

 

REQUIRED TEXTS (tentative as of 10/10/2013)

 

Larson-Hall, J. (2009).  A Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS. New York: Routledge.

Salkind, N. J. (2009). Statistics for People Who (think they) Hate Statistics, 2nd edition, Excel 2007 edition.  Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

 

 

COMPONENTS OF THE FINAL GRADE (tentative as of 10/10/2013)

                                   

Quizzes (3 X 10%)                    30%

                                    Homework                                10%

                                    Project                                     30%

                                    Presentation of project               5%

                                    Final exam                                25%

 

 

• Quizzes will be announced in advance, and cover the readings and classroom discussion.  At least one of the quizzes will require work on the computers in the classroom, using a statistical software package (SPSS, Excel).

 

Homework may include exercises in the texts, mini-critiques of experimental studies (in addition to those already indicated on the syllabus), outlines of experimental designs and anticipated results, etc.

 

• Students have two options for the final project.  The first is an exercise wherein students will create raw data.  You will be asked to motivate the experiment with reference to the relevant literature, state hypotheses, outline the experimental procedure(s), concoct all the raw data, statistically analyze these data, and interpret the results.   No actual subjects will be run. Another possibility for the final project involves use of actual data that you have or will have collected.  All projects must be proposed to and approved by the instructor, and all will be presented in class.  Please see accompanying handout for details. 

 

• The final exam is comprehensive.  Details of format and content are given on a handout. There will be review materials, practice questions, and a review session.

FR 324L • Practical Phonetics

37110 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am HRH 4.102B
show description

FR 324L  -  PRACTICAL PHONETICS               

Fall 2013  Unique #37110
TTH 9:30am - 11:00am HRH 4.102B                    

 

David Birdsong
Office hours:  HRH 2.114B Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30, and by appointment
Telephone:  471-7299  email:  birdsong@austin.utexas.edu

 

Required materials: 

(1) TEXT: D. Dansereau, Savoir Dire2nd Edition.  Available at the Co-Op. 

(2) Red course packet “CAHIER ROUGE”(CR) available at Paradigm, 2116 Guadalupe, inside Austin Text Books.  (472-7986)

 

Overview.  This introduction to French phonetics provides upper-division students with a practical and analytic understanding of French sounds in isolation and in context.  The basics of descriptive phonetics and phonetic transcription are taught.  Audio exercises emphasize individual sounds such as nasal vowels and the [u]-[y] contrast, as well as prosodic features (intonation, syllabification, liaison, etc.).  The class is conducted in French.  Written materials are in French as well.  An ability to read, speak, write, and understand French at an advanced level is assumed.  Pre-requisite: upper division standing in French.  Recommended: FR 320E / FR 322E.

 

Organization of the course.  There are two basic components of the course:

Descriptive linguistics.  Required materials and lectures provide detailed analyses of features of spoken French, e.g., la liaison, l’enchaînement, la ‘loi de position’, ‘e-caduc’, etc.

Practice in pronunciation and discrimination.  Applying your knowledge of linguistic description and phonetic transcription, you sharpen your pronunciation and auditory discrimination of French sounds.  In this process, the textbook exercises and audio program are essential.  Selected audio exercises will be reviewed in class; however, it is your responsibility to practice them outside of class on a consistent basis.

 

Improvement.  Five percent of the final grade will reflect your personal pronunciation improvement over the course of the semester.  Improvement will be measured by comparing your pronunciation on the First Diagnostic Exercise (see first-day handout) at the beginning of the term with your reading of this and related material at the end of the term.  The related material includes the Texte Diagnostique (excerpts from Valéry; see first-day handout).  

 

Grading.  Plus/minus letter grades will be given. The final course grade will be determined as follows:

 

               Homework, preparedness, participation, quizzes                                               10%

               Exam 1 Chs. 1-2 in text; CR p. 1; 6-18; 80                                                    20%

               Exam 2 Chs. 3-4 in text; CR pp. 19-37                                                         20%

               Exam 3 Chs. 5-6 in text; CR pp. 38-45; 58-62                                               20%

               Exam 4 (written part) Ch. 7 in text; CR pp. 46-57; 93-94                             15%

               Exam 4 (oral parts)      Ch. 7 in text; CR p. 92                                             5%

Comprehensive: All text chapters + CR; CR p. 92;         5%

            first day handouts

Comparison beginning vs. end of term; CR p. 92;          5%                                                     first day handouts                       

              

• Since the chapters in the Savoir Dire text build upon each other, all exams after the first are to some degree cumulative.  All exams will have a written component, and an oral production component; exams 1-3 will have comprehension – discrimination  - dictation components. The written and oral production components of Exam 4 are spread over several days; see dates on syllabus.  There is no final exam.

 

• For every unexcused absence after the third, 3 points will be deducted from your final course grade, up to a maximum of 15 points.

 

• To access the audio program for the Savoir Dire text, go to LAITS Audio Catalog www.laits.utexas.edu/itsaud; scroll down to fr-2-94 Savoir Dire, second edition. If you receive a prompt for a password, type in dansereau or danserau. To match the numbered audio exercises (séquences) with pages/exercises in the text, consult the correspondence key at the back of the CR, pp. 96-110.

