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The School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences offers a comprehensive range of doctoral research opportunities in the study of general and applied linguistics, speech sciences, speech and language pathology, clinical linguistics and deaf studies. The School was formed in 2005 from three main constituents: The Centre for Language and Communication Studies; the School of Clinical Speech and Language Studies; and the Centre for Deaf Studies.
The Centre for Language and Communication Studies: The Centre offers opportunities for doctoral research in linguistics, applied linguistics, phonetics and speech science. In linguistics students have conducted research on a diverse range of languages and in fields including language acquisition, computational linguistics (in collaboration with the School of Computer Science and Statistics), morphology, phonology, pragmatics, semantics, syntax, sociolinguistics, language planning, typology and universals. In applied linguistics doctoral supervision is available in areas such as autonomy in second/foreign language learning; language transfer; learner strategies and communicative strategies; media and technologies in language learning; metacognition and metalinguistic awareness; pragmatics and language learning; syllabus, learning materials and pedagogical grammar; the age factor in language learning; and the L2 mental lexicon. Research in applied linguistics informs the activities of two campus companies of Trinity College: Authentik Language Learning Resources Ltd, which publishes language learning materials and books for language teachers and Integrate Ireland Language and Training Ltd, which is funded by the Department of Education and Science to provide English language training for adult refugees and to support teachers of English as a second language to immigrant pupils in primary and post-primary schools.
Research in the Phonetics and Speech lab currently has funded research in a range of projects. Three important current strands are: firstly, the analysis and modelling of voice quality, with particular interest in how the voice source as a basic dimension of prosody is exploited both for linguistic purposes and for the paralinguistic communication of emotion and attitude. A second project is the prosody of Irish dialects and of different varieties of Irish-English. A third is text-to speech development for Irish and for Irish English. In a collaborative project with the University of Bangor, Wales, Dublin City University and University College Dublin, researchers are developing the prerequisites for the development of text-to-speech Synthesis of Irish.
The Department of Clinical Speech and Language: The primary research focus within the department is on communication in typical and atypical contexts, with particular emphasis on the social experience of communication difficulties. At a postgraduate level, the department offers a range of research opportunities leading to the award of higher degrees (M.Sc., M.Litt., Ph.D.). An interdisciplinary approach to research is encouraged. In addition to the links with the Centre for Language and Communication Studies, the department has established research collaborations with colleagues in the areas of Education, Psychology, the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies and in cognate areas within the Faculty of Health Sciences. On application, prospective students are interviewed to assess the student’s suitability and potential as a graduate student and to consider whether the appropriate supervision is available.
Specific research interests of the staff include: acquired communication disorders; augmentative and alternative communication; developmental disorders of speech and language; discourse analysis; fluency; gender issues; identity and disability; language and psychiatry; lifespan development; programme evaluation; voice; and written language development and disorders. The department also offers a range of opportunities for taught postgraduate courses in the area of speech language pathology, with clinical specialisms in dysphagia, acquired communication disorders, augmentative and alternative communication and developmental disorders of speech and language.
The Centre for Deaf Studies: The Centre offers opportunities for doctoral research in Deaf studies over a broad range of topics, ranging from sign linguistics to language planning and language rights. Current research areas include the linguistic description of Irish Sign Language; the Signs of Ireland project, which is building and transcribing a corpus of Irish Sign Language that will be of use to researchers in the fields of linguistics, interpreting, language teaching, anthropology and sociology; curriculum design for the teaching of Irish Sign Language; and interpreting between spoken and signed languages.
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