Dr Tamara Rathcke, Lecturer in Linguistics in the Department of English Language & Linguistics, has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant as Primary Investigator for a study entitled ‘Does Language Have Groove? Sensorimotor Synchronisation for the Study of Linguistic Rhythm’.
The study will ask ‘is language rhythmic?’ For decades, linguists have been controversially debating this seemingly simple but profoundly important question that connects language with other aspects of human cognition. The present project is an original study of language rhythm from a cross-linguistic, typological perspective.
The project’s innovative methodological approach capitalises on the recent advances made by music psychology and movement sciences in the understanding of rhythm through studying perception-action coupling in sensorimotor synchronisation tasks. The results will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying rhythmic experience in language and a more elaborate linguistic concept of rhythm, ultimately helping to resolve the long-standing controversy. This research is expected to be of great interest to an interdisciplinary community of linguists, musicologists, psychologists, clinicians and computing scientists, and to fuel new energy in this research field.
Dr Rathcke will be undertaking the project with co-investigators Dr Simone Falk (University of Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Professor Simone Dalla Bella (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research).