The faculty of language laid bare

What are the properties that allow interaction between different cognitive systems, like the faculty of language, the sensorimotor system and the conceptual-intentional system? This is the main question that the Équipe de recherche sur les asymétries d'interface des langues naturelles (Natural Language Interface Asymmetry Research Team), directed by Anne-Marie Di Sciullo from Université du Québec à Montréal, is attempting to answer. To do this, the research team is concentrating its efforts on fundamental linguistics, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics and computational linguistics. The team is composed of researchers from several Quebec universities and other reputed institutions including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University.

The researchers' work has led to the validation of the hypothesis that the interface relations allowing communication between linguistic expression and performance systems are asymmetric (unidirectional). These results have been published in the book Asymmetry in Morphology and in a compilation of papers on language, the brain and computation entitled UG and External Systems. In addition, Anne-Marie Di Sciullo has won a World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics award for the best paper on Human Information Systems.

The team has also developed a search engine based on the recognition of linguistic connections rather than keywords, the result of a collaboration between Université du Québec à Montréal and Delphes Technologies International. This research engine has received numerous prizes for the quality of its performance, including the Office québécois de la langue française Technological Innovation Prize in 2000. It has been used by several businesses and by the Quebec government's Centre d'accès à l'information juridique for the processing of legal information. The group's research has also led to the creation of the Federation on Natural Language Processing. See also :


Équipe de recherche sur les asymétries d'interface des langues naturelles


Anne-Marie Di Sciullo, Université du Québec à Montréal

Regular members

  • Louis Bherer, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Roberto De Almeida, Université Concordia 
  • Manuel Espanol-Echevarria, Université Laval 
  • Daniela Isac, Université Concordia 
  • Ghislain Lévesque, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Roger Nkambou, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Rushen Shi, Université du Québec à Montréal 
  • Petko Valtchev, Université du Québec à Montréal