Dr Damien Gaucher
Lecturer in French (E&S)
I do research in variationist sociolinguistics (see publications and research interests), have submitted and passed my PhD on the variation of Past Participle Agreement in Spoken French.
I am also a teacher of French Language, and have gained qualifications in Language Teaching Methodology. More particularly, I have specialized in the production of online material and activities (ELE).
I was recently awarded the Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
My main research interest lies in the domain of syntactic variation, one particular area of variationist sociolinguistics. In my thesis, I examined Past Participle Agreement as a sociolinguistic variable, in the context of spontaneous spoken French. The study was based upon two major types of analysis :
1 - a corpus-based variationist study of the production of agreement, mainly inspired by the various works in corpus linguistics.
2 - an investigation of listeners’ perception of this variable, notably with the use of a Matched Guise Test.
I am particularly interested in the various methodological and technical aspects available to collect, analyse and present data, be it under the form of transcribed spoken language (with e.g. the use of a concordancer) or of raw figures emerging from the use of forms, and to be analysed with statistical tools such as R-Brul.
More broadly, I am particularly interested in many fields of linguistic research, including the following:
- the relation to norm in French linguistics
- diachronic linguistics and sociolinguistics
- first and second language acquisition
As far as language teaching is concerned, I also find a strong interest in the following topics:
- learning pedagogy and syllabus development
- application of learning styles to syllabus development
- online learning psychology
2016: Comprendre la Zone Postverbale: le cas de l’accord du Participe Passé. Colloque AFLS (Association of French Language Studies). Queen’s University Belfast, 20-22 June.
2015: Analyse de la variation diaphasique dans le contexte du débat informel. Colloque AFLS (Association of French Language Studies). University of Caen, France, 25-27 June.
2014: Invited Keynote Speaker : «Accord et variation en français parlé : le cas du participe passé». Colloque Les relations d’accord dans la syntaxe du français, Université de Fribourg (Switzerland), 25-26 September.
2014: «Normes et variations de l'Accord du Participe Passé dans les constructions pronominales». Colloque AFLS (Association of French Language Studies), University of Kent, 25-27 June.
2013: «Des conséquences de l’exclusion : hypercorrections de l’accord du participe passé à l’oral». Conference Si j’aurais su, J’aurais pas venu ! Linguistique des formes exclues : descriptions, genres, épistémologie. Université Libre de Bruxelles, 19-23 June.
2013: «Perceptions et réactions devant l’accord du participe passé». Colloque AFLS (Association of French Language Studies). Université de Perpignan, 6-8 June.
2013: «Attitudes to past participle agreement in French». Conference I-Mean@UWE (international conference on pragmatics and sociolinguistics). University of the West of England, Bristol, 18-20 April.
2012: «L’influence de la sémantique des temps verbaux sur l’accord du participe passé». Conference Le complexe du verbe. IUFM of Lyon, 30-31 May.
2011: «L’accord du participe passé à l’oral comme variable sociolinguistique». Conference Le participe passé entre accords et désaccords. University of Opole, 16-17 June.
External impact and engagement
In 2015-2016 I worked as Routes into Languages coordinator for the University of Exeter, organising activities and events to foster Higher Education take up in local schools (Devon and Cornwall area).
- Main role : to coordinate Language ambassadors (university students) activitie, such as presentations, translation workshops, pupil mentoring, and university visits.
- Other coordination duties involve budgeting, publicity, and communication with different school representatives.
I have been a teacher of French language since 2007, when I started as a teaching assistant at Glasgow University. My prior experience of language teaching had been with English language, in France and in Germany, where I was accredited the CELTA degree.
Since 2007 I have been committed to providing an excellent learning experience to students, notably by working on the following matters:
- curriculum development - finding and adapting material and resources to help students develop their advanced language skills and their ability to analyse documents.
- e-learning development and reinforcement - more specifically, development of online exercices and tests, with a particular emphasis on the quality of online proactive feedback.
- development of teaching practices - finding the most appropriate ways to lead the students towards effective and personal learning.
The sociolinguistic approach is paramount to the content covered in the language classes. Distinctions between spoken and written features of French language, but also between the formal and informal sub-varieties of these two domains constitute one of the recurrent elements of my teaching practice.