Leif French, Ph.D.

Dr. Leif French is Department Chair and Professor of Applied Linguistics and French.  He completed his graduate studies at Université Laval in Quebec City, where he earned his MA in French Linguistics (Dialectology) and PhD in linguistics, specializing in psycholinguistics and second language acquisition. Prior to joining the faculty at SHSU in 2015, he held faculty appointments at Concordia University (Montreal) and the Université du Québec (Saguenay)  where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in applied linguistics, supervised MA and PhD theses and trained language teachers for the public and private sectors.  He also served as Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies in Linguistics and Language Teaching at the Université du Québec and was also head of the International Dual Degree Program in Modern Languages with Universidad EAN in Bogota, Colombia. 

He has been awarded numerous internal and external research grants over the years, involving collaborators from Canada, the US, Argentina and Colombia. His work, which focuses mainly on the cognitive aspects of second language acquisition, language awareness, and teacher training,  has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed venues  and also presented at refereed conferences throughout the US, Canada, Europe and South America.  He is currently involved in a variety of national and international research collaborations examining the development of French oral fluency in study abroad and instructed-learning contexts, the explicit teaching of French sociolinguistic variants in the classroom, linguistic barriers in bilingual healthcare (French and Spanish) and the effects of intensive language instruction.

Outside his duties as Chair, Dr. French directs SHSU’s Quebec Study Abroad in Saguenay, Quebec, is active in numerous professional organizations (e.g., AAAL, ACTFL, ACLA), serves as the Book Review Editor for the Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics and holds adjunct research appointments at the Université du Québec and Université Laval where he supervises graduate research in applied linguistics. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoorsman, and one can often find him spending much of his free time hiking and fishing the rivers of Idaho and Quebec, shooting sporting clays in Huntsville, or simply relaxing outside reading some nerdy book on language and enjoying a great glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Current Research Interests

  • Second language acquisition and individual differences
  • Quantitative research methods; survey and classroom-based research
  • Learning contexts – formal and intensive classroom instruction, short-term study abroad, immersion
  • Quebec French dialectology – phonetic and grammatical differences between Québec and European French norm
  • Linguistic barriers in healthcare (French- and Spanish-speaking populations)
  • Language teachers’ perceptions of profession / work conditions
  • Foreign-language teacher pedagogy and training

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Simard, D., French, L.M., & Zuniga, M. (accepted). Evolution of L2 self-repair behavior in narration among adult learners of French. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics.

Beaulieu, S., French, L.M., & Gagnon, S. (accepted).  I’ veulent-tu parler comme nous-autres? Opinions d’apprenants sur la forme interrogative totale en français laurentien. Arboresences.

French, L.M., & Lapointe, S. (2016). Creating and exploring spoken corpora of health communication for second-language training purposes. In L. Pickering, E. Frigina, & S. Staples (Eds.) Talking at Work: Corpus-based Explorations of Workplace Discourse. Palgrave Macmillan Publishing.

Hummel, K., & French, L.M. (2016). Phonological memory and aptitude components: Contributions to second language proficiency. Learning and Individual Differences, 51, 249-255.

French, L.M., & Beaulieu, S. (2016). Effects of sociolinguistic awareness on French L2 learners’ planned and unplanned oral production of stylistic variation. Language Awareness, 25, 55-71.

French, L.M., & Collins, L. (2014). FSL and ESL teachers’ perspectives of their professions: comparative overview of two national survey projects. Ottawa: Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (ISBN: 978‑0‑921238‑86‑7).

Fortier, V., Simard, D., & French, L.M. (2012). L’utilisation d’une mesure de la mémoire phonologique auprès d’une population d’enfants linguistiquement hétérogène. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 68(3), 291-315.

French, L.M., & O’Brien, I. (2008). Phonological memory and children’s L2 grammar learning. Applied Psycholinguistics, 29, 463-487.

Selected Refereed Conferences

Lapointe, S., French, L., & Beaulieu, S. (2016, September). Subordination: Exploring how L1 and L2 speakers talk around difficult topics.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of Second Language Research Forum (SLRF). New York, NY.

Beaulieu, S., French, L.M., & Gagnon, S. (2016, May). I’ veulent-tu parler comme nous-autres? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association Canadienne de Linguistique Appliquée (ACLA). Calgary: AB.

French, L.M. (2016, May). English and French Learners’ Fluency, Comprehensibility and Accentedness at EAN. Paper presented at Annual Language Week, EAN Universidad. Bogota, Colombia.

Lapointe, S., Beaulieu, S. & French, L.M. (2016, April). Exploring the grammatical complexity of L1 and L2 nurses' spoken discourse. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL). Orlando, FL.

French, L.M. (2016, March). Heritage French learners: pedagogical implications for the adult L2 French classroom. Paper presented at the annual meeting of Global Education Beyond Place. Woodlands, TX.

French, L.M., Segalowitz, N., & Guay, J.D. (2015, March). The beneficial impact of short-term study abroad: French learners’ improvement in fluency, comprehensibility and accentedness. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL), Toronto, Ontario.

Gagné, N., French, L.M., & Guay, J.D. (2015, March).  Au-delà de la mesure temporelle : la pause comme indicateur du développement de l’aisance à l’oral en L2. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL), Toronto, Ontario.

Lapointe, S. & French, L. M. (2015, March) Verbally communicating empathy/sympathy in English: Exploring the similarities and differences between L1 and L2 nurses from Quebec. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of American Association for Applied Linguistics, Toronto, Canada.

French, L.M., Collins, L., & Gagné, N. (2014, December). What are the long – term benefits of an intensive English experience? Paper presented at the annual SPEAQ meeting (Society for the Promotion of ESL Teaching in Quebec), Quebec City, Quebec.

Recent External Grant Awards

Universidad EAN, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales, Bogota, Colombia – US $3500 Evaluating the development of second language oral proficiency: Creation of an oral assessment tool for students in Lenguas Modernas (with Hector Dimas), 2015-2016.

McGill Training and Retention of Health Professionals Project (TRHP) CAN $20,000 Creating Linguistic Corpora for Second Language (L2) Training of Health Professional: Phase II (with Suzie Beaulieu), 2015-2016.

McGill Training and Retention of Health Professionals Project (TRHP) CAN $20,000 Creating Linguistic Corpora for Second Language (L2) Training of Health Professional: Phase I, 2014-2015.

Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP)/Centre d'études sur l'apprentissage et la performance (CEAP). Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC). $1,723,450 (CAN). Volet regroupements stratégiques (with Abrami, P., Venkatesh, V., Waddington, D., and the members of the CSLP (2014-2020).

Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) CAN $152,052 Individual differences and second language fluency development in adult immersion programs (with Norman Segalowitz and Elizabeth Gatbonton), 2013-2016.

Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT / ACPLS) CAN $8,875 The Professional Challenges of Second Language (English and French Teachers) in Canada, 2013.

McGill Training and Retention of Health Professionals Project (TRHP) CAN $24,000 Creating Web-Based Linguistic Corpora for Second Language (L2) Training of Health Professionals (with Elizabeth Gatbonton), 2013 – 2014.

Courses regularly taught at SHSU

FREN 1411: Elementary French 1

FREN 1412: Elementary French 2

FREN 2311: Intermediate French 1

FREN 2312: Intermediate French 2

FREN 3367: Phonetics and Conversation

FREN 4364: Conversation and Composition

WOLC 4363: How Languages Are Learned