ISCA Distinguished Lecturer Tour I: Chile, 20-26 September 2016



My first tour under the ISCA Distinguished Lecturer programme was in Chile where I visited and gave talks at the University of Santiago and the University of Concepción in September 2016.





  1. University of Santiago (USACH), 21 September 2016



Valerie Hazan, visiting the University of Santiago de Chile (USACH)



My visit to the University of Santiago was coordinated by Professor Miguel Farías under the auspices of the Department of Literature and Linguistics. The University generously covered accommodation costs in Santiago and widely publicised my lecture. My talk on ‘Speech Communication in bilinguals and second language learners’ was presented to an audience of around 50 students and staff from USACH and from surrounding universities in Santiago. At the start of the talk, I included an introduction to ISCA stressing the existence of the ISCA SIG for Iberian Languages. The talk was well received with questions from both students and staff. I then visited the university and discussed mutual research interests over lunch with Professor Farías, Professor Roxana Orrego, head of the Department of Linguistics and Literature, and with one of their recent graduates. They discussed how keen they were to expand their research and to establish further links with our Department at UCL and participate in joint research projects on second language perception and production. I also had a brief discussion with a PhD student working on lexical stress in L2, with plans to follow up discussions by email.




Lecture given at USACH







Valerie Hazan with Professor Roxana Orrego, head of Department, and Professor Miguel Farías, who hosted the visit.






2. University of Concepción (UDEC), 22-23 September 2016



Entrance of the University of Concepción





I flew from Santiago to Concepción to spend two days at the University with local arrangements sponsored by the Faculty of Humanities and Arts (Department of Foreign Languages, Department of Spanish) and the Faculty of Education, who generously covered hotel costs for five nights, all meals including a group dinner with 10 staff members and the internal flight from Santiago. The visit was primarily hosted by Dr Yasna Pereira from the Department of Foreign Languages. My presence in Concepción had been widely advertised and my first talk on ‘Speech communication in bilinguals and second language learners’, a slightly extended version of the talk given in Santiago, was presented to an audience of over 200 staff and students, with many alumni present as well as students and staff from neighbouring universities. Again, I started this and the following talk with an introduction to ISCA and to the Iberian Languages SIG. The talk, which was videoed and publicised with articles in the University and Faculty websites, was also well received and led to a lively discussion.  On the first day of my visit, I also had discussions with Prof. Marcella Cabrera, head of the Department of Foreign Languages and a research meeting with Dr Pereira to discuss joint research interests.




An article about the visit appeared on the front page of the University’s website on the day following the first talk.






Talk on Speech perception and production in bilinguals and second language learners given to an audience of over 200 students and staff.




On the second day of my visit, I participated in a meeting of a research group that recently received funding for a project on L2 attrition in speech perception and production and we discussed issues of experimental design. We also discussed the possibility of involving UCL students in the study as native raters for the speech production materials to be recorded as part of this study. I also gave my second talk, on ‘Speech perception and production across the lifespan’ in the Department of Spanish. This Department has a larger core of PhD students and houses the phonetics laboratory and psycholinguistics group of the university and the talk was focused more towards this audience, with an attendance of around 35-40 staff and students, and again some external visitors. This was followed by drinks with staff and with some students from the Department where we very usefully discussed scholarship opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral research at European universities.



Valerie Hazan with Dr Yasna Pereira, from the Department of Foreign Languages, who hosted the visit.




Over the weekend, Dr Pereira and her colleagues showed me some of the many highlights of the region and were again very generous of their time. It was a wonderful opportunity to see more of this beautiful country and to have further opportunities to chat about research of mutual interest.



Visiting the coastal region around Concepción with Dr Yasna Pereira, Professor Marcela Cabrera, head of the Department of Foreign Languages, and colleagues.




Overall, this was a fascinating visit. My hosts in both Santiago and Concepción gave so generously of their time to organise the talks and ensure they were widely advertised; they were also very generous in financially supporting the local arrangements for my stay. My sense, from discussions with many staff, was of an academic system in flux where graduate students, who had traditionally stayed close to home, are increasingly eager to go and study abroad for their Masters and PhDs, and coming back to Chile keen to maintain a high level of research activity. Universities are keen also to recruit these returnees, to generally increase the level of research activity of their staff and to encourage collaborations with universities abroad.

And finally….apart from work, this visit enabled me to indulge my adventurous streak by horseriding  in the Andes near Santiago.