ARC grant for CSU-York University neuro-linguistic research

19 DECEMBER 2006

Charles Sturt University (CSU) research that could assist children with reading difficulties, the learning of second languages and brain-injured patients recently received Australian Government funding.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) research that could assist children with reading difficulties, the learning of second languages and brain-injured patients recently received Australian Government funding.

Grant recipient and psychology researcher Dr Joanne Arciuli said, “I am excited to receive the grant. I’ll be collaborating with York University in the UK and this project will maintain Australia's competitive edge in cognitive science.”
 
Dr Arciuli, from CSU’s School of Social Sciences and Liberal Studies, explains that in some languages such as English, stress patterns in words do not follow set rules. Examples of variable emphasis could include words such as “ZEbra” where the stress is on the first syllable, and “girAFFE” where the stress falls on the second.
 
The research will “provide a more precise understanding of children’s growing awareness of stress patterns across different words and therefore assist educators and clinicians working with children with developmental delays”.
 
The study will examine large databases of words in four languages - English, Italian, Dutch and German - to uncover hidden cues in spelling patterns which could explain how children learn stress correctly. In all these languages assigning the correct stress to a word is essential in understanding them.
 
“It will also lead to improved speech synthesis which is the artificial production of human speech. It is used in on-board navigation systems, phone banking, and some educational entertainment and computer games.
 
“More importantly, our research could also lead to improved speech-to-text dictation systems for those with limited mobility, and text-to-speech systems for those unable to speak,” Dr Arciuli said.
 
The funding is being allocated under the Social Sciences Collaboration—an initiative of the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The ARC grant is $112 000 in 2007 and 2008 and was made through the ARC’s ”Linkage International” program.

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