FR 392K • Experimental Rsch In Lang Sci

36770 • Spring 2012
Meets T 330pm-630pm MEZ 2.120
(also listed as LIN 392 )
show description

FR 392K

Experimental Research & Design in the Language Sciences

Spring 2012

 

David Birdsong  HRH 3.112B  Tel:  471-7299  e-mail:  birdsong@austin.utexas.edu

 

 

OVERVIEW 

This course introduces qualified graduate students to the design of experiments around linguistics-based hypotheses, the use and manipulation of various statistical measures, techniques of data gathering and reporting, and proper interpretation of results.  Emphasis will be placed on studies dealing with the processing and acquisition of Romance languages and English.

The course provides a foundation for conducting procedurally sound empirical research in the language sciences.  As such, it is not to be conceived as adequate preparation for all future quantitative research; for this, additional experience in statistics and experimental methodology will be required.

 

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

In the language sciences, there is a rich interplay of theory and data.  Quantitative methods are critical to theory-based investigations of on-line sentence parsing, speech segmentation and perception, neurological representation of language processes, and language acquisition by infants, children, and adults, to mention just a few domains of inquiry.

            This course is designed to help students understand and evaluate this research--and to carry it out. To achieve these ends, one must become familiar with the pertinent literature, as well as fundamental principles of quantitative data gathering and statistical analysis.  Accordingly, the course aims to enhance students' abilities in three equally important domains:

 

(1) LINGUISTIC:  Ability to understand theoretical and descriptive accounts of the language in which people perform. Knowledge of language and linguistics is thus at the heart of the course, and is what distinguishes it from other experimental design and statistics courses on this campus. If acquisition and/or processing are involved in the study, familiarity with these areas is essential as well.  To put it simply, a project can’t be designed and executed without knowledge of the domain of research.

            Your progress in this area is measured in part by performance on projects (see handouts), particularly in terms of:  (a) thoroughness and accuracy in reporting the relevant linguistic issues in the literature review; (b) generation of testable hypotheses, derived from understanding the linguistic questions; (c) reasonable interpretation of results vis à vis the hypotheses; (d) insightful discussion of results and thoughtful suggestions for future study. 

 

(2) STATISTICAL:  Ability to work comfortably with basic statistical procedures (e.g. t-tests, ANOVAs, correlations) and familiarity with other procedures (e.g. multiple regression, ANCOVA).  Our two texts (see below) are good introductions to statistical methods and considerations of experimental design. They are relatively light on the pure mathematics of statistics and relatively heavy on execution of statistical analyses using software packages (Excel and SPSS).

 

(3) CONCEPTUAL/METHODOLOGICAL:  Ability to think like an experimental researcher.  This involves:  (a) cautious attribution of causality in linguistic behavior; (b) designing projects that do not ignore latent or intervening variables; (c) sensitivity to construct validity and ecological validity; (d) prudent interpretation of data with respect to stated hypotheses; (e) avoiding pitfalls of various kinds.  One must continually ask oneself "What is good evidence?"  The answer to this question depends as much on understanding the targeted behavioral / brain-based phenomena and linguistic issues as it does on statistics and experimental design. 

 

 

Your progress in (2) and (3) is measured mainly by performance on quizzes, homework, and a final exam.  (See components of the final grade, below.)

 

To contextualize and exemplify these three domains, we will examine closely and critically several noteworthy studies.  One set of studies we’ll read deals with the processing of Romance languages, another with age-related differences in second language (L2) acquisition.  In addition, the Larson-Hall text (see below) features summaries of and raw data from a variety of L2 studies.

 

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

 

Larson-Hall, J. (2009).  A Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS. New York: Routledge.

Salkind, N. J. (2009). Statistics for People Who (think they) Hate Statistics, 2nd edition, Excel 2007 edition.  Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

 

 

COMPONENTS OF THE FINAL GRADE

 

Quizzes (3 X 10%)                    30%

                                    Homework                                10%

                                    Project                                     30%

                                    Presentation of project             10%

                                    Final exam                                20%

 

 

• Quizzes cover the readings and classroom discussion.  At least one of the quizzes will require work on the computers in the classroom, using a statistical software package (SPSS, Excel).

 

Homework may include exercises in the texts, mini-critiques of experimental studies (in addition to those already indicated on the syllabus), outlines of experimental designs and anticipated results, etc.

 

• The project is an exercise wherein students will create raw data.  You will be asked to motivate the experiment with reference to the relevant literature, state hypotheses, outline the experimental procedure(s), concoct all the raw data, statistically analyze these data, and interpret the results.   No actual subjects will be run.  Your projects will be presented in class using Power Point.  Please see accompanying handout for details.

 

• The final exam is comprehensive.  Details of format and content are given on a handout. There will be review materials, practice questions, and a review session.  The exam will be administered during the period assigned by the registrar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FR 392K • Tpcs In Second Lang Acquisitn

36970 • Spring 2011
Meets W 430pm-730pm HRH 4.102B
(also listed as LIN 392 )
show description

Coming soon.

