Denis Foucambert
Professeur.e des universités, directeur.rice de recherche ou assimilé
UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal
foucambert.denis [at]

Adresse Professionnelle
UQAM \ Département de Linguistique
320, rue Sainte-Catherine Est
Pavillon J.-A. De Sève
H2X 1L7 Montréal
Sur le web

  •  Linguistique
  •  psycholinguistique
  •  Sciences de l'éducation

  • Thématiques de recherche

    1) Processus de lecture

    • syntaxe et lecture
    • perception et lecture

    2) Processus d'écriture

    • Génétique textuelle et analyses psycholinguistiques
    • Outils d'enregistrement en temps réel de l'écriture

    3) Acquisition de la langue écrite

     4) Différences interindividuelles dans les mesures langagières

  • Apprentissages et difficultés d'apprentissage

  • Niveau
  • premier cycle de l'enseignement secondaire
  • enseignement post-secondaire ou premier cycle de l'enseignement supérieur
  • deuxième cycle de l'enseignement secondaire
  • deuxième et troisième cycles de l'enseignement supérieur

  • Mots clés

    Publications majeures
    [2014] Examining the contribution of metasyntactic ability to reading comprehension among native and non-native speakers of French : article de conférence scientifique

    Simard, D., Foucambert, D., & Labelle, M. (2014). Examining the Contribution of Metasyntactic Ability to Reading Comprehension Among Native and Non-Native Speakers of French. International Journal of Bilingualism. doi: 10.1177/1367006912452169




    The particular contribution of metasyntactic ability (i.e., the ability to consciously reflect about the syntactic aspects of language and intentionally to control grammatical rules) to second language reading skills is still not clear. While some studies concluded that metasyntactic ability contributes to reading among non-native speakers (NNS), others did not observe any particular contribution of that specific metalinguistic ability among NNS, despite showing a predictive value for their native speaker control group. Methodological aspects might explain these conflicting results, namely the target population, the measurement of metasyntactic ability, and the reading skill examined. The present study was set out to verify whether the particular contribution of metasyntactic ability to French reading comprehension would be the same among native and non-native upper-elementary children. A cross-sectional study was carried out in which 73 children (37 native and 36 non native speakers of French) were given syntactic, metasyntactic, receptive vocabulary, reading comprehension and phonological memory tasks. As in previous studies, results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) first revealed that the NNSs of French participants obtained lower MSA results than the native speaker children. However, results from the multiple regressions showed that MSA accounted for a significant part of variation in L2 reading among the native as well as among the NNS children and that language group was not a significant factor. This indicates that the weight of each variable, including metasyntactic ability, did not vary according to language status.

    [2014] Gestes d’écriture et caractéristiques linguistiques des textes achevés : chapitre d'ouvrage

    Foucambert, D., & Foucambert, J. (2014). Gestes d’écriture et caractéristiques linguistiques des textes achevés. In C. Leblay & G. Caporossi (Eds.), Temps de l'écriture. Enregistrements et représentations. (pp. 43-70). Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia-L'harmattan.

    [2013] Measuring metasyntactic ability among heritage language children : article de revue

    Simard, D., Fortier, V., & Foucambert, D. (2013). Measuring metasyntactic ability among heritage language children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16(01), 19-31. doi: 10.1017/s1366728911000071


    Metasyntactic Ability (MSA) refers to the conscious reflection about syntactic aspects of language and the deliberate control of these aspects (Gombert, 1992). It appears from previous studies that heritage-language learners tend to demonstrate lower MSA than their monolingual counterparts (Lesaux & Siegel, 2003). In the present study, we verified whether the same results would be obtained among Portuguese heritage children living in a French-speaking environment when their MSA is measured using two different tasks. The participants were 22 Portuguese heritage children and 22 French monolingual elementary school children (mean age = 10.9 years). Five measurement instruments were used: a reading comprehension task; a language proficiency task; two metasyntactic tasks: a replication task in which the children had to identify and reproduce an error, and a repetition task, in which they had to repeat sentences containing syntactic errors; and a sociodemographic questionnaire. The results showed that when reading comprehension and language proficiency were controlled for, no effect of language background could be observed. However, reading comprehension and language proficiency differently influenced performances on MSA tasks.

    [2012] Effects of Grammatical Categories on Letter Detection in Continuous Text. : article de revue

    Foucambert, D., & Zuniga, M. (2012). Effects of Grammatical Categories on Letter Detection in Continuous Text. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 41(1), 33-49.



    The present study focuses on the interplay between the linguistic principles and the psycholinguistic processes involved in reading. Results from 56 participants on a letter detection task reveal that readers do not process all function words in the same manner. Omission rates were highest for function words occupying the head of maximal projections such as complementizers and determiners. Prepositions were shown to occupy an intermediary position between content and function words, with omission rates varying depending on their semantic load. Together these results appear to bolster and offer a finer grained picture of the role of function words within the framework of both the Guidance Organization (Greenberg et al. in Psychon Bull Rev 11(3):428–433, 2004) and Attentional Disengagement (Roy-Charland et al. in Percept Psychophys 69(3):324–337, 2007) reading models. The results of the present study are discussed using an X-bar theory approach with the goal of refining the structural account of letter detection errors.

    [2011] Evolution of the missing-letter effect among Student Readers between Ages 5 and 8. : article de revue

    Foucambert, D., & Baillé, J. (2011). Evolution of the missing-letter effect among Student Readers between Ages 5 and 8. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32(1), 1-17.




    In light of the numerous studies on the detection of target letters among adults, it is generally accepted that the missing-letter effect depends both on a given word's frequency in its language and on its role (function vs. content) in a sentence. Following a presentation of several models explaining these observations we analyze the results of a letter-detection task given to 886 French students from kindergarten to second grade. The purpose of the present study is to determine the moment when the sensitivity to content/function word distinction emerges. The results of this study reveal that even if word frequency plays a role in letter detection, the emergence of an ability to extract sentence structure, along the lines of the structural model of reading, is significantly linked to the initial stages of explicit reading instruction.