FR 324L • Practical Phonetics

36425 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm HRH 4.102B
show description

Prerequisites 

FR 612, 312L, 312M, 312N, or the equivalent.

Course Description

This introductory course in French phonetics provides third-year students with an understanding of French sounds in isolation and in context. The basics of descriptive phonetics and phonetic notation are taught. Audio exercises will emphasize individual sounds such as nasal vowels, the /u/-/y/ constrast, the French /r/'s, etc., as well as prosodic features (intonation, syllabification, liaison, poetic recitation, etc.). The class is conducted in French.

Organization of the course:
There are two basic components of the course:
Descriptive linguistics. The text offers linguistic descriptions of the phenomena you will be studying, e.g., liaison, e muet, nasalisation, enchaînement, etc.

Practice in pronunciation and discrimination. With the background of linguistic description, you proceed to sharpen your pronunciation and auditory discrimination of French sounds.

Grading Policy

Homework, attendance, preparedness, participation, quizzes 10% 

Exam 1 (Chs. 1-2) 20%

Exam 2 (Chs. 3-4) 20%

Exam 3 (Chs. 5-6) 20%

Exam 4 (Ch. 7) 30%

*Since the chapters in the textbook build upon each other, all exams after the first one are to some degree cumulative.
*All exams will have an oral component. Some will have a comprehension/disrimination or diction component.

Texts

D. Dansereau, Savoir Dire + CD. Heath, 2nd edition, 1990.

Packet of handouts, available at Paradigm, 402 W. 24th St. (472-7986)

FR 324L • Practical Phonetics

36430 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm HRH 4.102B
show description

Prerequisites 

FR 612, 312L, 312M, 312N, or the equivalent.

Course Description

This introductory course in French phonetics provides third-year students with an understanding of French sounds in isolation and in context. The basics of descriptive phonetics and phonetic notation are taught. Audio exercises will emphasize individual sounds such as nasal vowels, the /u/-/y/ constrast, the French /r/'s, etc., as well as prosodic features (intonation, syllabification, liaison, poetic recitation, etc.). The class is conducted in French.

Organization of the course:
There are two basic components of the course:
Descriptive linguistics. The text offers linguistic descriptions of the phenomena you will be studying, e.g., liaison, e muet, nasalisation, enchaînement, etc.

Practice in pronunciation and discrimination. With the background of linguistic description, you proceed to sharpen your pronunciation and auditory discrimination of French sounds.

Grading Policy

Homework, attendance, preparedness, participation, quizzes 10% 

Exam 1 (Chs. 1-2) 20%

Exam 2 (Chs. 3-4) 20%

Exam 3 (Chs. 5-6) 20%

Exam 4 (Ch. 7) 30%

*Since the chapters in the textbook build upon each other, all exams after the first one are to some degree cumulative.
*All exams will have an oral component. Some will have a comprehension/disrimination or diction component.

Texts

D. Dansereau, Savoir Dire + CD. Heath, 2nd edition, 1990.

Packet of handouts, available at Paradigm, 402 W. 24th St. (472-7986)

FR 324L • Practical Phonetics

36955 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 930-1100 HRH 4.102B
show description

Attachment

Publications

 

List of all publications:

Google Scholar

Recent Publications 

Dominance and Age in Bilingualism
D. Birdsong
Applied Linguistics 

    

2014

 

Processing focus structure in L1 and L2 French: L2 proficiency effects on ERPs
R. Reichle, D. Birdsong
Studies in Second Language Acquisition

 

 

2014

In faint praise of folly: A critical review of native/non-native speaker comparisons, with examples from native and bilingual processing of french complex syntax
D. Birdsong, L. Gertken
Language, Interaction and Acquisition, 4:2

 

 

2013

The Critical Period Hypothesis for second language acquisition: Tailoring the coat of many colors
D. Birdsong
Essential topics in applied linguistics and multilingualism, 43-50

 

 

2013

Three perspectives on non-uniform linguistic attainment
D. Birdsong
Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 2 (3), 255-259

 

 

2012

Selected Earlier Publications

 

Uninterpretable features: Psychology and plasticity in second language learnability
D. Birdsong
Second Language Research 25 (2), 235-243

 

 

2009

Age and the end state of second language acquisition
D. Birdsong
The new handbook of second language acquisition. Amsterdam: Elsevier

 

 

2009

Age and second language acquisition and processing: A selective overview
D. Birdsong
Language Learning 56 (s1), 9-49

 

 

2006

On the evidence for maturational constraints in second-language acquisition
D. Birdsong, M. Molis
Journal of memory and language 44 (2), 235-249

 

 

2001

Regular-irregular dissociations in L2 acquisition of English morphology
D. Birdsong, J.E. Flege
BUCLD 25: Proceedings of the 25th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development

 

 

2001

Introduction: Whys and why nots of the Critical Period Hypothesis for second language acquisition
D. Birdsong
Second language acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis, 1-22

 

 

1999, 2013 (paperback)

Ultimate attainment in second language acquisition
D. Birdsong
Language 68 (4), 706-755

 

 

1992

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